AS AUSTRALIA'S most successful male triathlete at the Olympic Games, Courtney Atkinson is no stranger to pushing himself.
Pushing cars, however, is a thing of the past, as he's progressed from a problematic old Ford to the latest performance Subaru.
We discovered more car related gems as we threw the athlete our motoring posers.
What was your first car?
An early '90s Ford Laser - silver, automatic, hatchback. Buying from a dodgy second-hand car yard auction was always going to be trouble. The radiator went on a drive to a training trip on the Sunshine Coast and left me stranded on the side of road. My lesson learnt was to buy a first car that I wanted to drive… forget economics.
What are you driving now?
A 2015 Subaru WRX STI. It is the perfect car for my personality and lifestyle. You can appreciate its performance, but it has 100% everyday drivability. I can drop the rear seats to fit my mountain bike in the boot, or I can just as easily drop my daughter off at school. It's also great for Sunday cruises around the Gold Coast hinterland. But, living in Queensland, I wish the seat warmers also came with a cooling setting.
What cars did your family have while you were growing up?
Main cars were Mitsubishi Pajero 4WDs. Ever since I was in primary school, I remember each would be traded in every few years for the new model. Dad's been buying French lately - he's had a Peugeot 407 and a Citroen DS5 - maybe because he enjoyed his times visiting me while I was racing in Europe and living in France.
Your greatest frustration on the road?
Highway drivers who sit in the right-hand lane. Maybe it's a gripe from living in Europe, but simple driver etiquette and manners can go a long way in making the roads safer.
What's your preferred driving music?
Around town I like to catch up on the news, but cruising up the highway, give me some Hilltop Hoods.
Who'd be your ideal road trip buddy?
Can I have Sébastien Loeb for the deserts, Mark Webber for Europe, and I'll take the steering wheel for everything in-between.
What is your dream car?
Hard one... changes all the time. I've always had a fascination with the 1969 Corvette Stingray. Must have been in a movie I watched, but every time I see one on the road I think I'd like that in the garage.
Name: Courtney Atkinson.
Born: August 15, 1979, Mackay, Queensland.
Resume: Entered his first triathlon at age 14, then won the World Junior Championship in Canada and took out five consecutive Grand Prix triathlon titles in the early 2000s. Won the 2010 London Triathlon, was Noosa Triathlon champion in 2008, '09 and '10 and was fastest Australian triathlete at both the 2008 Beijing (placed 11th) and 2012 London (18th) Olympic Games. Has also won seven ITU World Cup events, won five from seven contested 70.3 IMs and hopes to become the first Australian triathlete to compete in three Olympic Games if he qualifies for Rio 2016.
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