ARA Rally Car Call Out: Sno*Drift
A First Time Forester Finds Success in Michigan
Speedway, Ind. ~ At every rally, crowds surge upon the high-end machines that litter the front of the field. It’s easy to understand why, as those cars are marvels in technology and performance.
Also, at every rally there is at least one car that turns heads from the back of the pack. A car designed through passion, desire or even obsession. Results are important, but these cars are already stars from rally heads to the most casual of spectators. It may come from its rarity, history or its outside of the box design. No matter the muse behind the creation, it’s a head turner from the moment it checks into Parc Expose. If it performs well on stage, even better.
Tayler Hoevenaar brought forth his vision of what a rally car should be at last weekend’s Sno*Drift Rally, the opening round of the American Rally Association’s Green APU National Rally Championship. Competing in the National NA4WD class, Hoevenaar debuted his 1999 Subaru Forester, which is really just a front for something much more meaningful.
Hoevenaar’s Fervor Motorsports has spent the past two-and-a-half years building the Forester, which looks in line with the essential, pre-turn of the century nod to suburbia. But underneath the flashy graphics lies more than the reliable station-wagon had to offer in 1999. Instead, he made a rally beast ready to find instant success in ARA action. He replaced the engine with a six-cylinder Outback and just about every other part comes from a STi.
“It's a hodgepodge of everything,” said Hoevenaar. “I kind of wanted to build something that would be very competitive in the NA4-wheel-drive class. You know, once you've got a good car and a good base established, then you can really work on the driver mode.”
The wagon-life seems to fit Hoevenaar, who competed at Sno*Drift in 2020 behind the wheel of a 1997 Subaru Outback Sport Wagon. The Grand Rapids, Mich. native was unphased by debuting the Forester at Sno*Drift. As a true Michigander, he has a deep love for the event, as well as the state’s less-than-ideal road conditions in mid-February.
“I just absolutely love the snow, so driving in it is just natural to me,” Hoevenaar, “and I've always loved this event. I’ve always come up here and spectated and I drove it once a couple years back with a friend's car and now I'm going to try it in my own car.”
There are a thousand reasons people are drawn to rally, and Hoevenaar was lured to the sport based upon similar interests that placated his need for adrenaline and competition.
“I've always kind of been a little crazy,” said Hoevenaar. “Skateboarding, mountain biking, snowboarding, and you know, all of the above. So, sliding your car around just comes a little natural to me.”
By the end of Sno*Drift, Hoevenaar proved that he and his creation were built to be competitive. Alongside co-driver Steven Stewart, he drove to the class win in NA4WD and finished third overall on the ARA’s combined LN4 podium. With a new car, and the challenging conditions in the season opener, it was a good test to see where the performance of the car was at after being a project for two-plus years. But like any rally addict, the next event is already in the works.
“This was a really good shakedown for the car,” said Hoevenaar. “I don't have a full season planned, but I would like to do a couple events. I'm shooting for Southern Ohio and LSPR.”
The 2023 Green APU National Rally Championship will feature eight national rounds, starting in February and finishing in October at the Lake Superior Performance Rally. The ARA also offers up three regional championships across 21 events. To learn more about the ARA; go to https://www.americanrallyassociation.org.