Ice Driving in 911 Rally Cars – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS

Ice Driving in 911 Rally Cars – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS


CHRIS HARRIS: We don’t have
frozen lakes in the UK, but they do in Sweden, which is
why we went there to rag around in Rally 911s
for a day. Ice driving is the
most fun you can have in a car, honestly. And Below Zero is a company
that will show you why. It’s minus 17 degrees in Sweden,
but I still feel like a 16-year-old boy looking at the
top shelf of magazines in my local news agent. Look at this. Which one to choose? Little 2.2 down the end
there, narrow body. Look at these ones. They’re sort of SC,
so 250 horsepower. Wider body, [INAUDIBLE] RS style at the end there. I think Stig Blomqvist
has driven that one. And I know Waldegard
has driven that one and I like blue ones. So I’m gonna have a blue one. This is as good as it gets, a
vast expanse of ice with all manner of different tracks cut
into it and snow banks to bounce off when you inevitably
get it wrong, and as much time to perfect your car control
as you pay for. But before we go and hoon,
let’s have a peak at one of the cars. Now there are many ways to go
ice driving these days, but the best way to do it is
in a competition car. These 911s are nothing too
trick, 3.2 liter Carreras on carburetors that push around
250 horsepower with healthy gear boxes and LSDs. But they are perfect
for the ice. Tires are full spikes. We’ll discuss the different
types later. And you’ve got a full cage and a
proper seat and some harness belts, too. If it doesn’t sound too
spectacular on the voice over, the moment you give it
the berries, that 250 feels like about 500. Despite having ridiculous
amounts of fun, you have to stop at some point. And the only place to retire
after some ice skidding is a warm, wooden hut to inevitably
have a discussion about studded tires. Got a log fire. We’re in a lovely wood cabin. There’s no better place to
discuss studded tires. Now there are many different
types of studded tire, I know, but this is a sort of varied
selection of what you can get. Some of these are
quite normal. One of them is very trick. Richard, tell me what’s
trick please. RICHARD: This one here, which
actually looks, to the naked eye, the least impressive
tire. But in fact, the compound
of this rubber is very, very clever. It’s got a small button stud. It’s got a solid shoulder on
both sides, which means you can use it on tarmac,
ice, and snow. And it’s just got sipes
in the middle block. But it was designed for Monte
Carlo use where you’ve got a mixed tarmac stage. And what this tire does
defies belief. CHRIS HARRIS: There’s
some devilry going on here, isn’t there? Because it’s a bit warmer
in here now, so we’re well above freezing. It’s quite toasty. But when you’re outside and it’s
minus 20, you can touch the rubber on this, and it tacks
to your finger the way a track day tire tacks to your
finger in the late spring in the UK. So how on earth they make that
work in these temperatures, I mean there must be stuff in
there that’s going to turn your insides out, isn’t it? RICHARD: Yeah. I’m actually– I can’t buy anymore. We have a set amount. And I inquired a couple weeks
ago, but actually by current standards, you can’t make
this stuff anymore. It’s far too bad for
everybody involved. CHRIS HARRIS: That’s a
Pirelli, isn’t it? RICHARD: Yeah, it
was a Pirelli. CHRIS HARRIS: So this was
a WRC tire for Monte? RICHARD: Yup. That’s where they
used it most. I think it is called,
yes, a WM. But it’s all about compound
because the stud is tiny by comparison to these ones. So it’s just an extraordinary
thing. CHRIS HARRIS: Right. Let’s move to this one here. This is a DMACK, which sounds
like a rappist to me. RICHARD: Uh. He’s not. Originates from Carlisle. Good guy. And it’s a new manufacturer’s
WRC two or three years ago. And actually, this is not a
reflection of a modern WRC tire in its entirety. The big difference between this
one and what we’re about to move on is the width,
ie the footprint. And also we have had these
specially specced for our lake, because for our driving
experience, we don’t want every single bit of
grip available. So there’s not very many studs,
they’re not very long, and it’s quite wide. CHRIS HARRIS: And the block
looks as if it’s styled like this for a reason. So someone’s worked out that
there’s a V section here, then you’ve got a sort of a
longitudinal block here and one that’s offset here. Do you reckon that’s CAD
modeled, or is that just someone’s worked out that that
works out quite well? RICHARD: That question probably
take a video in itself to answer, and
there’s a massive science behind tires. You have an ice tire, a snow
tie, a snow and ice tire. Different length studs,
different material of stud, different number of studs,
it’s a massive question. CHRIS HARRIS: What are these? Are these steel? RICHARD: Titanium. CHRIS HARRIS: Titanium? RICHARD: I believe so. I stand corrected if that’s
wrong, but they certainly used to be. CHRIS HARRIS: Titanium? RICHARD: It’s [INAUDIBLE]. CHRIS HARRIS: How much
for one of those? RICHARD: Real money,
I imagine. Yeah, 300 euros or something. CHRIS HARRIS: OK, this is the
one that excites me because this is the one that makes rally
cars look so special when you see them ready
for Rally Sweden. RICHARD: Correct. Bolt that on, and
life changes. So what we’ve got here is
three stages of grip. And this tire is much,
much more aggressive. The principal reason is
the number of studs. And if you just look at the
difference, it’s huge. And the more studs you’ve got,
the more penetration you’ve got down into the ice, and
more traction you’ve got. CHRIS HARRIS: These are longer
as well, aren’t they? RICHARD: Yeah, they look
a little longer. CHRIS HARRIS: These have
been shaved down at all or there about? RICHARD: I suspect that’s
due to wear and tear. CHRIS HARRIS: And this
is a Michelin? RICHARD: Yes. CHRIS HARRIS: Is this, again,
straight off of a rally car? RICHARD: Yeah, it’ll be
the next WRC tire. But it’s a different
section of tire. And I’m sure now they have
to use this wide one. In fact, if they’re trying
to take grip– CHRIS HARRIS: Out of the cars. RICHARD: –out of the cars. The cars are so quick. CHRIS HARRIS: Which is
strange isn’t it? So on ice, you actually make the
tire wider to give it less grip because it can’t just
dig down into the ice. RICHARD: Exactly. As ever, you become very, very
comfortable one tire, and you put another one on, and you have
to readdress your whole driving style. But with this tire, you can take
liberties that you simply wouldn’t believe. And that’s the reason they’ve
taken the grip out, that they’ve gone back to this
wider tire for WRC. CHRIS HARRIS: Of course there’s
much more to do here than just practice the
perfect transition. This is the perfect place for
the family man to get away with legitimate leisure
oversteer. The wife and kids can do a
Ski-Doo safari, take a sauna, and go skiing while you
hone those skills. Why is it, if I was allowed one
last drive, one last tank of petrol, the bucket list
question that all motorists ask themselves, I’d come here
and I’d drive on a lake? RICHARD: A couple of reasons. Reason one, look where
you’re standing. That’s the biggest reason. It’s a very, very
special place. Just to spend a day here without
a car is a privilege. Reason two, of course, is you’ve
experienced today. The driving that you can do on
a lake, the freedom it gives you, the opportunity to
push a car to limit is like no other place. CHRIS HARRIS: It is definitely
the desert island driving exercise. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I go on about the Nurburgring
and Spa and other things you can do in cars, but truly if
you do one thing, go and do some ice driving. It’s mega.