10 Fun Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund According to a Racecar Driving Stuntman
Now that your tax refund might start trickling in its time to think about how to spend it
Now that your taxes have been properly filed, the most stressful time of the year begins: That 21-day period before you get your tax refund. In honor of tax day, The Drive spoke with racecar driver and Hollywood stuntman, Andrew Comrie-Picard, to see what he had to say on how to use your refund.
If you are getting more than just a couple hundred dollars from your refund, here are some once in a lifetime experiences you should splurge on, according to ACP.
1. The Porsche Experience
Ever wanted to learn how to properly speed around in a Porsche? Andrew Comrie-Picard recommends testing out Porsche Experience Centers in Atlanta or Los Angeles to test out the capabilities of your favorite Stuttgart machine while also developing as a driver. The experiences are designed to be one-to-one with a Porsche driving coach in the model you select. Cost is from $350 to thousands of dollars depending on how many days you commit yourself.
2. Team O'Neil Rally School in Dalton, New Hampshire
Ever wonder what it's like to be rifling through the woods on a dirt road at triple-digit speeds in a production car? Team O'Neil's New Hampshire-based rally school has miles of purpose-built forest roads, specially-prepared cars, and runs through winter and summer. The team has trained many champions including Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, and Andrew Comrie-Picard to winning the North American Rally Championship and an X Games medal. Prices can range from about $500 up to five days at $6,000.
3. Wide Open Baja
If you ask anyone who has competed in it, the Baja 1000 is the toughest point-to-point race on Earth. If you want to know what it feels like, without the physical and financial punishment of the actual race, take the same vehicles over the same course in a training environment, leaving from Ensenada or Cabo. How authentic is it? "Well, my team and I used one of the Wide Open buggies and a standard set of BFGoodrich All-Terra T/A K02 tires to win our class on the Baja 1000 in 2013," ACP explains. Paul Newman raced these also. Cost ranges from $350 to thousands over days
4. LevelUp Racing School
The keys to a good racing school according to Comrie-Picard are its instructors, and at LevelUp, you will be working with the finest. LevelUp Racing School sets up its students with a foundational motorsport skill set in a safe, fun, and affordable environment. Each Racing School session lasts two days and during that time students will learn about downshifting and utilizing H-pattern gearboxes, the racing line, flagging and communications protocols, trail braking, passing techniques, race starts, racing in the rain, data logging, and analysis. Two-day sessions cost about $3,000.
5. Go Local
“Pick a point on the map, go there, and buy a local vehicle,” said Comrie-Picard. The stuntman said that one of his most treasured experiences was going to India, buying an Enfield motorcycle, and riding around New Dehli.
Racing Schools or travel not really your thing? Here are some more affordable upgrade recommendations from Andrew Comrie-Picard
6. Upgrade Your Brakes
According to ACP, one of the best ways to go faster is to be able to slow down later. If you drive aggressively or participate in any autocrossing, you should upgrade your brake pads. You don't only want more stopping power, but also more resistance to "fade" (or brake deterioration in subsequent stops), and better modulation to avoid lockup at the limit. Start with performance pads and then move on to better rotors and eventually larger-diameter systems. Cost can be from $50 to thousands.
7. Upgrade Your Tires
Comrie-Picard tells that "every racer knows the single most important components of your car are the tires." He continued, "You only get four contact patches about the size of your palm to hold on to the earth, whether you have 100 horsepower or 1,000, and no matter how great your car or brakes are, tires are key." As the man himself explains, there are plenty of options for everyday enthusiasts to choose from. "We've won the Baja 1000 on standard BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s and see amateur racers getting trophies with the R1 and Rival every weekend, with canyon-carvers from California to North Carolina relying on the Comp-2. But even your Camry can get a serious upgrade with a set of Advantage T/A Sports. I've done movie stunts in a minivan on these tires. I trust them because they work."
8. Wrap Your Car
This is a great option for someone that wants to change the look of their car but doesn’t want to spend the thousands of dollars it costs for a proper paint job. A wrap is essentially a large vinyl graphic or decal that is applied directly over the original paint of the car. The wrap can be easily removed without damaging the paint beneath. Cost can near $2,500, but that's a bargain compared to the average paint job that costs $3,600.
9. Tune Your ECU
This refers to modifying the erasable, programmable, read-only memory chip in a vehicle's Electronic Control Unit. Modifications are done to this in order to improve performance and to get better mileage. "But be aware," ACP warns, "that when meddling with the ECU, you are meddling with what makes the motor of your vehicle run safely." Make sure to always consult a professional before improving performance through ECU modification. Andrew Comrie-Picard recommends the COBB Accessport for $650 for ECU modifications.
10. Change Your Wheels for Looks or Performance
Putting custom wheels and opting for larger or smaller rims can bring back some of that new car excitement and improve performance. But it is important to remember that the larger the rim the thinner the wheel and those few inches that connect your car to pavement determine everything. Be careful when replacing wider tires with low aspect ratio ones. Depending on your budget, you can find sets of wheels that range from a cool grand to $10,000.
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