AEM's Dillon Van Way Starts 2013 Rally America National Championship with a 2nd at Sno*Drift Rally

Van Way's 2nd in the 2wd Class and 9th overall gives him a good deal of momentum heading into the 2013 Rally America National Championship season.
Van Way's 2nd in the 2wd Class and 9th overall gives him a good deal of momentum heading into the 2013 Rally America National Championship season.
The first running of the legendary Sno*Drift Rally was back in 1966, to celebrate its 47th anniversary the 2013 installment included 130 miles of twisting, tree-lined, ice and snow covered roads in Northern Michigan's Montmorency County, near the towns of Atlanta and Lewiston. The annual Sno*Drift Rally kicks off the 2013 Rally America National Championship battle, and for AEM's Dillon Van Way, his second place finish in the two-wheel division and ninth overall, marks a extremely promising start to the season.

Logic would dictate that studded or spiked competition ice tires would be the way to roll here, but they are not allowed in this event. Of course if logic came to play this wouldn't be the one rally of the championship series that takes place in the most brutal part of winter and on glassy, frozen roads. However, ignoring common sense is the very reason by this rally has been so compelling for racers and fans for nearly half a century. The fleeting traction exposes holes in driving skill and confronts patience.
Dillon Van Way says his atypical approach to racing on the snow is why he's never finished out of the top-three at Sno*Drift since starting there in 2009.
Dillon Van Way says his atypical approach to racing on the snow is why he's never finished out of the top-three at Sno*Drift since starting there in 2009.


"I haven't DNF'ed or finished out of the top three at Sno*Drift since I started rallying there in 2009 and I'm not really sure why," discloses Van Way. "It doesn't make much sense that a kid from Louisiana has had any success at all racing on snow, but my theory is that it's my lack of snow driving experience that has played the largest role in my success there."

As counterintuitive as that may appear, it makes perfect sense the way Van Way explains it. He says he approaches driving on snow differently than his competitors who get to drive on it more often. "They tend to use the lack of traction and cushiony snow banks as an excuse to drive a bit more sideways, and just more aggressive in general, which sometimes can work great and other times your luck runs out. I approach snow driving much in the opposite way, where I am more cautious and more reserved, trying to avoid snow banks and drive clean racing lines. This approach isn't always good enough to win, but it capitalizes on the risks that the other guys are taking."
When he's not racing Van Way studies Architecture at LSU.
When he's not racing Van Way studies Architecture at LSU.


Van Way learned his healthy respect for clean racing lines and risk management from racing motorcycles. The 20-year-old Baton Rouge native learned how to ride dirt bikes from his dad when he was six. Wasn't long after that initial taste of speed that he was racing motocross with his family regularly, "The speed and thrill of winning races was so exhilarating that I constantly searched for sports and hobbies that would give me that same feeling," he says. This brings us back to how he ended up racing on ice and snow. When he's not competing Van Way attends LSU majoring in Architecture.

"Contrary to the name, Sno*Drift isn't a drift event at all. It is a performance stage rally where cars race against the clock on closed sections of public roads, called stages. Drivers are scored on their cumulative time through the stages and there are typically 12 to15 stages in an event, which add up to roughly 150 competitive miles," continues Van Way.

"My rally car is a 2011 Ford Fiesta that is capable of making upwards of 300 horsepower. It still has the same engine block that the Fiestas on the street have (1.6L) but it is turbocharged. The transmission is a sequential shift 6-speed. Like most race cars the interior is completely gutted and only the essential safety gear is inside."

Van Way says his priority for the 2013 season is definitely stage rally racing, "but I don't think I will ever be able to stop racing motorcycles," he adds. "I don't pursue it as much as I used to, but I still enjoy going racing whenever I can."

"Next up for me is the Rally in the 100 Acre Woods in Salem, Missouri on February 22nd and 23rd. This events is one of my favorites of the season because we are back to gravel and the roads are super smooth and fast."

For AEM performance products for your vehicle, use the AEM Product Search. To find an AEM dealer use the Search for AEM Dealer or simply visit AEMintakes.com.

Related AEM Articles
2011 Ford Fiesta 1.6L Gets Estimated Gain of Almost 11 Horsepower with AEM Air Intake
AEM Cold Air Intake for 2011 Ford Fiesta 1.6L L4