Video: Travis Pastrana Storms To The Top Of Mt. Washington

Take Travis Pastrana, a lively Subaru, and a few cliff edges, and you have a recipe for universally-appealing automotive entertainment. Seriously, if the above footage doesn’t stir you, you must either hate cars or lack a pulse; everything about this clip is pure theater.

Mount Washington’s hillclimb covers both gravel and tarmac, and reaches a summit of 6,288 feet. Photo credit: vtcar.com

The onboard below makes the footage even more compelling. Between flicking the tuned Subaru into blind corners, jumping, and rowing the Sadev sequential gearbox’s gear lever, the wildman in the cockpit is getting a legitimate workout and tempting fate. Keep in mind that Pastrana’s teammate, David Higgins, left the road at high speed after clipping a rock. Fortunately, the Englishman could walk away unscathed, but it only proved that there’s no margin for error there, and the conditions can get the better of the best rally drivers on the planet.

 

It also proved Pastrana’s undoubtable talent; he not only bested Higgins’ record set in 2014, but also completed the 7.6-mile course 42 seconds faster than any other entrant! With a level of commitment bordering on insane, it’s not hard to see why. However, the capable car in his hands made all of that sheer display of ability possible, if you want my honest opinion.

Built by Vermont SportsCar, this Impreza has all the bases covered. Thanks to a diet of carbon door panels, a widebody made from carbon and kevlar, polycarbonate side and rear windows, a carbon dash, and the obvious weight-saving measures made to any racing car, the car weighs in at just 2,600 pounds. Seam welds to the chassis and a rollcage made from T45 steel strengthen, stiffen, and protect Pastrana in the event of a tumble down the hillside.

Nudging the edge takes a great car, a confident driver, and a screw loose. Photo credit: vtcar.com

By no means is that an attack on Pastrana. In fact, it’s only illustrating how a usable racing car allows a great driver to shine. Though the Subaru is obviously agile, nervous, and pointy, it seems to respond in a way that never surprises Pastrana. Every slide and direction change seems anticipated it’s handled so well. Even with 600 horsepower from a heavily tuned 2.0-liter engine, the Impreza still remains predictable and almost friendly. Almost is the operative word here.

The torque, the 8-inch wide tires, and the bias makes the machine handle like it’s rear-wheel drive at times; giving Pastrana the ability to get lots of rotation out of the car on throttle. When it does slide, which it does frequently, it’s stabilized by a custom wing that generates downforce even when the car is sideways—the vertical slots are responsible for that. Though he seems to be certifiably crazy at times, the real reason Pastrana can flirt with the cliff edges is thanks to the balance that is as reassuring as it is agile. As evidenced by the casual peace sign Pastrana throws after such a fearsome drive, he’s hardly sweating the challenge.

Seconds after countersteering around a boulder, he shows why he’s the epitome of cool.

 

 

 

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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