Subaru Owners Club beats Audi rivals yet again on the skidpan

  • Fourth instalment of annual SOCSA vs ACSA skidpan day produces stellar results
  • All-wheel drive cars pitted head-to-head
  • SOCSA racks up third win out of four events

SubaruNow in its fourth incarnation, the 2012 SOCSA vs ACSA skidpan day held at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria has once again produced great results for the Subaru Owners Club of South Africa (SOCSA). Taking on their German rivals, the Audi Club of South Africa (ACSA) proved to be worthy opponents for the Japanese brand’s official Owners Club, filling the day with powerful action.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive versus quattro

As mighty as the age-old rivalry between the legendary Subaru STI and its spiritual rival, the Mitsubishi Evolution, the merits of Audi’s quattro drivetrain and Subaru’s legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system have produced similar debates and rivalry between the two automotive clubs in South Africa. First introduced in 1972 and celebrating 40 years in operation this year, Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive has become renowned for its legendary ability in all road conditions, all at times.


Thus, four years ago, the annual skidpan day was born, pitting the best the two brands have to offer in head-to-head shootouts on the skidpan. A floating trophy is the take-home prize for the winning club and, in 2012, SOCSA carries it home for the third time in a row, along with all the bragging rights.

Subaru Southern Africa’s Marketing Manager Ashley Lazarus, says “We are extremely proud of the achievement by SOCSA. The club’s enthusiasm and passion for our brand is amplified through this fine result. There couldn’t be a better way for us to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel drive system than through this achievement.”

Forging a greater relationship with Subaru Southern Africa

As with any car club, manufacturer support is one of the most valuable commodities that can be acquired. In 2012, Subaru Southern Africa’s involvement with SOCSA has grown substantially, the club members being privy to an exclusive viewing of the brand-new BRZ earlier this year. With increasing support from the brand itself, the 2012 SOCSA vs ACSA event was a special one for Subaru purveyors – a BRZ and even a special edition of the 2012 STI were showcased in trademark World Rally Blue, the latter even being entered into the event by none other than local racing star Hennie Groenewald.

Game on

The skidpan trials followed a simple format: two courses were designed – one by each club – and each driver had the opportunity to complete four runs of each course, alternating between the skidpan’s two sides in the interest of fairness and equal opportunities for all. As always, penalties were incurred for clipping cones or driving the wrong route, with heavy consequences attached – not even the best drivers would be able to make up time lost in penalties. The winning club was then determined by cumulating the times for each club.

With the stage set, SOCSA members pushed their driving skills to the limit against formidable Audi rivals, including original quattro models and the new RS3, with a MINI Cooper S JCW, BMW Z4M and even a Porsche 911 thrown into the mix. Subaru entrants included a host of STI and WRX models, ranging from mild to wild and driven in every conceivable style.

SOCSA Chairperson Nadia Singh commented that unfortunately for the Audi camp, all the driving styles were quick and aided in SOCSA’s win. “The two different routes proved to be challenging for both clubs, the first of which favoured the hard-launching Subarus with its long straight section. The second route was a drifter’s dream with some long sweeps around the cones, all in the name of the fastest lap. However, the skidpan itself turned out to be the toughest opponent of all, with its different surface sections making the drivers work extra-hard to keep their times as quick as possible,” continued Singh.

Japan beats Germany by more than seven cumulative minutes

In a spectacular win for the Subaru owners, the day’s results showed a remarkable 450-second win over their German friends. Top performers for SOCSA were (in numerical order) Chett “Sleepy” Meyer (Subaru STI), Craig “Can I borrow your car” Watson (Subaru STI) and Mike “Hilux” Switzer (Subaru STI). ACSA’s top finishers were Leon de Beer (Audi RS3), Anton Wannenburg (MINI Cooper S JCW) and Marco van der Schyff (BMW Z4M).

Singh went on to say that the event was a great day out for the whole family, and that all the ‘four-lettered words’ could be heard inside the cars when cones were knocked over. “There was great spirit and healthy rivalry between the two clubs and we would like to thank Didier Miguel and Subaru Southern Africa for their support at this event.”