Following Chris Harris’ recent ice driving video, I thought I’d share with you a recent trip I took to Norway. Purely for pleasure, of course – although the price of alcohol took some digesting!
I stayed at Pers Hotell in Gol, which is about 120 miles north west of Oslo. Every year the owner (Per Rustberggard) and many of his petrolhead mates get together for the ‘Winter Challenge’. Basically it involves people bringing their cars – both old and new, battered and beautiful – to a circuit cut out of snow on a frozen lake.
This was my second visit and the diversity of metal was staggering. This year some brave soul brought an old Corvette, complete with supercharger and sultry female painted on the bonnet. It sounded magical although looked a complete animal on the ice, unsurprisingly.
Somebody else had brought a 997 911 Turbo with a smattering of Ruf carbon fibre addenda and drilled brakes from a 911 Cup racer. Being four-wheel drive it wasn’t the most dramatic through the bends, but you never doubted its pace!
At the opposite end of the scale was a pesky red VW Passat, a 4Motion I think, which was difficult to shake off. And then there was the Audi 100…
Running 1.4bar, the twin-turbo diesel block was putting out around 500bhp, transmitted to the ice via four-wheel drive. In summer, its owner whacks up the boost pressure to 2.2bar and achieves around 750bhp with 1000Nm of torque. I’ve seen the video and on dry tarmac, this thing will out accelerate a superbike and beat it in a quarter-mile drag race.
In a similar fashion, there was also a twin-turbo Mercedes 190, running one of the last Turbotechnics conversions the company ever made for that car. In full DTM livery it looked as good as it sounded!
The white Ford Sierra lacked the visual drama of the 190, but certainly gave it a run for its money in the power stakes, it also packing a twin-turbo motor that made its (admittedly very skilful) pilot work very hard to keep it on the circuit.
Per Rustbeggard’s car is a tribal patterned 560SEC, which I’ve driven previously and goes like stink! It’s been stripped of all unnecessary cabin gubbins so it feels very nose heavy, or rather tail light, which makes long, long drifts a piece of cake. Its studded tyres look puny, but you need to feel how much grip they generate to believe it – braking performance especially, is tremendous.
There’s so much more to say about these cars, their owners and Norway itself, but I’ll just let you enjoy some more pictures that I took.