Thanks to a variety of high-profile, high-quality driving events held over the course of 2009, Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC) has become the “Sepang” of Singapore. One of the major events was Mitsubishi Extreme Drive (MED).
The most popular station was the J-turn, also known as the reverse flick. This exciting exercise was conducted by professional drifters Ariff Johanis from across the Causeway and Singapore’s own Ivan Lim.
The setup for this was pretty straightforward, with the main requirement being enough tarmac to accommodate not only the J-turn proper, but also any driver error that would turn the said turn into a C (for cock-up) or an S (screw-up). According to a Mitsubishi spokesperson, the amateur J-turners loved the reverse flick “because it required some skills, tested their reflexes and was a cool manoeuvre seen in many Hollywood police chases.”
More movie drama was delivered by the “brake dance” station, a repeat of the crowd favourite from the previous year’s MED. A long white strip of vinyl was laid on the tarmac and washed down with soapy water, creating a split surface (slippery on one side and grippy on the other) to induce a big spin upon braking hard in the ABS-disabled Lancer EX. Another Lancer with its anti-lock brakes activated was used to demonstrate the performance and importance of ABS.
An estimated 70,000 litres of non-potable water, mixed with detergent, were splashed by the tanker over the three days. That’s a lot of water, and a lot of spinning around, supervised by the rose among the instructional thorns, Azrina Jane Abdullah.
The fourth and last station, “slip sliding”, was the one that needed the most cones and also the most control, of car and self alike. The setup comprised a Lancer EX Ralliart, a rental Toyota Axio (referred to as “Brand X” by the organisers) and a driving instructor believed to be very familiar with fast German cars like Porsche 911s. The objective of this exercise was to showcase Mitsubishi’s Active Stability Control and how it could save you from a minor skid, major oversteer or any dynamic disaster in between.
According to the trainer in charge of this activity, it wasn’t easy laying out the makeshift circuit to ensure enough vroom to cause a slide and enough room for a decent safety buffer. The safety cones had to be spot-on in their distance to one another and their overall alignment.
In total, more than 400 cones were used (and some of them, abused) for this event. Those on danger pay put their plastic lives on the line at the stunt stations, while the lucky ones marked out the perimeter boundaries and directed traffic. All of them were “cone-mandos”, complete with battle scars, and they all survived to fight another day at the next extreme driving event.