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- Q: Can anyone try rally?
A: Absolutely! While we often coach professional drivers of every conceivable background, we love working with drivers with limited experience just as much. Our professional instructors adapt their teaching to the needs of each student, so each person receives just the right amount of encouragement and support to help get the most from our cars in their program.
- Q: How fast will I get to drive at DirtFish?
A: In short, as fast as possible… But honestly, the biggest factor that determines speed is the amount of traction that’s available (you can only go as fast as physics will allow…). It’s our goal to teach the tools that will allow you to get the most out of a rally car; the rest is usually up to the weather.
- Q: What if I’m not comfortable driving as fast as others in the class?
A: Our instructors are well-trained to help you stay at a level that is comfortable (without being too comfortable!), and you will never be pushed beyond what’s safe for you and the others in the class. In fact, we like to say that you’ll get “comfortable being just slightly uncomfortable.” If you’re ever too uncomfortable doing something the instructors are asking you to do, just say so. Besides, they’re riding with you- that’s motivation enough not to push beyond your limits!
- Q: Will I have my own instructor riding with me?
A: You will always have an instructor in the car with you. Depending on the program you may have more than one instructor work with you, allowing you to learn from multiple teachers. Having an instructor ride with you is critical because they can see and feel what you’re doing, and give instant guidance and feedback in real-time.
- Q: What kinds of things will I do during my program?
A: First of all, lots of driving! Our courses are designed to familiarize students of every driving background with the awesome experience of driving a proper rally car on gravel. We’ll start with basic exercises in the beginning and progress from there depending on how long you’re with us. The more time we have with you, the more we can do. Each class will have a final course where all of the driving tools learned during the program can be put to the test. Our Two Hour and Half Day programs even include a Hot Lap at the end with your instructor driving to show what’s possible with the car on a more challenging course.
- Q: What about classroom instruction?
A: We’re firm believers in learning by doing, so our primary classroom is behind the wheel. However, there is a lot to learn in this environment, so an understanding of what the car is going to do before trying it is very helpful. Expect to attend a brief classroom session before each driving session which will explain the techniques and schedule for the driving portion to follow. And don’t worry; while we pride ourselves on our technical knowledge, it won’t be a dry speech about friction coefficients and dirt molecules. It is practical information with the goal of creating a better understanding of what is happening when you’re behind the wheel.
- Q: What if the weather is poor – raining or even snowing?
A: Perfect! Rallying is all about adapting to varying conditions, and our facility is set up to handle them all, from hot and sunny to cold and raining, and even snow. In fact, because the conditions will change how you drive, some drivers will want to experience a course in the summer, and then again in the winter.
- Q: How many other students will be with me, and how many instructors?
A: The maximum number of students for each of our standard programs is 10 students, with one instructor in every car and one instructor outside of the cars at all times. We can adjust this number depending on corporate and special program needs.
- Q: Will I have my own school car, or do I share it with someone else?
A: Your car will be shared with another student, allowing for time outside the car to take a breath, talk about what you just did, plan your next session, and most importantly, watch rally cars slide around. Nothing cooler than that! You will also be able to compare notes and learn from the other students. All standard programs have a 2 to 1 ratio – two students share one vehicle.
- Q: What happens if I damage the car I’m driving?
A: Damage to our vehicles does occasionally happen, however our instructors work hard to keep that to a minimum. All of our standard programs now come with crash damage insurance included, so you will not be liable for any crash damage, unless we deem your actions to be outside the realm of normal training.
- Q: Can I use my own car?
A: Yes, but only if it is a competition-prepared car. Our cars are specially prepared for what you’ll be doing. Exceptions can be made however, and we do offer private coaching. Please call with any additional questions.
- Q: What about meals – do I need to bring my own?
A: We provide lunch as part of our private lessons, 1-Day, 2-Day and 3-Day Programs, and snacks and refreshments are available during all of our Experiences. However, feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks if you’d like. If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us well in advance of your scheduled class. We can also provide lunch for family members staying with you during your multi-day course at $10.00 each. Just let the representative at the front desk know in the morning.
- Q: Is there an age requirement to take a class?
A: We generally require that the student be at least 16 years old with a permit but exceptions can be made, so please call with inquiries. For any students under the age of 18, we require a minor waiver be signed by the parent or guardian of the student before being allowed to take part in the program.
- Q: Are there any basic requirements or prerequisites I need?
