After a 3-year hiatus, GP Ice Race is back! Rebranded as the “FAT Ice Race” under FAT International, the event kicked off the 2024 car season in style. Loud, fast and unapologetic, this year’s edition made nothing of the fact that the weather gods once again tried to ruin everything by cancelling the typical sub-zero winter temperatures that you’d expect in January, as the heavy, warm rainfall that proceeded the event did everything it could to melt as much snow as possible and destroy the fun.
Luckily the sun shone when around ten thousand spectators and competitors descended onto the Zell am See airfield last Saturday and massive thrills were in fact delivered by cars racing around the (slightly softer than planned) ice track. Privateer teams as well as fleets of racing and rally vehicles brought by companies such as Audi, Porsche, Mini, RUF and VW tore through the snow in a cacophony of engine noise and gasps from the spectators. Especially those that were covered in the snowy spray launched by the spiked tyres of four-wheel drive monsters like the Audi Hoonitron, the X-Raid All4 Racing Dakar Mini or the Red Bull Fabia RS rally car.
We arrived in a special car of our own - a one-off Porsche Sonderwunsch 911 Dakar, called RED 58 Special, which was commissioned by Porsche Poland as a tribute to the only Polish Porsche factory rally driver in history - Sobiesław Zasada. Sobiesław, together with Marek Wachowski, won the Australian leg (over 5,500 kms) of the London to Sydney marathon in 1968. The fact that it was Sobiesław’s 94th birthday on the day of the race and that the car has around 200 000€ of options on it, including the hand painted decals and starting numbers, as well as a quote on the door sill that says “At 90, life is just beginning” only added its cool factor as it quickly became the star of the parking lot, even if 911 Dakars were out in force at the event.
All in all, we had great fun watching not only the racing, but also the special exhibitions from Audi (the 90 Quattro IMSA GTO is such an impressive machine in the metal) and Porsche, who gathered around 10 examples of the Porsche 550 RS and 718 RSK under one tent in an impressive display of the brand’s racing heritage. Of course, there were plenty of other cool Porsches present, like a 917K with a ski rack!
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a FAT Ice Race without the people. Those who love to celebrate car culture in all of its forms. Seemingly all the usual suspects, friends and car personalities were present on that sunny Saturday in Zel am See. From famous YouTubers and Instagram influencers (shout out to Brock Keen, Sam Fane and Francis Bourgeois) to F1 superstar Valtteri Bottas and some fantastic Red Bull Pilots who closed off the event with some hair-raising stunts.
We will be back in 2025 for sure. Hopefully to drive something exciting, very sideways and very fast!
Photos by Filip Blank