Ford Focus Forum banner

Ice racing help/info?

503 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  autoXchick
I'm going to be sharing the driving duties in this Ford Fiesta ice racer this coming winter in a rubber-to-ice class:

I'm really looking forward to it, but am having a hard time finding out any info on driving skills needed and car prep. If I want info on autocross techniques, there are probably 20 or 30 webpages and a number of books on the subject. I haven't found anything on ice racing aside from pictures, race dates, and rules for various regions. Not a peep about technique or car setup.

Focaljet has always had tons of good info on trailbraking, left-foot braking, car set-up, etc. so I'm hoping someone out there has some experience with ice racing and can share their knowledge. Anything will help!

From what I've been able to gather so far from local racers: (some of the advice seems a little funny)
-The car will perpetually understeer. (Can't we tune this out a bit with tires/swaybars?)
-Basically stop the car and merely survive through the corner, then power down the next straight. (This goes against every other form of racing!)
-You do a lot of Scandinavian flick-ing to get the car to turn into the corner. (Makes sense for an understeering car!)
-Left foot braking rules all. (I'm working on growing that third leg!)

I tested a Honda CVCC with massively studded tires last year. The car was basically in controlled oversteer at all times, even on the straights. (the front tires have more studs than the rear) Left-foot braking was used more than the steering wheel to control the turn. The grip level of the studs on ice just kept getting higher and higher the more you tossed the car sideways into the turn. All that stuff probably goes out the window without studs!

Thanks for any help or tips you can offer!
See less See more
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Ok, I did some "ice Solo 1" in Ottawa... it was like... a track plowed into an unused parking lot, no cones, so it wasn't autocross, but it wasn't fast enough to be Solo 1, but close.

I did it 3 years, came in second FWD Race class in my 2nd year, and outright won in my third year, FWD Street. (fastest times OVERALL, not just in class, or points)

All 3 years, I was using Blizzaks, nothing else could compete. Well, the Toyo Observes, and Alpins (not the Arctic Alpins) were close, but all top cars were on Blizzaks.

The first two years I was in a borrowed 85ish Civic hatchback. Slightly gutted, with Blizzaks of course. It was a race only car, just parked and left there. Some ice racing people say the best thing is fresh Blizzaks that have NEVER seen pavement. They say they get "dulled" on pavement. I was using the car with like, 3-4 other guys. The first year I was mid pack, 2nd year I was beating the others. The car was very light, probably 2000-2200lbs.

3rd year, I was in my VW Fox. Probably 2300lbs, 70/30 weight distribution due to the Audi longitudinal FWD powertrain (the engine was cantilevered out over the front axle a good ways).

I had Blizzaks on it again, but these were driven regularly on pavement. I couldn't tell any difference.

On some events with the Fox, I beat AWD cars with snow tires. I attribute a lot of it's success with the 70/30 weight distribution.


Well, lightness is absolutely the most important thing. No question. It's more important on ice than it is on a racetrack.

In our case, it was a semi-permanent course, with banks that changed hardness with the weather. It was partially snow, partially ice, and partially gravel in bare spots. Speed was mostly dependent on "looking for traction". If there was gravel, you'd do whatever it took to get on it. Barring that, you'd try to find snow. If you were stuck with ice, and you don't mind the cosmetics of your car... use the banks. Sometimes you'd hook an inside tire on the inside bank. Sometimes you'd ride the outside bank around like a Nascar. Sometimes you'd just bounce off.

The big risk was, the bank would "suck" you in, and you'd be screwed. We had a rule, if you needed help getting extricated, you were disqualified. It just took too much time.

But you had to figure if the line was faster.... like, if the outside snowbank line was a long way around, it could actually be slower. So you'd maybe stay on track, but try to take the corner so you weren't trying to turn on ice.

Sometimes there was no choice. There was one offcamber, glare ice corner, with unusable banks. It was basically "do whatever you can" to get around. It was basically a "walking pace" corner. Extremely slow.

Err... Just some random thoughts.
See less See more
check with bluebyutoo. I'm pretty sure he did it last winter in the Focus.
Cool, thanks for the tips guys! My next thought for driving tips is Rally websites. Those guys have to drive on ice and snow. Still on the quest for more info!

The Fiesta is pretty light. There isn't much left to remove. I think it's around 1500 or 1600 lbs. The fastest car out there (a 3-cyl. Sprint) has had extensive plasma cutting done to it and is not too far above 1000 lbs! Without the roll cage it would literally fall to pieces.

The rules for this year are going through a revision. It looks like we're going to have a spec tire and an engine size limit, and that's about it. If that's the case, we'll be spending a lot of time to cut any weight we can, especially in the rear end.
i went to some ice trials this past winter with my local club (most of whom are SCCA Club/ProRally participants and members/affiliates of the Michigan Ice Racing Association). i learned a whole lot about what it takes to be fast. most of it you have down, and that's LFB in a FF car and modulating the throttle. spinning tires do nothing to keep you going forward. the other thing that the experienced/winning guys did was made sure they slowed down enough after a long straight. going fromo 80mph on a sheet of ice to negotiate a hairpin takes a bit.

also, use the snowbanks if there are any.
Check out One of the veteran guys that is heavily involved is Rex Franklin. I met him thru autoxing and I'm sure he could provide some more info.
Go here and click on 2004 rules. Its also on the Focus Motorsports website.

If your in Canada this club is really close to you then. Its a Northern NE association.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.