Ice Training in Norway

APCsport's driver Andrew Coley had just finished filming for the BBC at Brands Hatch, when his mobile rang…

“Hi Andrew, it's Chris Moore at Innovation Motorsport here; I know it's late notice but is there any chance you could come to Norway on Thursday to practice on a frozen lake for a couple of days?”

A little explaining: Andrew featured in Motor Sports Now magazine (MSN) in 2004, driving a works specification Subaru Impreza with Martin Rowe, 2003 World Champion, giving him some expert instruction. (Click for full Rowe story.)

In early 2005, MSN magazine received an invite from Innovation Motorsport's Norway training venue, a pair of vast frozen lakes in the mountains of Southern Norway, to send a driver over for a couple of days to write a feature. With Andrew having already been featured in MSN, the choice was simple!

Two short days later and our driver Andrew was out practising on the foot thick ice and snow, thoroughly enjoying the experience! He explains why driving on ice is so exciting:

”The initial impression is the same as driving on gravel, with a slight feeling of detachment from the road and looseness. As with gravel, when you start to lean on the car there is more grip than you first feel, but markedly so with the studs. You can brake deep into tightening corners relying on amazing lateral grip, with real feeling for the limit of traction at both front and rear: basically, mega fun, mega fast, sideways style. Amazing!”

“In the end you inevitably get bitten by the snow banks, in my case just using too much road into a tightening third gear left, hooked one wheel and was fired straight through the bank, to a standstill in the snow at the edge of the track. You can tap the banks with a rear wheel to limit the slide, but an errant front wheel pulls you in rapidly, no matter what you do with the steering.”

“On the final day Chris from Innovation had arranged for me to sit in with local rally driver Jorgen Solberg. Let's just say he had a good understanding of what a Subaru on studded tyres will do in the snow. Flat out in 6th gear over crests…I could learn a bit there, definitely!”

Following the trip, Andrew wrote a full feature article for Motor Sports Now magazine on his experiences in Norway; which was featured in the Autumn 2005 issue; please click to download a PDF of the article. Images from the trip can be seen in the 2005 Gallery.
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