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A Dirtfish Rally School Subaru

Racing tires await their turn

Rally racing eats up tires

A Subaru STI

Subaru STI interior

A Subaru Impreza

A Ford Fiesta

An Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta

An Octane Academy Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Mustang RTR drift racer

Radio-controlled rally cars

When the 2011 Summer X-Games got under way in Los Angeles last month, the media had a chance to explore the technology behind rally car racing. The sport uses public and private courses with road-legal cars.

The stripped-down Subarus used by the Dirtfish Rally School are former rally racing cars used by instructors to teach novices the basics of rally driving.

Caption by / Photo by Dirtfish Rally School/Subaru/B.F. Goodrich
These specially designed B.F. Goodrich rally racing tires are made of rubber compounds that are especially sticky to the touch. They can be custom grooved by the racing teams for preferred traction.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
Even specially designed racing tires wear down during a day spent power sliding and hard braking on a rally course. These tires needed swapping out after morning practice runs.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
David Higgins set a hill climbing record on Mount Washington in New Hampshire in his customized Subaru STI two months ago.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
The interior of a rally car is contained in a reinforced roll cage and dominated by specialized racing controls like a sequential sports shifter and a reinforced hand brake for power slide turns. The seats and steering wheel of David Higgins' Subaru STI are fitted specifically to his body.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
This Subaru Impreza is used by Jimmy and Melissa Keeney, a husband and wife racing team.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
Although it has the same body shape as any other entry-level Ford Fiesta, Tanner Foust's rally car is worth more than $500,000 and can apparently do 0-60 mph in 1.8 seconds.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
Tanner Foust isn't the only racer driving a half-million dollar Ford Fiesta. This Olsbergs MSE Fiesta driven by Marcus Gronholm is capable of more than 800 horsepower.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
Aspiring rally car drivers can audition for Ford's Octane Academy, a race training program and reality show that will pit teams of would-be competitors against one other.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
For about $7,900, you can purchase the RTR tuning kit for the 2011 Ford Mustang. Inspired by drift racing champion and Mustang enthusiast Vaughn Gittin Jr., the package includes racing-tuned suspension and Ford racing mufflers.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
While the adults raced the real deal, kids could run these radio-controlled rally cars from HPI Blitz RC. The models cost $150 to $200.
Caption by / Photo by John Scott Lewinski/CNET
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