One of these days, I will head over to France and see the Andros Trophy with my own eyes and report back to you with the news. But allow me to get to the main topic of today's story: the F.A.T. Ice Race. That name may sound familiar to you if you're a Porsche racing enthusiast. While vaguely familiar with the historic event, I was surprised to learn about its revival.
My love for Porsches has deepened over time, some 20 years after it started growing roots in my heart and mind. So, you can imagine how excited I was at the opportunity of talking to Ferdi Porsche himself about this event. Yes, you're right to assume that he's part of the family, and I'll share some more insights about him in a second.
Ferdi Porsche Interview
Naturally, I wanted to know his favorite childhood memory related to cars. "My favorite childhood car-related memory: it has to be the first time I drove a car. I was 13 and kept annoying my parents for half a year, telling them I was old enough to sit behind the steering wheel. My mom taught me how to drive in a Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet on a forest road."
"I could barely reach the pedals. Of course, I have many fond automotive memories, including my trips to see the Monaco F1 Grand Prix in the early 2000s." While racing on the ice in Zell am See was starting to become extremely popular in the '50 and '60s. It stopped in the early '70s, and Ferdi decided to revive it after an almost half-century hiatus.
I wanted to know how the idea entered his mind, and I loved the answer: "My dad bought a Porsche 550 that belonged to his father, and it had spiked tires. I didn't know about the historic race in Zell am See then. When I saw the pictures, I loved the idea. Seeing the cars in the snow and so many spectators on the sides, it had everything you'd expect from an exciting event. We revived it in 2019 and had two fun editions before COVID-19 slowed us down."
I would have never thought something like that would happen, but Porsche shipped the car from the museum in Germany for the race in Aspen, Colorado, and a series of other events across North America, too. Even Ken Block's Hoonipigasus Porsche was onsite, alongside other vehicles like the Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute and the Corvette E-Ray. What I like most about this concept is that you could walk randomly down the pitlane and bump into people like Walter Rohrl, Mark Webber, or even Max Verstappen.
You'll see plenty of cars from the VAG Group, including World RallyCross race vehicles, but other brands are welcome, too. If regular Porsches are boring, I'm sure a selection of rally-prepped 911s and RUF supercars will cater to your needs. I have only scratched the surface regarding gawking at vehicles in the paddock. I've included photos from previous editions to grasp the sheer madness attached to the name. I was curious to learn about Ferdi's ride for the event, and his answer did not disappoint: "I'm driving a lightweight AWD 964 (under 2,425 lbs/ 1,100 kg) with the F.A.T. livery. We ran studded tires in Austria, but here we are on regular winter ones."
I didn't want to take up more of his time, so I concluded with two more questions. I asked about some of his favorite Ice Race moments and his future plans. "Austria was fantastic this year. The weather could have been better, but the vibe was amazing. I co-drove with Valtteri Bottas in the Porsche 911 Dakar. He figured out the ideal line as soon as he entered the track, he is such a chill guy to hang out with! But I also fondly remember one edition of the race where he rounded up 11 550 Spyders! As for the future, I want to grow F.A.T. in different directions. I see a lot of potential in it, and it might not always be an ice race exclusively."
Talking to Ryan Tuerck
I asked how he perceives the difference between sliding around on ice and his regular job: "It's a lot slower; it's almost like drifting in the wet. It's super fun and not my first time on ice- I've had some fun with Chris in Maine before! But it's the first time in these conditions for the Supra and the Stout, and I'm driving them back to back. The layout is exciting, and I like the banked turn!" I've included two videos to understand further what the F.A.T. Ice Race is all about.
The concept may become a holy ground for automotive enthusiasts in five years. I'm already planning my trip to Austria for the 2025 edition: if I manage to test the track in any Porsche, old or new, I'll be happier than a kid in a candy shop. I will return with more photos and updates from the Aspen, Colorado, event soon. I imagine Stephane Ortelli had a fantastic time driving the Porsche GT1 there, almost 30 years after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind its wheel.