When the offer for participating in the snow driving course in Austrian Alps came, we couldn’t refuse. There are not many similar opportunities in our country, actually we don’t know about any regular. Not much snow and short winter. Conditions in Austria are still much favorable. And where else you can try car behavior on top of the limit (even over) in relatively safe enviroment and brain acceptable speed then on the snow?
Modern cars with stronger engine and wider tires can get on their limit in very naughty speed. It’s fine on racing circuit, but you can barely reach limit on normal road, at least on dry road. And then sport car driver doesn’t have the right habits when the situation is getting tense in bad weather.
(pic.2: Manual transmission, rear wheel drive and a lot of snow. What else do you need for neverending fun in car?)
Because our grey Carrera 2 with manual and rear wheel drive is more like summer toy, we quickly had to find some winter wheel set. Succeeded and getting on our way to St. Michael am Lungau. Weather was nice and sunny, so roads were pretty dry. Temperature is still under zero tho. Luckily modern 911 997 is heating well.
Meanwhile you can barely see a snow in Czechia, Austria can offer more then enough in higher altitude. We won’t drift today yet but gonna save it for tomorrow morning. So far we persuaded ourselfs how comfortable GT, actually 911 997 is. Journey was calm and surprisingly we put our fuel consumption on not even ten litres thanks to cruise control. Not that it matters but at least this Carrera has an acceptable range.
Following day when temperature shows -14°C, we refill our fuel tank and going on the training circuit. We are surprised how few rear wheels with manual there are. Most of the participants took course with diesel, four-wheel drive automatic SUVs. Although ice track covered with fresh snow is calling for drifting – drive with controlled power slides , we mainly want to get to know our 911. It’s still the car with very specific conception, which is very different from classical BMWs which we are used to.
Last session and we are going to drive. We left our stabilised system on yet, to check the circuit. We know from the very beginning that lighter front of 911 needs proper weight move (3) on front wheels. But thanks God for this mechanical driving of this 911 generation, which still sends that important information about rest of front wheels adherence. We don’t have to be affraid about rear traction. Our 911 doesn’t have any problem with acceleration thanks to engine in the back part of the car. This basic Carrera 2 doesn’t have LSD (limited slip differential), which as we found is not problem though.
(pic.3: We don’t need LSD, thanks to plenty of traction. Although it would certainly be a little bit better with it.)
After few rounds we’re turning off stabilisation and traction control. In difference to classical conception with engine in front, heavier rear part needs more aggressive gas pedal work to get the wheels going. Suddenly we have much more work than with classic BMW. There you just need to take off from gas and car will straighten up. With 911 tho, weight will move to the front and rear part has leaning to move on the other side.
In a moment we are getting to the tempo and moving 911 from side to side in long drifts stops being survival fight and becoming a real fun. Everything is happening in nice low speeds, that even if we fail in some of our tries, we just gonna slowly slide into snowdrift.
We can’t say that our grey 911 Carrera 2 with manual shift was easy car to drive. It still needs respect and it won’t forgive you as much as some modern cars which still has its electronic helpers in the background even though they seems completely off. Its communicative driving and immediate reactions push the driving experience on another level. Once you tame this beast and it starts listen to you, your whole body is gonna get satisfying goose bumps.
This is also safer and nicer way to learn how to drive Porsche 911 on the limit of traction (and a bit over), then somewhere in the rain on the road lined with trees. Mainly, habits from these snow driving courses can be applied anywhere and anytime. If its trip to mountains, racing course or roundabout by the shopping centre. This training can help driver to automatize these reactions as well as all other actions in car. He won’t think about it and will not stop before every turn in the rain to google “How to drift Porsche 911”.
I think that everyone who decide to purchase sport car (and not just that one) should take part in this type of course. He is gonna be prepared for critical situation much better and mainly he’s gonna know what his car is gonna do and how to react on it. He will learn how to work with going too fast into a turn, will manage to control gas pedal when leaving a turn and last but not least will know what to do if his car’s gonna skid. So he’s gonna be step closer of becoming super driver.