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Racing with the pros at the Ford Octane Academy: Video

Thu, 20 Oct 2011

We've all wanted to play with the pros at one time or another. Whether it's Madison Square Garden, Joe Louis Arena or the newly named Mercedes-Benz Superdome, at one point or another we've all thought, “I can do that.”

But we're auto enthusiasts here. Our pros have names such as Block, Foust, Gittin and Deegan. Our venues are closed-down airstrips, forest roads and dirt tracks. Our fantasy camp? The Octane Academy.

Founded by Ford, the Octane Academy gives ordinary folks the chance to compete in challenges laid out by the aforementioned motorsports superstars. Wannabe racers submit a video application in hopes of getting picked for one of the academy events.

Ford invited Autoweek to check out the academy at the automaker's proving grounds in Romeo, Mich. We got to do some hot laps with off-road racer Brian Deegan, hit a rally stage with Ken Block, enjoyed some stunt-driving lessons from Tanner Foust and drifted Ford Mustangs on the tarmac with Formula D champion Vaughn Gittin Jr.

We only got a taste of the academy, but for those who want the full meal, you still have a chance. Pick one racing discipline, submit a video at and make it look good. But remember, save the driving for the academy--Ford doesn't want anyone to get hurt while producing these videos.

Chosen entrants will get four days at one of the driver's home bases for challenge after challenge until one winner is crowned and given a new Ford from the respective school.

The challenges aren't all driving tests, either. Some of the other scored events included oversized soccer-ball kicks with a Focus, remote-controlled car drifting around a Segway and a few virtual laps in Dirt 3. All of it gets added up to determine the participant's final score.

For the record, Autoweek didn't win, but we did place a respectable second out of 17 competitors.

If you think you have what it takes, submit a video, take on the challenges and let us know how you did. Until then, enjoy the video of our time with the pros at the Octane Academy.

By Jake Lingeman