A: You must be in good physical health and at least 16 years old. Other than that, there are no other prerequisites. You will be required to sign our Waiver/Release, so a minor (under 18 years old) will require a parent or guardian to sign on their behalf.
- Q: What days of the week are DirtFish programs available?
A: We are typically open 7 days a week with a variety of classes being offered during the week. Please take a look at our Driving Programs page for class dates and availability.
- Q: Can I purchase a gift certificate?
A: Absolutely. Just give us a call or purchase here. Gift certificates can be purchased for the value of a class or any monetary value.
- Q: What should I wear?
A: We always suggest wearing clothes that you’re okay with getting dirty. Other than that, wear clothes that are comfortable for both driving and standing in all sorts of weather– layers, sunglasses, warm jacket, boots… we never know what the weather will do! We also recommend wearing a shoe that is good for driving, such as a tennis shoe or better yet, driving shoes (something sturdy for wet weather but not too clunky to fit on the pedals). We provide a helmet for you to wear, and there won’t be a need for any additional racing safety equipment. We also have changing rooms with lockers and showers should you need to refresh before your next destination.
- Q: How much time will I spend driving?
A: Our Two Hour Taste of Rally begins with approximately 30 minutes in our classroom and around 1.5 hours on course. Up to 10 students are split into in 5 vehicles. Our Half Day Intro to Rally begins with approximately 30 minutes in the classroom and around 3.5 hours down on the course. Up to 10 students are split into 5 vehicles. Our One Day Rally Fundamentals and Three Day Programs are formatted similarly. We schedule less than an hour for classroom time per day (split into a morning and afternoon session) and one hour for lunch (provided) per day. The rest of the time is behind the wheel or debriefing with the instructors.
- Q: Are all of your cars manual transmission?
A: We have automatic BRZ’s available, but all of our STi’s are manual. Please call ahead to request an automatic rear wheel drive BRZ.
- Q: Can I bring a friend or family to watch?
A: You bet! They will be required to sign a Waiver/Release, and are able to watch from our designated spectator areas. Please have them arrive with the student taking a class or within 30 minutes of the start of class. The spectator will then ride down with the student OR can follow the shuttle down on course with their own personal vehicle. Once you are at the viewing area near the course, we kindly request that you stay there until the end of class as to not distract the other attendees and our curriculum.
- Q: Do you offer corporate or team-building programs?
A: Yes we do! New product launches, employee incentive events and more! Give our Sales Director, Adam a call at 1-866-285-1332 to create the perfect experience for your crew. We offer five-star catering, co-branded retail, a fully prepared PlaySeat Simulator Lounge- even a landing pad for helicopters that we can include in your package!
- Q: I’m coming from out of town – where do I stay while attending my course?
A: While we do not offer accomodations, we can recommend hotels that offer a discount to you as a participant in our program. Upon registration, we will send a confirmation package to you that include a list of recommended hotels, our cancellation and reschedule policy, restaurants and even a rental car discount! Click here to view our recommended accommodations.
- Q: What else can I do when I’m not at DirtFish?
A: Lots! We’re fortunate to be only 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, with the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and everything else our amazing city has to offer. We’re about 20 minutes from Bellevue Square’s world-class shopping; 35 minutes from Pacific Raceways, where you can make your trip here the ultimate driving experience by driving a car on a road racing circuit; 20 minutes from Snoqualmie Pass ski resorts; 10 minutes from all sorts of hiking trails; 5 minutes from the Snoqualmie Casino; minutes from numerous PGA golf courses; and just 2 minutes from being pampered at the Salish Lodge Resort. If none of those activities suit your style, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help find what you’re looking for.
- Q: What is the female to male ratio?
A: In an average mixed-gender class, one student in ten is female in our programs. DirtFish also runs All-Women’s classes periodically throughout the year, which you can learn more about here. We strongly encourage women to give DirtFish a shot – please read our testimonials on our website from just a few of the female students.
- Q: What are some of the differences between All-Wheel Drive and Rear-Wheel Drive?
A: All-Wheel Drive cars have more traction (naturally) and can therefore attain higher speeds in a shorter space, but require very precise driving to extract the most from them. Rear-Wheel Drive is quite challenging, requiring a lot of throttle control and very smooth inputs. It’s incredibly fun and sideways, and the ability to successfully handle a Rear-Wheel Drive car through slippery rally conditions is quite rewarding. Both are incredibly fun, and will increase your driving ability and car control beyond what’s possible on a track.