Porsche 911 GT1 on Ice Proves Le Mans Winners Can Go Sideways, Too

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By Car Brand Experts

Porsche 911 GT1 on Ice: A Legendary Le Mans Winner Goes Sideways

Embracing the Unexpected

There are moments when legendary cars find themselves in unexpected places. Take the Porsche 911 GT1-98, a Le Mans winner from the 1990s, for example. While this racing icon is more at home on prestigious tracks like Circuit de la Sarthe and Sebring, Porsche decided to challenge norms and equipped it with winter tires for an exhilarating ice racing experience in Aspen. The question remains, why not push boundaries and witness what these machines are truly capable of?

An Unconventional Setup

Porsche made a bold move by showcasing the 911 GT1 at the F.A.T. International ice race in Colorado. The car, transported all the way from the museum in Zuffenhausen, was piloted by Stéphane Ortelli, one of the original drivers who secured its victory at Le Mans 26 years ago. To adapt the GT1 for the icy terrain, Porsche engineers elevated the suspension and integrated a pre-heating system borrowed from the 919 Hybrid. These modifications were essential to optimize performance in Aspen’s freezing temperatures.

A Dance on Ice

Challenges aside, once Ortelli hit the ice, the GT1′s conventional racing setup became a thing of the past. Steering precision, typically crucial in race cars, took a back seat as Ortelli utilized weight transfer techniques to navigate the slippery track. Despite the unfamiliar territory, Ortelli described the experience as a ballet, where the GT1 elegantly danced on the snow, defying its original design intentions.

Mastering the Art of Control

Unlike rally cars that demand intricate steering control, the GT1’s swift steering rack required Ortelli to rely heavily on throttle modulation to maintain the intended trajectory. The limited lock of the GT1’s steering presented a unique challenge, necessitating a delicate balance of gas and left-foot braking to control the car’s slide. Through meticulous coordination of steering and pedal work, Ortelli showcased an impressive display of skill and grace on the ice.


The Porsche 911 GT1’s performance on ice not only defied expectations but also showcased the adaptability and agility of this iconic racing machine. By challenging traditional racing settings, Porsche demonstrated that true excellence knows no bounds.


Can any car be modified for ice racing?

While not all cars are designed for ice racing, with proper modifications like winter tires and suspension adjustments, many vehicles can be adapted for icy conditions.

What are some other iconic cars that could excel in ice racing?

Cars like the Toyota GT-One, Mercedes CLK-GTR, and McLaren F1 GTR, known for their racing pedigree, could potentially showcase impressive performances on icy surfaces with the right modifications.

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You can send your tips and suggestions to tips@thedrive.com to contribute to the automotive community and share your insights on the latest trends and developments in the industry.

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