Flat-out racing on ice and snow returns to Zell am See in Austria this month, when the inaugural GP Ice Race is run on January 19th and 20th. A contemporary re-imagining of the spectacular ice races held in the region from 1937 to 1974, the event is the brainchild of Vinzenz Greger and Ferdinand Porsche, great-grandson of Dr Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951).
“For more than forty years, spectacular car races on ice as well as skijoring (skiers towed behind cars) fascinated the people at Zell am See,” notes Ferdinand Porsche. “Even before World War I, there was an ice race for motorbikes on the lake. During the 1950s, the event evolved into what we today think about, when we hear about skijoring.
“The first skijoring competition in remembrance of my great-grandfather Dr. Ferdinand Porsche took place on 10 February 1952. Four years later, the event was renamed “In memoriam Prof. Dr. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche”, now featuring ice races for motorbikes and cars. The event was not won by a Porsche – but by a DKW. In a couple of weeks, we will bring back this legendary event from obscurity, newly interpreted as “GP Ice Race”.”
Porsche celebrities from far and wide will attend the event, but, in keeping with the original ice racing ethos, there is no special treatment for the big names. “There are no VIP tickets for paddocks and boxes only for privileged visitors,” said Ice Race ambassador and motorsport legend, Hans-Joachim Stuck. “At our event, the ticket is also really close to the action and the stars.”
Other big names from racing and rallying include Walter Rörhl, Richard Lietz, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Jochi Kleint. The two-day program features show rides of celebrity riders, traditional skijoring, where skiers are pulled across the snow by racing cars, the competition of current racing and rally vehicles and demo rides of historic motorsport cars such as Otto Mathé’s original Furhmann-engined “Fetzenflieger”, now owned by the Hamburg Automobile Museum PROTOTYP.
Automobile Museum PROTOTYP founder and director, Oliver Schmidt, will be piloting the Fetzenflieger on the demanding track and is already looking forward to the race: “Otto Mathé won this event four times with his famous monoposto in the 1950s, so of course expectations are high! Whether I can equal the performance of the true “Ice King” will be seen at the show rides on Saturday and Sunday afternoon but either way it will be a lot of fun for everyone!”
Zell am See: GP Ice Race Event Schedule
Saturday January 19 2019
- 11:00 AM Opening event area
- 12:00 AM Start of the event
- 1:00 PM GP Ice Karting, Qualification & Day final runs
- 4:00 PM Show races & specials
- 4:30 PM Qualification & Day final runs
- 8:20 PM Show races & specials
- 8:50 PM GP Charity Ice Karting, Qualification & Day final runs
- 10:00 PM Pit Lane Night
Sunday January 20 2019
- 7:30 AM Opening event area
- 8:30 AM GP Charity Ice Karting, Qualification & Day final runs
- 15:10 PM Show races & specials
- 15:40 PM Day final runs, Final runs & Award ceremony
- 5:00 PM End of event
image © courtesy of Porsche AG