Austrian ice racing revival entertains 8,000 people

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The famed 'Fetzenflieger.' Otto Mathe's 1952 MA-01 single-seater, competes in the ice races at Zell am See, Austria | GP Ice Race photos

The temperatures were below freezing but the skies were clear and sunny this past weekend when 8,000 people turned out to watch the revival of ice racing at Zell am See, Austria, in an event co-created by Porsche scion Ferdinand Porsche.

“We never expected such a great success when we had the idea to re-ignite the famous ice races in Zell am See, which have been run between 1937 and 1974, with a modern interpretation,” said Porsche, who organized the event with Greger Porsche Classic Cars business partner Vinzenz Greger. 

Ferdinand Porsche is the grandson of Ferry Porsche.

An aerial view of the ice racing circuit in Zell am See, Austria | Volkswagen photo

Taking to the icy racing circuit were historic, vintage and even modern racing cars driven by the likes of former World Rally champion Walter Rohrl, endurance racing star Hans-Joachim Stuck, Former Formula One racer Mark Webber and even Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the Porsche AG board.

Also on hand as a spectator was David Hasselhoff, the actor who remains very popular with German-speaking audiences.

On the icy racing circuit, Skoda works driver and World Rally Championship 2 winner Jan Kopecky won both Saturday and Sunday in a Skoda Fabia R5. 

Manfred Nothdurfter won the combined Old- and Young-timers category in a Subaru Impreza.

There also were competitive events for “buggies” (modern ATV-style vehicles) and Skijoring, an event in which skiers are pulled around the course by cars, or in olden days, by horses. The Skijoring competition was won by skier Jurgen Stock and driver Martin Zeller, who was in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

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In Skijoring, a vehicle pulls a skier along

The event included a series of exhibition runs by vehicles such as the famed 1938 Auto Union Typ C driven by Stuck, and Audi Sport Quattro driven by Rohrl, who also showcased the capabilities of a Porsche Cayman GT4. The Red Bull NASCAR racer did drifting-on-ice demonstration runs, and two KTM X-Bow vehicles were used to give spectators thrill rides around the racing circuit.

The ice-racing weekend drew thousands of spectators who braved cold weather under the clear Austrian sky
NASCAR racer does drifting-on-ice exhibition runs
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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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