Driving enthusiasts looking for a suitably petrol-headed holiday could do worse than a trip to the freezing north of Finland, where Rally world champion Juha Kankkunen has his own driving academy.
The Juha Kankkunen Driving Academy allows visitors to learn how to control a rally car at high speeds on the ice and snow tracks of arctic Finland. Guests at the facility get time with Kankkunen and his team of expert drivers, giving a unique insight into the art of winter rally driving. Finns are renowned for their driving skills, and even the standard Finnish driving test is notoriously challenging, reflecting the need for drivers to be able to cope with the country’s harsh, and dark, winters.
The driving academy offers two levels of courses for visitors – the Fast Driving course for those new to rally driving, and the Rally School for more experienced motorsport fans. The latter gives students the chance to drive a winter-equipped Subaru WRX STi Group N specification rally car, for the real motorsport experience, while less experienced drivers get to choose from 15 different cars, all set up for rallying with hand-made studded winter tyres. The academy has two different tracks to get to grips with, and even offers a ‘Worldwide Driving Academy’ option, where instructors come to wherever you are for a lesson in advanced and rally driving techniques.
Packages at the school start around £600 for a day’s place within a group of visitors, and this includes transport to the facility, lunch, insurance, and all tuition costs for the day. The price for an individual day for more intensive sessions starts around £1,050. Flights to Helsinki and Tampere depart the UK on a daily basis, and transfers to the north of the country can be made via Kuusamo.