A legends returns!
Ice Race at Lake Zell
January 2019: We have been enjoying an extraordinary winter since the beginning of the new year. A January with so much snow like some people experienced in their childhood days. Winters like this led to the birth of a legend over 50 years ago. Many sports events, including the legendary Porsche Ice Race of Zell am See, were staged on the sheet of ice of the then reliably frozen Lake Zell in winter.
The ice of Lake Zell
At the beginning of the 20th century, winters were severe enough for the lake to freeze reliably. The sheet of ice was often thick enough to be used as venue of sports events like horse, dog, car and motorbike races. In February 1937, Lake Zell was even the opening venue of the 5th Academic World Winter Games. But the absolute highlights at Lake Zell were the ice races staged in remembrance of Prof. Dr. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
The first race of this legendary series took place in Zell am See on 10 February 1952. Back then, this event was organised and held by the Zell am See division of the SAMTC under the management of its chairman Sepp Moser. In the first year, a severe blizzard threatened the staging of the event, but the course was relocated to an 1,800 m-long alternative course in a last-minute decision. With this historic premier in February 1952, the story of the legendary races at Lake Zell began.
Premieres, records, tragedies
In the following years, the ice races became a fixed point in the winter event calendar of Zell am See and enjoyed an ever-increasing number of visitors. Spectators came from far and beyond to the frozen lake to watch the car, motorbike and skijoring pros, motivating them with their cheers. The current speed record on the ice of Lake Zell stands at 121.9 km/h and dates back to 1971. This record was set by Walter Wartbichler in front of approx. 5,000 spectators. Walter Wartbichler managed the by far fastest lap at Lake Zell on his ESA motorbike. This record entered the history books of the ice races at Lake Zell.
In some of the years, the harsh wintry elements made the staging of the race impossible. Like in 1958 as extensive snowfalls of over half a metre prevented the cars and motorbikes from starting. But the ice races were also sadly accompanied by tragedies; one marked the temporary end of the race series. In February 1974, the community worker Peter Hofer was just about to clear the ice from snow with his Unimog when the actually reliable sheet of ice broke and the vehicle disappeared in the icy water of Lake Zell.
2019 – the legend is back
And now, this year, the legendary ice races of Zell am See return to our lake. But only “at“, not on the lake. The freezing over of Lake Zell, thus the formation of a reliable sheet of ice, is too uncertain these days. For the GP ICE Race, taking place and premiering on 19 and 20 January 2019, the area of the old Zell Airfield turns into an ice rink and race track.
Motorsport fans from and around Zell am See will attend with delight when legendary race cars and historic motorbikes race across the ice course and compete for every second.
Buy your tickets now!
The new edition of the ice races is also inextricably linked to the name Porsche. After all, the ice races have been revived thanks to Ferdinand Porsche, the great-grandson of Prof. Dr. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche, and Vinzenz Greger.
The extensive snowfalls of recent days and weeks currently provide exactly the wintry appearance one would expect at an ice race. See you at the GP Ice Race in Zell am See-Kaprun this weekend!