GIMLI, Man. – I spent two days at the end of last week enrolled in the AMG Winter Sporting Academy, where I learned how to drive powerful Mercedes-AMG cars on a very frozen Lake Winnipeg.
It was a unique opportunity, to say the least, and one that I found to be both exciting and somewhat intimidating.
I’d never driven on a frozen lake before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Danny Kok, the lead instructor, told our group at the outset that what many of us had learned during our accumulated track days could be, effectively, tossed out the window when it comes to driving on ice, and boy was he right.
Learning how to be a competent driver on ice is a counterintuitive experience, because being able to execute controlled drift maneuvers through corners is a part of the deal. You drift a car repeatedly through corners on a road course and you’ll quickly become a spectator.
Being able to do use a car’s weight, balance and power to effectively navigate a tricky ice course is both fun and quite satisfying. There is much to be learned about car control in this environment and those lessons can be applied to driving on pavement.
Suffice it to say, it was a fun and challenging experience and one that I look forward to relating in greater detail in the coming days.
But, before doing so I will be embarking on yet another winter event – to the Mecaglisse Circuit north of Montreal for some fun in the snow with the Ford F-150 Raptor and Focus RS – so a full report on my experience in Manitoba will have to wait.
In the meantime, here are a few photos from the event.
Photography by Lee Bailie