There is no doubt in my mind that a kid who learned to operate a car using rally techniques would be the fastest driver in existence.

Watch this video of Tim O’Neil at his own Team O’Neil Rally School up in New Hampshire, blasting one of their many forest stage roads in a front-drive Ford Fiesta ST rally car.

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It’s not just how fast he’s going, which is impressive. The speed is secondary. What’s incredible is the way he is in absolute and complete control of the vehicle. Going up and down through the gears without touching the clutch, modulating the brakes through the entire duration of a corner, shifting and maintaining momentum and traction at all times.

O’Neil talks about all of this in terms of techniques, like they are solutions to problems. That situations arise (a corner approaches, a jump approaches, a wheel falls off, whatever) that need only be met with the right kind of operation from the driver for everything to come out ok. It’s an input/output kind of thinking that seems almost alien to the almost mystical way car people normally talk about driving fast.

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And then it dawns on you that O’Neil is doing all of this inches from trees, and he’s talking through the whole thing, and he feels rusty, and he’s in heavy boots.

Again, there is no doubt in my mind that somebody who started only thinking of driving in this manner, never learning any bad habits, would be the fastest driver on Earth.


Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.