Dancing on ice through an Arctic night
The Taycan at the Porsche Ice Experience
Drifting snow and a drifting Porsche Taycan, lit by LED light on an Arctic night. What more could you ask for? How about a three-times Le Mans winner to pilot it?
Drifting in a winter wonderlandThey are actually only frozen drops of water. Countless ice crystals that together form a thick blanket of snow. Yet they have an almost magical effect on us. Winter charm in Lapland. Close to Finland’s largest and best-known winter sports destination of Levi, the hearts of Porsche fans will be warmed even in temperatures of that dip to -20°C. Here, 135 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, a frozen and perfectly groomed marshland invites drivers to redefine their driving limits. Spread across an area of 280 hectares featuring 16 handling circuits, seven paddocks, six double circuits, six figure of eights and three flick squares.
A thick blanket of snow
A thick blanket of snow
I couldn’t wish for a better present
Richard Lietz | Porsche racing driver
On a picture-perfect December night in the Arctic, two drift experts line up at the start – the new Porsche Taycan and Richard Lietz. The successful Porsche factory driver insisted on coming here specially from far away Bahrain – immediately after the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) race in the Middle East. On his 36th birthday, no less. "I couldn’t wish for a better present," Richard says, glowing with joy.Even a professional like Richard is excited by his first encounter with the Taycan. The experienced endurance driver has been part of the inner circle of Porsche factory drivers since 2007. Shortly before his selection, he left a lasting impression with the Porsche engineers. Never before had anybody driven the 996 GT3 so much to its limit on a test drive. "That must be why Porsche wanted to hire me so much", says Richard, laughing. This GT3 still holds a special importance for him – and is soon set to be part of his own personal collection. So, he certainly won’t be slowing down in the Taycan either. Especially since Richard represents Porsche each year in the legendary highlight of the racing season, Le Mans. Together with his team, he has already lifted the huge GTE Pro Class trophy three times.
He grew up surrounded by motorsports, as his father had his own rally team. At the tender age of ten, he claimed victory in his very first ice race. To this day, this challenging means of pushing a vehicle to its limit remains the perfect preparation for the next season for Richard – including on his first drive behind the heated wheel of the Taycan.
Richard Lietz - the successful Porsche factory driver
Richard Lietz has been a Porsche factory driver since 2007
A stadium of light and a dark, Arctic nightAfter a short wait in the cosy Porsche Lodge at the course, it’s finally time: the future has arrived. It almost looks as though the fir trees are bowing down before the Taycan under the heavy snowfall on their branches. But the Finnish winter wonderland takes a back seat now. The exposed wings, the distinctive 911 flyline and the striking tail of the Taycan with a continuous LED light strip are what capture the eye.We climb inside and set off on the Porsche Light Drift – an out-of-this-world sight in the middle of the snowy Arctic night. With the illuminated LED columns, it’s like a modern Stonehenge. A sacred place for Porsche fans. The cathedral of drifting. The spikes on the tyres make millimetre-cuts into the ice. The game with the wintry elements has begun. Richard makes a brave turn, using the accelerator to guide the Taycan around the illuminated curve in an energetic, but controlled, drift. Those who are fortunate enough to experience the precise handling and the amazing torque from the very first metre, alongside a three-time Le Mans champion, will immediately see what the Taycan is capable of. And how quickly their heart rate can go through the roof.
Drifting in the Arctic night
Round trip: drifting on ice in the Arctic night
I could do this all day long
Richard Lietz | Porsche racing driver
"The drift angles are extreme with the all-wheel drive. When a rear-wheel drive is just about to begin a turn, you can build up even more lateral acceleration and drift angle with the Taycan – and absorb the drift every single time," Richard explains with a broad grin, making the tail dance even more in the vast, swirling cloud of snow. "I could do this all day long," he exclaims.And who could fail to agree in the eye of this blizzard? Despite his excitement, Richard exudes the same confident demeanour as the Taycan. Particularly on one of the forest tracks, a winding path through snow-white woods. Every steering motion is just right. Not a millimetre too much. Nuance is key. Even if the author has the heart-stopping feeling that the beautiful front of the car may graze the inside wall of snow at any moment. The Taycan makes full use of its power on the icy surface, enabling unparalleled lateral acceleration. The performance battery installed in a deep position also ensures a very low centre of gravity, thus enabling increased driving dynamics. Recuperation also does not slow down the driving enjoyment in anyway. Even Richard is completely unaware of it. Reaching speeds of up to 120km/h, we sprint practically silently along to the next icy bend on the densely forested course – precisely on the racing line, zipping past the walls of snow with centimetre precision.
Taycan 4S electricity consumption combined (NEDC): 27,0 - 26,2 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined (NEDC)*: 0g/km (as of 01/10/2020)
It might be -20°C here in Finnish Lapland, but the Taycan 4S warms the heart
Back at the lodge, it comes as no surprise to anyone that Richard wants to take part in as many Porsche Ice Experiences as he can with the new Porsche Taycan. Whenever the packed race calendar allows, he will pass on his knowledge to the participants. After the end of the Arctic night, the sun appears over the horizon once again – even it doesn’t want to miss the show at the Porsche Driving Area Levi. Richard is in no doubt as to what the guests like most about Porsche: ‘Incredible acceleration and an exceptionally linear all-wheel drive system that makes drifting easy for the driver.’ It is just a matter of time before the Taycan takes its place beside the 996 GT3 in his garage.
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