After more than a decade of professional driving south of the border, a Canadian rallycross driver is thrilled to be back on home soil for a two-day race event here in Ottawa this weekend.
Steve Arpin, originally from Fort Frances, Ont., is racing in the Red Bull Global Rallycross at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum Saturday and Sunday. It's the first time the sport has revved into Ottawa.
"This is just pure excitement, high adrenaline. It's just insane racing," Arpin told host Hallie Cotnman on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.
"We line up five wide from a standing start. We have dirt sections, asphalt sections, we have an 80-foot jump that we launch these cars over every lap. It's a series of short little races which is just super high intensity."
Unlike major motorsports like NASCAR — which Arpin has also raced — rallycross races are shorter and the tracks don't follow a traditional loop. It's a fairly new sport to North America, and it's gaining in popularity.
Although the cars are smaller, they have about 1000 horsepower, and race at about 650 horsepower on all-well drive.
"They're absolutely incredible pieces of technology. It's the most fun of anything I've ever driven in my life," said Arpin.
Arpin has been racing since he was a boy in Fort Frances, winning go-kart races at age 10, and then capturing titles as a teen on the snowmobile.
"I've raced a little bit of everything growing up. Growing up in northwestern Ontario, dirt cars in the summer time, snowmobiles in the winter time," he said.
"And yes, we did end up racing bathtub boats for a little while. Believe it or not, there's one summer where I made almost $10,000 racing a bathtub."
Arpin made his NASCAR debut in 2010, and made the move to rallycross in 2013, where he's the only Canadian on the circuit. He's excited to race the course here in Ottawa, and to show off his new passion to fellow Canadians.
"Just looking at the preview of it, looking at the layout of it, it's going to be wild. We're going to have really high-speed sections. We're going to have slow, kind of technical sections where we're having to whip the cars around and everything," he said.
"Wait until you guys get out there. The acceleration that these cars have is absolutely mind-boggling."