The Driver’s Seat: Henry Catchpole Goes Ice Racing

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The F.A.T. Ice Race in Aspen, Colorado, must be the coolest car event on the planet. Where else could you hope to see the 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 that won Le Mans sliding around on snow alongside a genuine police Mini? At the inaugural running of the U.S. edition of the F.A.T. Ice Race, Henry Catchpole soaks up the atmosphere, hitches a lift in a Group B Audi Sport Quattro S1, and drives three very different cars… and a piste basher!

Catchpole-FAT-Ice-Race porsche front three quarter
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The F.A.T. Ice Race is the brainchild of Ferdi Porsche. In order to understand more about the event and the F.A.T. International brand, Henry jumps into the passenger seat of Ferdi’s rare 964 Carrera 4 Lightweight. One of just 20 cars ever produced, it is effectively a 964 RS with manually adjustable four-wheel drive. Needless to say, Ferdi drives it with gusto and no little skill.

Catchpole-FAT-Ice-Race wheel tire action
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First of the cars that Catchpole gets to drive is the Corvette E-Ray. It proves to be one of the quickest cars around the snowy course, thanks to its clever hybrid all-wheel-drive system that utilizes an electric motor on the front axle in addition to the 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 powering the rear wheels. It also has heated seats and a heated steering wheel, which is nice. Sideways, but snug.

Catchpole-FAT-Ice-Race interior driving action
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Second on the driving list is NISMO’s Safari Z, which was created as a working concept for the SEMA show in 2023. Its classic front-engine, rear-drive balance was perfect for some snow drifting, and the spot lamps were perhaps only outdone by those on the Ford Escort WRC car that was also in attendance.

The last car on the list for Catchpole is also the most extraordinary—Ryan Tuerck’s 1966 Toyota Stout pickup. This is no ordinary Stout, with a custom chassis, a beautiful, exposed cantilever rear suspension, and a turbocharged four-cylinder under the bonnet that delivers 600 hp. All the considerable steering lock is certainly put to good use!

As well as driving cars, we also take time to interview some of the other entrants. We chat with Tuerck, obviously, but also with Le Mans winners Stéphane Ortelli and Emanuele Pirro, 911 guru Leh Keen, and all-round legend Jeff Zwart. Jo Scarbo is also quizzed about his brand-new creation, the SV Rover, which made its debut on the ice in Aspen. Paying homage to Land Rovers, but with a mid-mounted 1000-hp supercharged V-8, 30 inches of Baja-truck wheel travel, and movable bodywork, it is quite the piece of kit.

Strap in and hit the ice!

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