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#118 Porsche 911 SC driven by Michael Stock
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #118 Porsche 911 SC driven by Michael Stock

After a 45-year hiatus, the popular Ice Race GP at Zell am See near the picturesque Austrian town of the same name, was revived last month to great acclaim. Thanks to an abundance of snow in the region, the race track, which is laid out on the frozen runway of a local airfield in the Alpenflugplatz area, was brought to life once again.

#68 Porsche 356 driven by Jochen Stängle
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #68 Porsche 356 driven by Jochen Stängle

With the sound of race engines and the smell of high octane racing fuel, around 8000 spectators braved the sub-zero temperatures under clear blue skies as they watched 130 competitors of all levels competing in a wide a range of race cars. From vintage racers to modern sophisticated racing machinery, two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and buggies, they all came to compete.

#71 Porsche 550 RS driven by Emanuele Maria Tabacchi
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #71 Porsche 550 RS driven by Emanuele Maria Tabacchi

The list of professional drivers reads like a ‘who-is-who’ of the racing world. Former World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl, and Hans-Joachim Stuck, were behind the wheel of both classic and modern racers, while Mark Webber, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Romain Dumas were just some of the other names associated with Porsche cars…and Dr. Wolfgang Porsche (Chairman of the supervisory Board of Porsche AG) was on hand just to make sure everyone behaved themselves!

Auto Union Type C was driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: Auto Union Type C was part of the historic car exhibition and driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck

Back in 1928, it was reported that riderless horses pulled skiers on the race track at maximum speed. Skijöring, as it would become known, was predicted to become a cult that would soon embrace motorsport, and how right they were. In 1937, the first motorcycle skijöring event was held at Zell am See and in 1952 Paul Schwarz won the newly founded Dr. Porsche Memorial Skijöring Race. The following year cars were allowed to compete as skijöring became just as popular behind 4-wheeled vehicles as it had been behind motorbikes. In 1956, the international motorcycle and auto ice racing event was launched, and in 1957 Otto Mathé recorded the fastest lap at 102.3 km/h, watched by 5000 visitors. This record was broken several more times by different racing drivers as machinery became more powerful and as tyre technology improved. The Ice Races took place between 1937 and 1973 and while the 1974 race was set to take place, an accident with a snow clearing vehicle put paid to the event that year.

Studded snow tyres
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: Studded snow tyres

Following an almost half century absence, the Ice Races are back, and we have compiled this gallery of images by our intrepid Hungarian photographer, Zoltan, who braved the cold! Also below, are a selection of images supplied by the magazine Curves, covering the Fetzenflieger that was driven in period by the motorsport legend and the car’s creator, Otto Mathé.

Ice Races GP gallery

#62 Otto Mathé Fetzenflieger and #83 Porsche 911 2.7
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #62 Otto Mathé Fetzenflieger driven by Oliver Schmidt; and #83 Porsche 911 2.7 driven by Reinhard Moser

#118 Porsche 911 SC driven by Michael Stock
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #118 Porsche 911 SC driven by Michael Stock

#140 Porsche 928 S driven by Brigitte Schmalzl
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #140 Porsche 928 S driven by Brigitte Schmalzl

Audi Sport Quattro S1 driven by Walter Röhrl
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: Audi Sport Quattro S1 driven by Walter Röhrl

#118 Porsche 911 SC driven by Michael Stock
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #118 Porsche 911 SC driven by Michael Stock

#75 Porsche 356 driven by Erich Wagner
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #75 Porsche 356 driven by Erich Wagner

#17 Porsche 356 A and #25 Porsche Carrera 3.2
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #17 Porsche 356 A driven by Gregor Trautmann; and #25 Porsche Carrera 3.2 driven by Wolfgang Seufert

#86 Porsche 912 and #37 Volkswagen Karman Ghia
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #86 Porsche 912 driven by Franz Wittner; and #37 Volkswagen Karman Ghia driven by Michael Gross

#115 EASR Rallye Porsche Carrera driven by Uwe Kurzenberger
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #115 EASR Rallye Porsche Carrera driven by Uwe Kurzenberger

#31 Porsche 356 A driven by Alexander Mauz
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #31 Porsche 356 A driven by Alexander Mauz

#120 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup driven by Franz Irxenmayer
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #120 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup driven by Franz Irxenmayer

#33 Porsche Speedster driven by Matthias Laimer
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #33 Porsche Speedster driven by Matthias Laimer

In 1952, the Austrian mechanical engineer Otto Mathé built the Fetzenflieger using Volkswagen and Porsche parts. The chassis and body were handmade. The first engine, a 1500 cc pushrod Porsche racing engine and transmission were installed in front of the rear axle. In 1955, Mathé changed the engine and installed a 550 Spyder engine. He also improved the car by using rims and brakes from the 550 Spyder. Further details about this amazing racer can be found HERE. The Fetzenflieger can be found on permanent display at the Automuseum PROTOTYP in Hamburg, for further details click HERE.

#62 Otto Mathé Fetzenflieger driven by Oliver Schmidt
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #62 Otto Mathé Fetzenflieger driven by Oliver Schmidt

#62 Otto Mathé Fetzenflieger driven by Oliver Schmidt
Ice Races GP, Zell am See, 19-20 January 2019: #62 Otto Mathé Fetzenflieger driven by Oliver Schmidt

Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Zoltan Papp & CURVES magazine

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