THERE is good reason why the Scandinavian countries produce the best rally drivers – and it’s heaven sent.
Snow. Snow and its compacted form, ice.
Jaguar Land Rover lets the likes of you and me – for around £3,500 – experience driving in extreme conditions for a few days[/caption]
If you can handle a car with precision on snow and ice, you can handle a car in any conditions.
It’s been cold and snowy in the UK this week apparently. I wouldn’t know, I’ve been in a place called Arjeplog near the Arctic Circle, at the top of Sweden. The warmest it got was -21C. Only a handful of the day’s 24 hours are blessed with sunlight.
But boy can the locals handle a car. Even Mrs Miggins on her way to the corner shop for some pickled herring can lay down a sideways drift better than Ken Block.
In the UK we panic. Accidents spike. People get hurt. It’s because we don’t master the art of driving with no traction, but we have enough bad weather that we should take it seriously.
The Jaguar Ice Academy allows you to safely learn how a car behaves in dangerous situations[/caption]
The town of Arjeplog clusters around the banks of a vast lake, which in winter surrenders itself to 24 inches of ice. An impenetrable, unbreakable crust.
Perfect for driving on, realised the global car industry. Before they arrive at market, cars need to be pushed to the limit, testing how safety systems behave when the ground beneath the wheels is, quite literally, an ice rink.
Get it right in Arjeplog and the car’s right for anywhere.
Jaguar Land Rover lets the likes of you and me – for around £3,500 – experience driving in these extreme conditions for a few days. There’s nothing to hit on the 110 square miles of frozen water.
It’s been cold and snowy in the UK this week apparently – the warmest it got here was -21C[/caption]
The Jaguar Ice Academy allows you to safely learn how a car behaves in lethal situations. When we skid on the roads we have a tendency to tense up or attempt correcting the slide with too many inputs which only serves to make the car even more skittish.
After a few days on the frozen lake the feeling of losing traction becomes normal, even fun, and that’s when you can learn to master a car which is on a bad path. Hand speed and throttle control is the key. Come off the gas, don’t jam the brakes. This will allow you to steer out of the skid. Anchoring up just renders the steering useless. This is another myth you hear in the pub – steer into the skid. Never, ever do this.
Take your pick from these as your partner on Sweden’s Arjeplog ‘ice rink’[/caption]
The car will only go in the direction the wheels are pointed. Once the grip bites again, as the car slows, the car will move you away from the collision.
Right, that’s the serious bit done. The Ice Academy is possibly the most fun money can buy. You’ll start by learning the basics of drifting on something bigger and slower, like an F Pace, before moving through Jag’s delicious line-up of cars.
You’ll graduate to the V6 F-Type – a rear-wheel drive loony which requires the most delicate of touches. Then you can hurtle along the handling circuits in a 575bhp F-Type SVR, helped in and out of your drifts by the torque vectoring system and all-wheel drive.
Drifting is deliberately breaking traction in a car and controlling its slide.
Book up now and never again fear the UK’s slush[/caption]
MOST READ IN MOTORS
Once the car is sliding sideways you need to constantly shift from one side of lock to the other, keeping the wheels pointing in the right direction. Hand speed coupled with throttle control is the key to mastering a drift. By the end of three days in Arjeplog you’ll be mulling over thoughts of taking up rallying.
Even if you’re not, you’ll be a better driver. And in weather like we’re having, it could save your life – or at least, your insurance premium.
- Details at jaguar.com/experience-jaguar/ice-academy-sweden.