Welcome to Ford's Octane Academy. You can become a student by submitting a video to the academy website. If you're lucky, you'll be one of 30 chosen to attend. You will get the chance to go to four camps, where you'll get instruction from Ken Block, Vaughn Gittin Jr., Tanner Foust, and Brian Deegan in various disciplines of action motorsports. At the end of the experience, all of the drivers will meet up to determine which champion gets to take home a customized Ford performance vehicle.
Complex recently visited the Ford proving grounds in Dearborn, Mich., to have a peek at the Octane Academy:
Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s Camp
Not surprisingly, 2010 Formula D champion Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s camp was all about drifting. First, he showed us what he can do in a stock V6 Mustang, which was a lot. Then he gave us a crash course in drifting. Despite Vaughn's clear descriptions, laid-back attitude, and general awesomeness, we were a bit too lead-footed. We did more doughnuts than drifting.
Brian Deegan's Camp
Brian Deegan has 12 X-Games medals. He is also a maniac. (That was redundant, wasn't it?) He thrashed a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor for us, bottoming out the ample suspension a few times and laughing the whole time like the slightly unhinged person he is. To top it all off, he had a black eye from a boxing match the previous day. Whatever this madman is going to do to the 30 lucky Octane Academy attendees will be awesome and terrifying in equal measure.
Tanner Foust's Camp
Tanner is the sort of guy who can do just about anything with a car. He is Hollywood stunt man, a Formula D champion, a Rally America champion, and has multiple X Games medals. What he chose to teach us was a reverse J-turn and a 360 turn on a surface that simulated ice. It should be said that we performed a near-perfect 360 on our first try. This was a basic exercise. With those pesky Ford safety people out of the way, who knows what Tanner will put people through.
Ken Block's Camp
Ken Block didn't teach this one. He's man enough to just come out and say that he doesn't think he's a good teacher, which is why Tim O'Niel, of Team O'Niel, stepped in and gave us some coaching. We promptly crashed a Ford Fiesta into a ditch. Our second run was better, but still more sideways than it should have been. The Fiesta, despite being crashed into a ditch, was in shockingly good condition and perfect running order, if a bit muddy. That is one tough little car. If you happen to be going to the Octane Academy, be warned that Ken said something about driving around with him in the car and being told where to turn at the last possible moment. Have fun crashing into ditches.
The Octane Academy looks like it's going to be a straight-up badass crash course in performance driving with some talented, personable, and laid-back professionals at the helm. We look forward to seeing it on Fuel TV.