The Harewood Hillclimb in a Subaru BRZTue, 25 Sep 2012 00:00:00 -0700
The past weekend, the Harewood Speed Hillclimb in Yorkshire, England, celebrated its Golden Jubilee. For 50 years, vehicles have been making the run up a narrow, twisting paved lane on a stretch of rolling farmland near Leeds, trying to beat the clock. The route, of about 1,600 yards, at one stretch passes between two barns on the property. The barns serve as headquarters for the hillclimb events.
A week before the Golden Jubilee, we had the opportunity to attack the hillclimb in a Subaru BRZ. Ours was a left-hand drive U.S.-spec Limited model equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The 2.0-liter boxer engine makes 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. The low curb weight of the BRZ—2,822 pounds—coupled with the low center of gravity of the car, made the BRZ a lot of fun on the hillclimb course. A light drizzle made the driving all that more fun when we switched off the traction control, allowing the rear end of the BRZ to step out a bit around the corners.
Organizers kept all the timing equipment locked up in the barn, as per local ordinance they only get a dozen or so events per year, and they didn't want to waste one on some American journalists. But that didn't stop a passenger timing our run with an iPhone stopwatch, and we were told our best time of 69 seconds was about 20 seconds slower than the course record. (The video here is not our best run.)
For the record, the Harewood king is an F2 car fitted with a refurbished F1 engine running "really sticky" tires. Check out the video below to see how it's really done.
By Roger Hart