When I first heard we were going to be ice driving on a frozen lake circuit in a Porsche Boxster during a recent media trip to Mauricie, Quebec, I honestly didn’t think too much of it. It just didn’t seem like it would be something I’d overly enjoy. I’ve never been much into cars.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was exhilarating, enlightening and so much fun. And, it completely opened my eyes to another wonderful new winter activity.
Professional race car driver Jean-Sebastien Sauriol, who’s run the outfit for four winters now, says it’s his hope the curriculum will save people from having accidents. Sharing that 12,000 people in Canada are killed in car accidents every year, he adds, “Imagine if 12,000 people died in plane crashes each year, the government would do something about it. Unfortunately it’s not even mandatory, even in Quebec for drivers to do 10 minutes on a wet/icy surface.”
Ice Driving Canada offers a two-fold curriculum to teach preventive/defensive driving with two tracks participants can learn to drive on. The first, a circular skid pad is the ideal spot to learn basic driver training fundamentals such as helping drivers handle the curve of the track using their eyesight to direct their driving. Drivers are instructed to look where they want to go, “Don’t look at the tree, the deer or the snow bank! Look where you need to be,” directs Jean-Sebastien.
Once drivers are able to bring the car back without losing control, the real fun begins. Next they get to put the pedal to the metal while trying to control the car. Here they work at drifting or rallying on the second track – a 3.4 km cleared and winding course.
“So on the big track, it’s like rallying, ice racing – we teach you how to go fast in a safe environment,” says Jean-Sebastien.
I was lucky enough to head out with professional race car driver, Guy Lahaie, who took me for out for a few dizzying and fast laps around the longer course.
Behind the wheel of a Porsche Boxster
Then it was my turn to get behind the wheel on the skid pad. Guy shared that I handled the car well, saying I definitely had some natural ability – news that made me smile. Growing up in Saskatchewan, I may have had a little practice driving on ice after all!
It’s no surprise that drivers of all skill levels from amateurs to professionals have been flocking to Ice Driving Canada from around the world. The unique program is super appealing for a number of reasons. Ice driving on a frozen lakebed circuit is pretty neat and learning from professional racecar drivers is not something you get to do everyday. And hey let’s be real, the draw of getting behind the wheel of a Porsche Boxster certainly has some major sex appeal.
So why a Porsche Boxster?
Jean-Sebastien explains that beyond the car’s appeal, he wanted vehicles with rear wheel drive. The Boxsters, which also offer reliability and value, come equipped with a mid-engine (located right behind your back) so the weight distribution from front to back is almost equal. “This type of balance is very good on an icy surface,” shares Guy.
These are stock cars without modifications, with the exception of the tires, which are studded with nails, help to keep the cars on the track.
Want to learn how to pendulum swing, drift, brake and fly safely around icy corners?