The country’s top Porsche racers have received the ultimate prize for their successes in the 2015 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia season – driving the brand’s top-of-the-range sports cars on Finnish frozen lakes.
The end-of-season prize, a position on the Porsche Driving Experience’s Ice-Force S programme, was awarded to Nick Foster, Matt Campbell, Stephen Grove and Tony Bates for finishing in the top three of either the outright or TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge classifications. Sydneysider Ryan Simpson was also awarded a spot on the programme for his 2015 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia title win.
The programme saw the five drivers venture to the small Finnish resort town of Levi where, during the three day driving course, the Australians drove a selection of the Porsche 911 range – Carrera S, Carrera 4S, Turbo, Turbo S and GT3 RS – on frozen lakes before sampling a Carrera Cup car, the GT3 Cup, in the unique conditions.
In addition to the ice driving, the Porsche racers went on a snow mobile adventure and, in a return to their competitive side, competed against each other in ice karting.
The programme was surreal for 2015 championship runner-up, Campbell, who had little experience away from Australian race tracks.
“The whole experience was surreal. Racing in Carrera Cup is amazing, but driving Porsche sports cars, and even a Carrera Cup car, on ice is quite unreal,” said Campbell.
“Growing up in Australia you don’t get to experience anything remotely close to driving on snow and ice, let alone experiencing such cold temperatures. It was great to be able to translate what I’ve learned about driving a Porsche on a race track into driving one on ice.
“It was an incredible trip and something I’d love to experience again.”
TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge racer, Bates, was equally thrilled with his Finnish experience ahead of the 2016 season.
“It’s not often that you get to drive in those conditions, so to do it in top-of-the-range Porsche 911s was an amazing and unique opportunity,” said Bates.
“The whole experience was amazing, from driving in completely foreign conditions in temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees, to seeing how the cars performed with such little traction. Add to that the snow mobile adventure and ice karting and it was a tremendous prize for our 2015 efforts.
“We now shift our focus to the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide to get the 2016 season underway.”
TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge champion, Shane Smollen, and David Russell, who placed third in the Carrera Cup standings, were unable to make the trip to Finland.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship will begin at the season opening Clipsal 500 on March 03-06, 2016.