Features/ Special-features/ Porsche Ice Experience: It's A Game Best Played On Ice With The Porsche Dakar 911

Porsche Ice Experience: It's A Game Best Played On Ice With The Porsche Dakar 911

There are some experiences and adventures that you do for yourself, and no videos or pictures can justify the real feeling. Imagine you have returned from a space tour where you could not take any pictures and videos, but the experience will be surreal and lifelong. Porsche Ice Experience is one such life experience. This was my second time, and as such, this program is also called Level 2 of Porsche Ice Force. In the end, you are handed over a certificate to prove  that you can drive and drift  on ice. This certificate also helps your case in getting earlier allotments of enthu-cult machines like the Porsche GT3 RS. In my case, it's a remembrance of the three days of metamorphic experience on ice.

Porsche has been doing this for almost 12+ years in the little sleepy town of Kittila in Finland, also famous as an ice-skiing tourist destination. A large swamp is converted into a playground on the ice where iconic Porsche machines drift and slide till the snow melts. The level 2 programme has a price tag of 10,000 Euros plus flights and gets sold out faster than you can digest this. It's a very sought-after Porsche Experience, and it's also common to find enthusiasts who have done this multiple times and are always ready to drift ,eat , sleep and repeat. At the registration, you also have to provide your credit card details, and there is a maximum cap of another 10,000 Euros in case there is any vehicle damage or if you decide to go more adventurous than required. So, in total, we are talking roughly INR 12-15 lakhs for three days and four nights and adding another ten lakhs more in the worst-case scenario of you trying to do "Ice Breaking Stunts''. 

I visited the same town last month with Audi for the Audi Ice Drive Experience  and drove the RS 4 Avant, so including the last of 2 years, it was my 4th skating stint on ice with high-powered cars. This was by far the most advanced, with more driving time and longer tracks. The real icing on the cake was to drive the 911 Dakar based on the Carrera 4 GTS, which was the car of last year, and the 911 Turbo S before anyone was born. If any one of the parents is an auto enthusiast, he would know what a 911 is, and if you get that toy to play around in an ice playground, then you can fight any battle to do that. The joke was that if Porsche had told us that you guys needed to come walking from Mumbai, we probably would have. 

Let's take a moment to describe what an ultimate machine the 911 Dakar is. With 50 mm of extra ground clearance, it comes with a Rally Mode and Lift, giving an additional 30 mm. If my math is correct, you get an additional 80 mm of clearance over the standard 911 GTS. It has an option of a roll cage, and the two extra seats were plucked to make it lighter, with only 1605 kg, while still throwing 478 bhp. The rule is to drive in manual with PSM (Porsche Stability Management ) off, another phrase for traction control off and Sports mode on. There is no feeling greater when you catch a slide in a longer hairpin corner, and you begin drifting with your nose pointed towards the snow banks. There are two simple and cardinal rules of this game. The first is 'look where you want to go' - meaning looking at the farthest corner. Second, lesser acceleration & steering input with a gentle pad on the brakes, all of these in a coordinated manner. Easy. If you brake hard, then the ABS kicks in, and you lose the drift. Another thing we learned and mastered was the Scandinavian flick, which means going in the corner from left to right and suddenly left again with a gentle pad on brakes and continuing the acceleration, and you get the slide.

It can be compared to gaming, which is addictive. I had actually carried the Acer Predator and was practising at night, drifting on it inspired by the Gran Turismo  movie and thinking of this quote: "In the heart of winter, the true gamers emerge to conquer the icy challenges ahead. Eventually, in the game of ice, adaptability is the key - every drift, every slide, a dance with danger."

Unlike the video game where you become a speed addict, drifting on ice is more of a technique, a love affair with your machine, understanding every rev, and a patience game. Coming back to the Dakar 911, especially the Offroad and Rallye mode, sideways has never been so easy. Simply pick an arbitrary point and keep your foot in to keep sliding. Back it in with a bit of speed and four-wheel drift. Take a tighter radius, give it a flick, and you can hold it on the lock until your heart's content.

It's pure video game stuff—pointless but very adrenalin-pumping, extremely joyous, and supremely addictive. I can't think of anything more exciting than this. It's no wonder that folks keep repeating, and slots get filled very fast. Watch out for Porsche Experience on their website. It opens in September 2024 for drive slots in February 2025, and if you can manage the resources, go for it because it is one life experience that is best cherished. 

To read last year's' Porsche Ice Experience , click here

To watch the Porsche Ice Experience  , click here



TopGear Magazine May 2024