Last week I packed my bag full of flat-brimmed caps, read up on Bro Culture, and prepared for a weekend with skaters, BMXers, and energy drink-crazed rally car drivers under the Texas sun.
The destination? Austin, where Subaru had invited me to check out the X Games — Rally Team USA was to compete in the second race of this season’s Global Rallycross. The stands were packed with fans, but I was fortunate enough to set up camp in the Subaru factory team’s tent. It was there that I had the chance to meet and mingle with all-star Travis Pastrana and X Games silver-winning Bucky Lasek, and I wandered around the paddocks to meet a few other teams as well.
This type of racing was a foreign thing to me. In rallycross, Subaru WRX STIs are essentially gutted, given 600-horsepower engines and suspensions made for 5+ feet of airtime, and raced around a miniature dirt track.
I loved it.
But I noticed a more than a few times that our celebrity racers were snapping photos for Instagram and pointing at things on their phones, which got me to wondering: What kind of tech does a rally racer use in his daily life?
So I grabbed some seat time with some of the guys who have really shaken up the business in the past few years.
Travis Pastrana currently runs a Subaru WRX STI factory racecar, and like Rhys Millen, wears the Red Bull flag around the track. Pastrana admits that he’s a little too busy – and happily so, with his family and badass career – to spend a ton of time with all of his gadgets (and he has many, since he’s been sponsored by Samsung in the past), and he’s bounced around between Android and iOS devices. He currently rocks an iPhone that he uses to take photos of his family, as well as occasionally play a few racing games.
Rhys Millen races with Hyundai, Red Bull and his own team, RMR this year, and he’s also known for his record-setting climbs of Pike’s Peak. He’s a religious iPhone and iPad user, and he also owns a Mac that his family uses more than he does. However, a quick peek into his trailer also proved that his team uses PC products to keep track of his driving performance data.
Tanner Foust may be recognizable from Top Gear USA, but he’s also a rallycross racer for Volkswagen and Rockstar energy drinks. He’s a full-bore tech whiz, and he wasn’t afraid to drop phrases like “two-stage encryption” for his completely automated (and wirelessly-controlled) home, where he uses Nest appliances and a Lutron lighting system. He’s a MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone user, and he makes heavy use of Instagram to post from his “mobile office” every day. You can follow him @TannerFoust.