The F.A.T. International Ice Race is a three-day winter spectacle that features all sorts of modern and historic racing machines driving on snow and ice. One of the highlights of the event, which took place last weekend, was the 1998 Le Mans-winning Porsche 911 GT1 race car. The car left the cozy confines of the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen to take part in the event, per Porsche.
The Ice Race extraordinaire occurred from Thursday to Saturday last week in Aspen, Colorado. Ice racing is not new to Porsche or the Aspen area. For years, a GP Ice Race would be held near the Porsche family home on the frozen Lake Zell in Austria. The popular event was held until 1974. In 2019, after a 45-year-long absence, the race was back and rebranded as the F.A.T. International Ice Race. For 2024, it was decided that there would be the traditional event in Austria as well as the first-ever event in the United States. Aspen was selected due to the similar winter climate as well as its own racing history. From 1951 until 1955, an annual street race started in front of Aspen’s famous Hotel Jerome. The cars would race through the unpaved streets in the area.
So, the location makes sense, but why the 911 GT1? In 1998, Porsche celebrated its 50th anniversary with a win at Le Mans. The winning car was this 911 GT1, and apparently, Porsche wanted to give its fans the chance to see it in action once again. Of course, this time the track conditions would be far different to what they were in early June of 1998 at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The GT1 was fitted with special winter tires and the suspension was raised. An additional pre-heating system from the 919 Hybrid was also installed and the software tuning was revised. Overall, fairly minor modifications considering the conditions.
Porsche racer Stéphane Ortelli was one of the men who piloted this exact car to victory at Le Mans in 1998. And it was Ortelli who was given the honor of driving it again on the snow and ice of Aspen. of his GT1 Ice Race drive:
“This is what’s great about the Porsche Museum," Ortelli said. "They not only prepare the cars for shows, but make sure we can drive them, and drive them fast. Even Le Mans winners on snow. I will remember this experience for the rest of my life!”
We don't doubt Ortelli for a second. Just watching the brief video of the GT1 driving on the snow is a memorable experience.
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