Ice driving in air-cooled Porsches – the ultimate winter wonderland for petrolheads? | CAR Magazine

Ice driving in air-cooled Porsches – the ultimate winter wonderland for petrolheads?

Published: 03 November 2023 Updated: 03 November 2023

► Ice-driving experiences in air-cooled Porsches
► Instructors include Marcus Grönholm
► Modified 996 and Cayman R also available

You’re probably aware that ice-driving experiences exist – we’ve covered them before when carmakers have offered us the opportunity to test them out, and it’s always a fun time. Especially when your mates get stuck in a snowbank. This Spirit of Speed Arctic offering is a little bit different, however, as it gives you the opportunity to go sliding about in the frozen wilds of Lapland in a classic air-cooled Porsche 911.

What’s more, one of the on-hand instructors is none other than two-time World Rally Champion, Marcus Grönholm. The firm behind these high jinx is Kalmar Beyond Adventure, sister company to Kalmar Automotive, which builds and runs the modified Porsches in question.

Where and when is this happening?

The experience takes place in the Arctic Circle, on a series of lake and forest stages also used by WRC teams for testing. Comprising rally, super and rallycross varieties, these are up to 12km (7.5 miles) long, and offer challenges ranging from novice to very experienced.

As such, Kalmar also provides a choice of Control, Race and Team bookings.

Air-cooled Porsche 911 ice-driving experiences, front, blue, drifting, frozen lake

Control is the starting point – though it still promises ‘fast-track opportunities’ for those who’ve done this sort of thing before – while Race caters to those looking to push themselves to a higher level. This includes driving to pace notes and competing with the other attendees on undulating forest courses with ‘potentially unnerving corners’.

Team is for group bookings, and can be tailored to suit.

All feature day and night driving, full-track drifting and technique perfection, honed by expertise from Gronholm and the Kalmar team.

Slots are available to book in January 2024 now.

What cars are involved?

This experience revolves around (pun intended, we’ve done ice driving – you’re going to spin) a selection of specially modified Porsches.

For air-cooled fans there are 964 and 993 models, while anyone not affronted by a liquid-filled radiator can enjoy a 996 or a 987 Cayman R. The rear-engined 911s come with rear- or all-wheel drive and a manual transmission; the mid-engined Cayman is fitted with a PDK.

Air-cooled Porsche 911 ice-driving experiences, group shot including 911s and Cayennes

All are upgraded with competition suspension, sports seats, harnesses, roll cages and under-body protection. The only driver aids are anti-lock brakes, and even these can be switched off if you’re interested.

Vitally, the cars use WRC-spec studded tyres, narrower than the standard wheels and equipped with tungsten-tipped 6mm spikes to help them grip in the ice and snow.

How much does it cost?

This is very much one of those price-on-application affairs. If the cars weren’t clue enough, attendees also stay in a ‘Glass Resort Premium Lodge’ and are fed by private chef. The accommodation includes a sauna, an outdoor hot tub, and glass ceilings and walls to make it easier to view the Northern Lights (assuming they show up on schedule).

Air-cooled Porsche 911 ice-driving experiences, Cayman R drifting on frozen lake, green, rear

It’s a four-day package in total, including two seven-hour driving days with individual instructors, plus the option to do all the other Arctic tourism stuff, such as snowmobiling and sledding with huskies and/or reindeer.

Sounds perfect for a new-year pick-me-up to us. Especially if you weren’t lucky enough to get a build slot for the new 911 S/T.

By CJ Hubbard

Head of the Bauer Digital Automotive Hub and former Associate Editor of CAR. Road tester, organiser, reporter and professional enthusiast, putting the driver first