When winter arrives, they’re once again omnipresent – those great black-and-white photos of the famous Ice Race in Zell am See, Austria. Every year between 1937 and 1974, the frozen lake and alpine airfield played host to a breathtaking race that proved that the motorsport season didn’t end with the first snowfall. Above all, the traditional skijoring, during which daredevil skiers were dragged across the ice by racing cars such as the Porsche 550 Spyder, made the Ice Race one of the most unusual motorsport events in Europe. Last winter, photographer Stefan Bogner revived the rear-engined ski lift on the lake of St. Moritz with a particularly dynamic duo of Porsche 911s. Now, the Ice Race is officially returning to Zell am See.
The Porsche family has called Zell Am See home for decades and, naturally, the selection of historic and modern machinery in action will be appropriately sporty. A famous Porsche 550 Spyder, for example, which once belonged to Ferry Porsche and was hustled across the ice by Kurt Ahrens will start the race in 2019. Contemporary endurance racers and World Endurance Champions Marc Lieb and Timo Bernhard have announced their attendance. They’ll be demonstrating their snow-driving skills on the traditional racecourse at the old airport. Teams and manufacturers will compete against each other in different classes and the traditional skijoring is also part of the programme.
The sub-zero new edition was founded by Vincenz Greger and Ferdinand Porsche, the great-grandson of the company’s founder. Hans-Joachim ‘Striezel’ Stuck is currently promoting the GP Ice Race as its special ambassador for snow sports. “There are no VIP tickets for paddock access or boxes only for privileged visitors,” he said. “At our event, you can get really close to the action and the stars with just one entry ticket.” As Ferdinand Porsche is keen to emphasise, “Motorsport belongs in Zell am See and the surrounding mountain roads”. We really can’t wait for this one.
Fotos: GP Ice Race / Porsche / Curves / Text: Classicdriver, Jan Baedeker