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A Dirtfish Rally School Subaru

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.

Photo by: Dirtfish Rally School/Subaru/B.F. Goodrich

Racing tires await their turn

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.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

Rally racing eats up tires

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.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

A Subaru STI

David Higgins set a hill climbing record on Mount Washington in New Hampshire in his customized Subaru STI two months ago.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

Subaru STI interior

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.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

A Subaru Impreza

This Subaru Impreza is used by Jimmy and Melissa Keeney, a husband and wife racing team.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

A Ford Fiesta

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.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

An Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta

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.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

An Octane Academy Ford Fiesta

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.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

2011 Ford Mustang RTR drift racer

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.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET

Radio-controlled rally cars

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.
Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET


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