Kiwi racing champion Rod Millen does everything better than you. Your old Toyota has 130 horsepower. His old Toyota has 800. Your driveway's a cracked asphalt mess. His driveway's a mile-long, race-paved dream that mimics the best race tracks in the world.
When Millen visited the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2002 he saw the event's famous hill-climb track and decided he'd do the same thing… in his front yard. It's the kind of thing that seems logical when your job involves sending insane vehicles up the sides of guard-less cliffs.
Conveniently, Millen owns a large ranch in Hahei, New Zealand with enough room to fit a mile-long racing stage, albeit one not much wider than your average driveway. After years of planning, brush-clearing, and paving the track was finally finished earlier this year.
The track borrows here-and-there from places where Millen's raced, including the infamous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb circuit, where he set a time 40 seconds faster than anyone else who'd tackled it before in his AWD Celica. His record held for for 13 years.
The Peak's famous swtichbacks — the Ws— are recreated on the driveway for Millen to enjoy has he drives up to his house. The track also includes a bridge, hairpins, straights, and a complete mix of the kinds of challenging corners that made Millen a racing star. In typical style, he named it the "Leadfoot Ranch."
But what's the point of having a race track in your front yard if you can't enjoy it? Rather than keep the private track to himself, the famous racer opened it up this weekend in celebration of his 60th birthday to a few invited guests like motorsports icons Jeff Zwart, Rhys Millen, and others. He called it the "Leadfoot Festival" and welcomed cars like Millen's 800-hp Toyota Celica racer, an Audi Quattro B Rally replica, a V8-powered Escort, and the family's Toyota Tundra race truck.
Millen called his birthday the "best ever."
First-hand video shot from the Celica shows just how ridiculous a way this is to get your car home every day. If I had this in front of my house I'd only leave home to come right back. I'd also have some seriously annoyed neighbors.
Photo: Alastair Ritchie, Leadfoot festival