Bookings are now open for the exclusive Kalmar Beyond Adventure ‘Spirit of Speed Arctic’ ice driving experiences, with limited spaces available in January 2024.
Taking place on the snow-blanketed landscapes near Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi – the ‘official’ home of Santa Claus – this is a winter wonderland specifically for adults. The luxury, four-day experience includes two seven-hour driving days with one instructor per car, overnight luxury accommodation, personal shuttle service, meals prepared by a private chef and all non-alcoholic drinks.
Both first-time ice drivers and those with more experience are welcome, with behind-the-wheel activities and one-to-one tuition personalised to each guest’s capabilities and goals. While world-class driving tutors are available on all dates, two-time FIA World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm – the Finnish rally legend known as the ‘Bosse’ in his native Scandinavia – will oversee selected special dates.
Kalmar Beyond Adventure Spirit of Speed Arctic
Guests will travel to the breathtakingly beautiful Arctic Circle where the remote rally driving facility offers unrivalled fast and challenging driving stages through dense forests and across frozen lakes. Alongside are rally, super and rallycross stages, varying in length up to 12km, that are used by FIA World Rally Championship teams and drivers for testing. Driving experience participants are welcome to bring a non-driving guest to share this exceptional adventure.
A wide selection of rally-prepared Kalmar Porsches are available to push to the limit. From air-cooled classic 911 (964 and 993) to water-cooled 911 (996) youngtimers in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, guests can choose their ice weapon of choice. Each Porsche model has been built to offer a safe, reliable experience that is both fun and educational and has undergone extreme weight-saving measures.
These models feature competition specification suspension, sports seats, belts and roll cages, full underbody protection and manual transmissions with driving aids limited to anti-lock brake systems. To keep these stunning 911s adhered to the ice, each is fitted with genuine WRC studded tyres, the exact model that has won WRC Rally Sweden titles. These narrow 105 to 135mm patterns are equipped with 384 tungsten-tipped 6mm metal studs to bite into the ice and deliver superior control and confidence.
For both experienced and new extreme drivers, the two-day Arctic Control program will teach novices how to master the art of driving on ice. Participants will perfect section training and progress to full track driving and magical night-driving sessions, with fast-track opportunities for the more experienced.
The Arctic Race program takes all the elements of the Arctic Control package to the next level for extreme excitement against the stopwatch. This real rally experience will have guests racing against each other through forests on long undulating tracks with plenty of interesting and unnerving corners.
the Arctic Team package offers a fully bespoke program created especially for groups to meet their goals and driving desires.
The team can also organise optional Arctic experiences such as snowmobile driving, husky or reindeer sledding at an additional cost.
The private Glass Resort Premium Lodge blends modern Nordic design and architecture with home comforts. Each evening, guests enjoy meals prepared by a private chef, and access to the lodge’s sauna, outdoor hot tub, or cosy lounge areas. The private rooms feature glass walls and ceilings for a spectacular view of the stars, and (hopefully!) a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Visit the Kalmar Beyond Adventure ‘Spirit of Speed Arctic’ website for more information.
Get some insight into ice driving experiences around the world with this first-hand encounter from Dan Avila.
It is minus-25 degrees Celsius a few hours’ drive north of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, and I am sitting in a brand-new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on a track of pure ice. A voice crackles over the radio: “OK Dan, I want you to drive through the slalom course, making the car slide sideways through each turn, got it?”
Not wanting to abuse the privilege, I respond, “So, shall I give it a bit of a boot?”
“Yeah, you’re good to go. Drive it like you stole it.”
That was the start of my most exciting driving experience at Mécaglisse in northern Quebec, the Camp4 driving facility that brings together Porsche driving enthusiasts from around the world for a masterclass in handling the iconic 911 Carrera on ice. There is a serious side to the experience, too, that the instructors demonstrate by allowing drivers to make errors and get themselves into a slide situation. Handling an icy road or recovering from a loss of control on the ice is not necessarily an intuitive thing. It is a learned skill set that, once mastered, can become muscle memory allowing for instantaneous responses and recovery in a real-world loss-of-traction situation.
This is also an opportunity to drive as fast as you dare, Tokyo Drift-style, around race circuits, applying advanced rally-driving techniques that make you feel ready (although you won’t be) to sign up to the elite Porsche pro-drivers team.
The Porsche driving school was first introduced in 1996 and initially held in Rovaniemi, Finland. Since then, Camp4 has grown into Porsche’s premier winter driving program held by dedicated Porsche event teams in Finland, Switzerland, Italy, China and Canada. Porsche has developed four progressive training programs with drivers needing to graduate from one program to advance to the next. Starting with Camp4 – Precision, drivers can then move on to Camp4S – Performance, ICE-FORCE – Masters and the ultimate ICE-FORCE+ – Masters.
The Canadian Camp4 experience was launched in 2011 and is open to participants from around the world. Arriving from Australia, which is a little like an intergalactic trip at close to 45 hours, we left a warm Australian summer and arrived to a world of ice and snow. Porsche was kind enough to assist in the acclimatisation process with day one on fast-moving snowmobiles. This adrenaline aperitif set the scene for the following day on the ice.
The Camp4 experience is run like a well-oiled German machine. Accepting the offer to arrive a couple of hours ahead of the pack, I left the pictureperfect town of Estérel with two of the Porsche race drivers in the team’s Porsche Cayenne Turbo 4WD support vehicle, arriving (very quickly) at the Mécaglisse circuit in the predawn darkness.
The event management team opened a shed the size of an airline hangar with the fluorescent lights flickering on to reveal a sea of brand-spanking-new 911s in all colours and configurations like a billionaire’s packet of Skittles. After grabbing some photos on the ice, the participants were buddied up in pairs and put into teams. The orientation before the driving program starts is quick yet detailed.
The vehicles are slightly modified to suit the conditions. The original front mesh grills are replaced with open grills so snow can easily be removed if a driver buries the nose of the car in a snow bank. (I only did this once.) The tyres are metal-studded ice editions that ensure some, but not too much, traction.
The 911 Carrera S and 4S
The modern 911 Carrera S (rear-wheel drive) and 4S (all-wheel drive) are machines of precision and beauty. The 911 Carrera is true to its heritage with rearmounted six-cylinder engines, but gone are the days of sacrificing comfort for performance. In some raceready marques, a day on the circuit requires a postrace massage; not so in the 911. Simply re-engage traction control, deselect sports mode and drive off to make the shopping run.
At the end of a day of training, drifting, fish-tailing and sliding on ice and snow, drivers can be forgiven for thinking that perhaps a career with Porsche racing is on the cards. My delusions of grandeur were rapidly dashed with a final hot lap of the entire circuit – this time as a passenger with one of the Porsche race driving team at the wheel. I left convinced that I clearly need to join the rest of the advanced program before my triumphant ascendance to Porsche racing greatness. Perhaps Finland next time?