Patrik Sandell and the Subaru Winter Experience

(November 16) – The inaugural Americas Rallycross (ARX) season may be done and dusted as the teams and drivers set their sights on preparing for 2019 but for Subaru Rally Team USA driver Patrik Sandell, there is a lot to do this winter.

Swedish star Sandell is putting on his snow boots as he prepares to run the Subaru Winter Experience on the frozen Dollar Lake on Eagle River, Wisconsin, where he will swap his rallycross Subaru WRX STI Supercar to join his FlatOut Sweden team in giving tuition driving stock-based cars for anyone who wants to increase their driving skills.

“We created FlatOut Sweden a couple of years ago. The idea came up 10 years ago – it started off that I created different kinds of events for my sponsors to create good value back for them. I did a lot of events for a truck company in Europe, and when I went from one car brand to another, they wanted me to keep doing events for them even though they couldn’t sponsor me anymore,” said Sandell. “The name ‘Flat Out Sweden’ kind of says everything. We create driving experiences all over the world, the idea is all about having fun and taking your driving to the next level. Now we’ve expanded to do things in Europe and the States.”

The Subaru Winter Experience will run from February into March in early 2019, where those taking part in the program will get to drive a Subaru BRZ, Subaru WRX and Subaru WRX STI, fitted with tires that have 400 studs each. “When I signed with Subaru I had the team from Launch Control over to Sweden and I showed them what we do. The idea came up that we should bring this ice driving experience that is so unique over to the States. I did my research and I couldn’t really find anything similar,” said Sandell, who finished third overall in ARX 2018. “There were some things with very exclusive brands, but not like the schools we want to be. We want people just be able to come to for a day or two with no time on the school bench, it’s all about being in the cars and driving as much as you can. The beauty about the winter experience you can really push your limits to the next level as the worse than can happen is that you get stuck in a snow bank – it’s a very forgiving way to learn how to drive.” 

The tracks are designed by former World Rally and now rallycross star Sandell himself. “We create tracks that we feel suits the different cars, so we can gradually help the drivers get better and better and feel more confident behind the wheel. At the end of the day they get the chance to drive on what we call a rally stage, with pace notes and everything.”

With all of his winter driving experience, Sandell is keen to have an ARX round held in winter conditions in the future. “I would love to see an ARX race held in snow and ice, it would a great challenge for everyone. I know everybody would love it because it’s such a unique experience – all the cars would be sideways at all times so it would be really cool for the audience as well. Hopefully we can have an ARX event held on ice or snow in the future – that would be amazing.”

If you’re interested in booking your trip this February to the Subaru Winter Experience, visit:

Tiernay Oliver