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Porsche Ice Experience: Challenge the Extreme

Porsche-Ice-Experience-Cover

In late January, I was fortunate to attend the 2020 premiere of the Ice Experience at the invitation of Porsche Canada. Here is the summary of my experience.

Porsche Ice Experience: The story

Porsche-Ice-Experience-911-Ice

Credit: Arctic Media

First launched in 1996, Camp4 (now named Ice Experience) was initially held in Rovaniemi in Finland. For 24 years, Porsche Ice Experience has become Porsche’s first winter driving program and has seen the addition of progressive training levels. The program is currently taking place in Finland, Switzerland, Italy, China and Canada.

Launched in Canada in 2011, Ice Experience (formerly Camp4) returns to Mecaglisse, Quebec for its ninth winter. Program participants progress through various levels. Starting with the Ice Trial (which we did), participants can then move to the Ice Intro level, then Ice Experience, then Ice Force. You don’t have to be a Porsche owner to participate in this experience. 

Porsche-Ice-Experience-911-Carrera-S

Credit: Arctic Media

Launched in Canada in 2011, Ice Experience (formerly Camp4) returns to Mecaglisse, Quebec for its ninth winter. Program participants progress through various levels. Starting with the Ice Trial (which we did), participants can then move to the Ice Intro level, then Ice Experience, then Ice Force. You don’t have to be a Porsche owner to participate in this experience.

My Ice Experience With Porsche

Porsche-Ice-Experience-Instructor

Credit: Arctic Media

First of all, I have to tell you that it was my first time driving a Porsche 911, and it was amazing. It was an experience that lasted 2 days with my colleague Michael Koopmann. First of all, I had the chance to spend the first day at Estérel Resort, including a dinner with about thirty different participants. The latter, media guests, came from all over the world; Brazil, Mexico, China, Toronto and Vancouver.

The next day, starting at 8 a.m., we were treated to an information session on what the Experience program is, there are, moreover, in different seasons and in different places in the world, as I told you earlier. In addition to the program, it was mainly about what we were going to implement during the day. From small details to practicality in the car, everything is important, especially when driving a car with more than 440 horsepower.

As for the theoretical part that takes place at the hotel, the subjects that are covered are the correct position of the seat, the effects of the laws of physics on the vehicle and, of course, the correct position of the steering wheel. These theories may seem trivial to reading, but when you find yourself behind the wheel doing controlled skids, these are crucial.

Porsche-Ice-Experience-Bus

Credit: Arctic Media

After the theoretical part, it’s towards the Mécaglisse circuit at Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci, about a 30-minute drive from the hotel, all with the Porsche Ice Experience bus.

Welcome to Mécaglisse, where the Porsche Ice Experience is happening in Québec

Porsche-Ice-Experience-Participants

Credit: Arctic Media

After 30 minutes of driving, we finally arrive at the circuit where I will have the chance to drive the models of Porsche 911–992 Carerra S and Carrera 4S. Before driving, we join our different teams and the professional pilots who will be the ones who will lead us during the different exercises.

The  slalom

Porsche-Ice-Experience-The-Yellow-911

Credit: Arctic Media

We start with the slalom, I say to us, because we are in a group and two by car. While it sounds easy, on the contrary, you really have to do acceleration and braking. I was lucky to get on board with Ben Cooper, the English karting champion, and I must tell you that his driving was much more intense than mine. He didn’t skimp on pressing the brake and gas pedals to make the car rotate perfectly. I tried to replicate its movements later in the Carrera 4S, a 4-wheel drive car. The yellow car in the cover photo.

Understeer & oversteer

Porsche-Ice-Experience-drift

Credit: Arctic Media

Thereafter, for the second exercise, it was the understeer and oversteer techniques, which often lead to “drifting. “We do what we call” power slide, “which is a phase of drifting, it generally begins in the bend from the moment the glide runs out and where acceleration becomes necessary to pursue it. The car is accelerated from this point until the end of the curve. This technique is generally used by very powerful all-wheel drive cars, which we had for the morning phase. It was really, fun, and trying to understand everything about the different components of the vehicle. It is not at all obvious, but when we arrive, it is a joy. And it is often thanks to the advice of professional pilots that we get there.

Then it’s dinner break. A nice break to relax and chat with the other participants. It’s still a very intense 24 hours!

After dinner and a good Nespresso coffee, sponsor of the program, we changed cars to go to the Carrera S, a powered model and not 4WD like the previous one, I also preferred the latter to the 4 S.

The  racetrack

Porsche-Ice-Experience-911-Carrera-4S

Credit: Arctic Media

In order to put into practice the different techniques learned in the morning, we go on a closed circuit with all kinds of obstacles. Whether it’s slalom, braking, uphill and downhill, steering techniques, vehicle stabilization and load transfer with winter tires. A really interesting practice, I loved this part and it was really closer to real situations on the road. As there were several of us on the road, we had to be careful and be attentive to the various slippages of the others, using the unidirectional walkie-talkie.

Carefully Accelerating Out of a Bend

The last test of the day was to control the acceleration. After all this intense driving, the last test was less obvious. Especially when we are told not to brake or accelerate, but to let the car go. It’s not always easy, especially when it’s a Porsche 911 that doesn’t belong to us, we are always a little more careful.

The return

Porsche-Ice-Experience-Participants

Credit: Arctic Media

The last test of the day was to control the acceleration. After all this intense driving, the last test was less obvious. Especially when we are told not to brake or accelerate, but to let the car go. It’s not always easy, especially when it’s a Porsche 911 that doesn’t belong to us, we are always a little more careful. After all these trials, it’s back to the chalet where we all meet. It was a quick return, with some having a flight to their home region in the evening.

Normand-Boulanger-at-Porsche-Ice-Experience

Credit: Arctic Media

It was a totally incredible experience and learning that I will never forget. If there is anything I have learned from this Ice Experience, it is, in panic situations, to always be calm behind the wheel and not to make sudden movements. Always use the accelerator before braking, sparingly

This excursion was paid for by Porsche Canada, but the comments remain mine. Want to know more ,book your excursion now. Do not hesitate to read our tests of the Panamara 4 E-Hybrid and the Porsche Macan Turbo.

 

P.S. This is a very nice Christmas present that you can buy right now!

 

– Article originally published in Gentologie Magazine Issue 3

President, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Gentologie.