Cool Runnings: F.A.T. International & The ICE St Moritz
While Demeter continues to decorate the UK with her ice-cold paintbrush, longing for the return of her dear Persephone, the roads, once a playground for roaring engines and screeching tires, are now a slippery canvas demanding a deft touch on the wheel.
In the interests of getting fired up for winter driving, and to keep us all entertained over the long, dark months ahead, we wanted to draw attention to some of the coolest ice racing events that grace the automotive calendar. Steeped in history and fuelled by passion, events like the F.A.T. Ice Race and The ICE St Moritz offer plenty of automotive excitement.
Written by Archie Hill for The Apex by Custodian. Edited & produced by Archie Hill, Jeremy Hindle & Charles Clegg.
Ice Racing & F.A.T. International
Ice racing has humble roots. Back in the 1930’s, Scandinavian farmers would strap on their ski’s and rely on actual horsepower to get from A to B. It didn’t take long for people to realise this was a great deal of fun, and sure enough ‘Skijoring’ became a sport, and made its one and only Olympic appearance at St Moritz in 1928.
Soon enough, horses were replaced by motorcycles and cars, and the Porsche ancestral family home of Zell am See, Austria became the epicentre for ice racing. In 1952 the Lake saw the first Professor Ferdinand Porsche Memorial Race, with the Porsche 356 and later, the 550 Spyder demonstrating that Stuttgart engineering was just as good in extreme low grip conditions as it was on a baking hot race track.
The races ran periodically at Zell am See until the 1970’s, and in 2019 was relaunched by Ferdi Porsche and a few friends, under the guise of the F.A.T. International, a newly founded holding company for the F.A.T. Ice Race and the F.A.T. Mankei (an incredible restaurant that adorns the top of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, one of the finest driving roads in the Alps). The name pays homage to the F.A.T. International logistics company that was well known for sponsoring two Le Mans winning race cars, including the 1994 winning Dauer 962 Porsche.
The modern formula for the event consists of six different categories of cars taking to the icy circuit. One of which still features the towing of a skier behind a car, and head-to-head races comprised of four cars per race, with a final in every class at the end of the day.
The event takes place on the 27th January 2024, and next year will also see the launch of the inaugural F.A.T. Aspen Ice Race (8th-10th February 2024), and the beginning of a new chapter for Ice Racing aficionados.
More information about the F.A.T International, including tickets & registration, is available here.
The ICE St Moritz
February also welcomes the return of the mightily successful ICE St Moritz. Set against the backdrop of the Swiss Alps, the event fuses the International Concours d’Elegance with full opposite lock and the aura of Apres-Ski.
Inspiration for The ICE St Moritz can be traced back to 1985, when a contingent of British participants of the iconic Cresta Run, spearheaded by Scotsman Keith Schellenberg, decided to celebrate the centenary of the event by driving their vintage Bentley’s around the frozen lake. Auto-brand manager Marco Makaus witnessed the events of that day, and a vision was born.
It wasn’t until 2019 that the first official ICE St Moritz event was held, but it has swiftly become one of the most popular and well loved events in the automotive calendar. This year's spectacle saw the likes of Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro celebrate 100 years of Le Mans, by sliding a 1936-designed V16 Auto Union Type C and an ex-Willment Automobiles AC Cobra around the icy lake.
The event is now spread over two days, and will be held on the 23rd & 24th February 2024. On the Friday, you can immerse yourself in the unbelievable mix of cars on display as part of the International Concours d’Elegance. On the Saturday, the same cars will then be let loose on the snowy circuit! It is truly a sight to behold.
You can find out more information about the event, including tickets & pricing, here.