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Winter Auto Racing: Ice Racing

DRIVING IN THE SNOW. Winter car tracks on snowy beach. Driving a race car on a snowy road. Track Winter car racing with sun reflection. Race on the track in the winter.

By Lori Straus

Ice racing is exactly what it says: car racing on a track of ice. The Ontario finals take place every year starting in January in Minden, Ontario. Approximately 100 racers come out each weekend for a six-weekend stretch and compete in several classes. The CASC makes it easy for anyone interested in ice racing to get involved, and entry costs into the sport are low. In this blog post, you’ll get an overview of ice racing.

Why Almost Anyone Can Do Ice Racing

Auto racing automatically conjures up images of loud cars being driven around a circuit at high speeds by drivers who race for a living. It’s far too expensive (and dangerous) for most people to enter. As a spectator, you either love the thrill of auto racing or hate its noise and repetitiveness.

But ice racing is different. Powerful motors have no place in it, because you risk spinning your tires. Best case scenario? You go nowhere. Worst case scenario? You lose control. That means that stock motors are the norm.

In addition, ice racing in Ontario takes place over six weekends, you don’t need a pit crew, and you can store your vehicle near the track.

The Low Cost of Ice Racing

Entering ice racing is inexpensive as far as racing goes: often only about $2,000-$3,000 per season. That includes the cost of the vehicle. Cars are typically old and can be purchased for $500, although some ice racers might spend a few thousand dollars on their car.

Cars require only a few modifications. For example, you need to remove the taillights and headlights plus any plastic trim or anything else that can break in an accident. Your car must be mechanically sound, e.g., the brakes must work and the vehicle able to start in cold weather. The Deutscher Automobil Club explains in more detail what’s needed.

You will also need to pay for your licence, an approved helmet, and racing fees. However, these expenses are minimal and are included in that $2,000-$3,000 estimate.

Experience and Age Are Almost Irrelevant

Proponents of ice racing say that it’s perhaps the friendliest of all the motor sports out there. Every weekend in Minden, newbies can participate in a workshop led by more experienced drivers. They’re even encouraged to have an experienced driver ride shotgun in their first races.

They also extol the agelessness of the sport: the only requirement to race is that you have a valid driver’s licence. In other words, you can be 16 or over 80 and still take part.

Your Next Steps to Entering an Ice Race

If ice racing sounds enticing, visit the CASC’s website. It lists all the regulations and explains where you can register and learn more.

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