• Feb 25, 2011
Mazda MX-5 ice racing – Click above to watch video after the jump

Bentley isn't the only company that's been busy on the ice lately. Mazda just wrapped up a four-hour race in Åre, Sweden, that brought 20 MX-5 roadsters out on the open ice for a little fender-to-fender action.

Teams faced temperatures that dipped as low as -24 degrees Fahrenheit and stiff competition from racers from around the world. Spiked tires were standard equipment for all of the vehicles, though it's worth noting that the talent behind the wheel wasn't professional by any stretch of the imagination. Mazda invited fans and automotive journalists from a total of 26 countries to participate in the event.

While early on it looked as if a team from Australia would take home the checkered flag, a late-race spin allowed a Russian team to pull ahead and complete the most laps around the three-mile circuit within the four-hour time frame. Hit the jump to check out video from the event as well as the full press blast.

[Source: Mazda]

Show full PR text
Mazda MX-5 on Ice

4 hour race for journalists, TV fans and readers

20 modified racing MX-5s set to start

Extensive programme with training sessions, qualifying and the race

Åre, Sweden, 21 February 2011. Mazda opens the 2011 motorsport season on Swedish ice. After the successful MX-5 Open Race last year, Mazda is inviting racing enthusiasts to Sweden for the MX-5 Ice Race from 21 to 24 February 2011. A total of 20 modified MX-5s, tuned for driving on ice and wearing spike tyres, will participate in the four-hour race on the ca. 5 km grid.

The MX-5s will be piloted by teams from 26 participating nations, among them motor journalists with racing experience, and TV fans and readers who won tickets to the event in special contests. The four-day event in Åre, Sweden will include two extensive training sessions, a qualifying session to determine pole and starting positions, along with the race itself which is divided into two sessions. When the snow settles, the team that drives the most laps during the four hour race will win.

Mazda MX-5 Ice Race provides exciting Finish

Lake Kallsjön, Sweden, 24 February 2011. Mazda's MX-5 roadster proved again yesterday its pure sports cars genes, this time on ice in Sweden at the Mazda Ice Race 2011. Clear blue skies and polar temperatures provided the right conditions for an exhilarating festival of drift and control as drivers from 26 nations competed in specially modified roadsters for a podium finish.

Day 1 – the Aussie's make it look easy
After Tuesday's practice sessions and qualifying, a clear favourite emerged with the Australian team, which dominated Day 1 and took pole position. They also won the hearts of everyone by wearing swimming trucks over their racing overalls – in honour of summer down under – and driving with a tiny kangaroo mascot fastened to the top of their car's safety cage. They made it look easy on Day 1 with their only real challenge coming from the Russian team, which took second on the grid.

Day 2 – Russian Heroics and Belgium Consistency
Race day featured beautiful blue skies, glistening snow and a morning temperature
of -31º C. This ensured ideal conditions on the ice of Lake Kallsjön, which is located in the Östersund region of west-central Sweden. The race itself was conducted in two sessions, each two hours long, with the car completing the most laps the winner. Like last year's MX-5 Open Race in Italy, it was drifting control and not pure speed that proved the decisive factor in the race. The Australians continued to dominate as they had on Day 1 and led for nearly the entire race. But then a small mistake, a spin-out, and Russia overtook them at the end, holding on for the chequered flag; with Australia second.

Russia's win followed some amazing heroics from the team. They began the race in second place but spun-out early, fell back to 14th, only to battle their way back to second by the end of the first session. They then patiently held this spot, hoping for a miracle, and were able to capitalise on Australia's misfortune at the end of the final session for a truly exciting win. The Belgium team displayed the consistently good driving you would expect from last year's MX-5 Open Race winners, coming from far back in the pack to take third. The unforgettable day out on the ice culminated with a Champagne spray on the podium from the three winning teams.

The Mazda Ice Race 2011 was crowned later that evening at a gala dinner and show for pilots, teams and invited guests who had won a Mazda competition in their home countries for a place at the event. Jeff Guyton, Mazda Motor Europe's President and CEO, gave a short speech and presented trophies to the tired but happy winners. This was followed by dinner and a celebration of MX-5 Ice Race memories lasting late into the night.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Interesting to see the drivetrain specs. Heard of some Miatas turned AWD with the use of additional torsens, for the ultimate ice racing experience. These cars seem to spin out rather like RWD but still interesting to see the drivetrain setup. The press sheet only says they cars were 'tuned'...
      • 3 Years Ago
      What kind of tires and wheels are those (brands, models, etc)?? I want the same winter setup for my mx-5 :D
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Miata certainly looks like its having fun.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thanks for add me as a member
      • 3 Years Ago
      That was either the best or worst teaser video ever...either way, I want to see more :-P
      • 3 Years Ago
      I drove my MX5 home after 3 inches of snow fell over icy rain, and the entire drive looked like a slow-mo version of this.

      I suddenly have an urge to buy ice tires and narrow wheels to get back out there!
      • 3 Years Ago
      CNY ice racing club has a few members running the Miata for years now. I think FWD still rules when it coma to who's the most competitive / fastest.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Stupid Autoblog comment system making my post disappear! I digress....

      Looks insanely fun (aside from the whole frigid temperatures, no-roof thing). I'm admittedly not all that familiar with the particulars of ice racing. Is it standard procedure for the vehicles to be fitted with such narrow tires?
      • 3 Years Ago
      That engine sound brings it all back. God I miss my Miata! Can anyone remember why I did that whole procreation thing?
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'll never sell my True Red '90. NEVER.

        It is mint, and I'm keeping it that way. Still far under 100,000 miles.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Miata /MX-5 , a performer on the ice as well as off , doesn't surprise me .
      Nimble lightweight cars with narrow tires work well in snowy ice whether fwd or rwd
      it seems .
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hadn't noticed I was being filmed during my winter commuting.

      • 3 Years Ago
      This video makes me want to move north.... far north.
    • Load More Comments