Around 10 years ago at our old business (CarAdvice, now Drive) we decided to shoot a video of a Tesla Model S P85 drag racing a Walkinshaw-tuned HSV GTS and a production V8 Supercar at Winton Raceway in Victoria.

    The video went viral and scored over a million views within the first 24 hours (Elon Musk even tweeted it). Back then, this was huge. It was before non-standard drag racing videos were really a thing and before YouTube was as popular as it is today.

    So, fast forward 10 years and we thought, let’s do it again. And this time, let’s keep the same theme – affordable production car up against some crazy exotic unobtainium.

    Easy – we’ll book a track, organise some cars and we’ll be sweet. Our first video is live now, by the way!

    Err…not quite. We came across a number of hurdles – all the way up to literally just before we started shooting. It came very close to not happening, so we thought we’d share with you the journey we went through to get to a point where we could hit record with cars on a runway.

    The venue was one of the hardest things to secure. We looked at a professional drag racing venue, but there were limitations on helmets, filming, timing, track preparation and then additional road blocks for some of the faster cars in terms of roll cages and parachutes.

    We scrapped that idea and then started looking at airports. It sounds like an easy enough task, but for this production to be cost-effective, we’d need to shoot a number of these back-to-back across the period of a week to make it worthwhile. That’d mean finding an airport willing to shut for an entire week.

    That ruled out most airports near any major cities and even some further afield.

    A further complication was that we needed to centre the series around Perth. One of our (very generous) investors, tech billionaire, Laurence Escalante, had offered us his fleet of super and hypercars to use for this series and most of the cars were located in Perth.

    Trucking tens of millions of dollars worth of cars around the country was too expensive and the insurance would have been a nightmare, so we went on the hunt for a regional airport around Perth.

    We finally found one in a town called Wyalkatchem – located around 2.5 hours inland of Perth. With a population of under 1000 people, the once bustling town is now a little quieter, but also features a recently resurfaced runway (primarily used for private aircraft and the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service).

    Preliminary discussions with the council went well. Alborz made numerous trips out there last year to try and convince the council and the get permission. Things were going well abut by the time we got closer to locking in a date, the council’s CEO changed and the committee was a little less enthused about the project.

    We made more trips out to Wyalkatchem (after 4-5 hour flights from Brisbane and Melbourne respectively) to meet with the council in person to re-pitch the idea.

    After the committee’s vote, we were back on with a long list of requirements for the project to proceed.

    Beauty, we thought. Now all we need to do is call our public liability insurer, extend our insurance to cover the event and we will be ready to rumble. Yeah, not quite.

    A number of brokers we approached didn’t want to go anywhere near this. We couldn’t find a single insurer that would offer public liability insurance (not even insurance for the cars, just liability insurance for property damage). After months of to-and-fro with insurers, we were certain it wasn’t going to happen (Alborz was far more enthusiastic).

    But, we finally hit the jackpot when we found an insurer willing to insure the event with a number of strict conditions and a hefty premium. This approval came literally with two weeks to spare. We were on.

    While in the videos it looks like it’s just a couple of people – there were a stack of people in the background that we need to thank.

    City of Wyalkatchem:

    People who live in regional towns are normally laid back and easy to deal with. The people of Wyalkatchem go well and truly above and beyond. The council committee, councillors, and council workers went above and beyond to accommodate every request we had. There was nothing they couldn’t or wouldn’t do for us. Genuinely awesome people – so thank you again for having us in town for the week!

    We had the chance to meet some of the locals on our final day as well when we had some of the drag race cars on display in town for everybody to see. If you’re ever near Wyalkatchem – make sure you swing by and try out the pub or some of the local cafes.

    St John’s Ambulance:

    We had three paramedics on standby each day of the event in two vehicles just in case anything went wrong. Massively appreciate their support – thankfully they didn’t need to do anything and got to enjoy Alborz and I ripping into each other the entire time.

    Department of Fire and Emergency Service:

    We had the Shire of Wyalkatchem’s fire service on standby the entire time, too, in a fire truck, 70 Series and a mean-sounding F truck.

    These guys also had nothing to do the entire time – again, great news!

    Western Australia Police force:

    Regional police are absolute legends as well. We had local police and police from another region down during the event to make sure everything was in order. Thanks again for your time and service and for pretending to arrest Alborz a little too realistically on numerous occasions.


    I’m sure you can imagine the expense of this project. Actually – even if you can imagine the cost, just double it…or triple it. Hyundai did something that most manufacturers don’t do – take a punt on a project this size without having any control on the outcome or the production.

    Hyundai helped cover the bulk of the costs involved in making this happen and without their support, none of this would be possible. So throughout this series you’ll see the new all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.

    Beyond Custom:

    The guys at Beyond Custom helped manage and prep the cars to ensure they were ready to roll as soon as we arrived. One of the cars we raced was a McLaren P1 GTR, which also needed its own fuelling station and to be filled/drained before and after it was used.

    Big shout out as well to Steve who transported his personal 1800hp HQ down for one of the races (this thing was unreal!).

    Diamond Towing Service:

    As you can imagine – driving some of these cars on 2.5 hours of country roads wasn’t going to work, so we had to truck all of the vehicles down to Wyalkatchem for the event. Huge logistics and long days. The guys at Diamon Towing made that process a breeze.

    LEE Collection:

    Of course, none of this would be possible without access to Laurence’s cars. These cars were just a small selection of what he has in his many sheds around Australian and the world, so make sure you subscribe to the channel to get notified when our next batch of videos goes live, because we are only getting staerted!

    Paul Maric

    Paul Maric is an Australian car expert based in Melbourne, Australia. Paul is a founder of & formerly part of the CarAdvice founding team.

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