Lapland Ice Driving has this week stepped up preparations for the 2014 season by launching circuit construction at its 1,200-acre site near Arjeplog in Sweden.Located just 80km from the Arctic Circle, Lapland Ice Driving represents the premier facility of its kind thanks to a 31-strong fleet of supercars and exact recreations of the iconic Silverstone and Paul Ricard grand prix circuits.
The choice of vehicles available to test on the ice is unrivalled, with specially modified examples of the Porsche 991 GT3, Lancia Delta Intégrale and Corvette Z06 representing just a taster of those on offer.
And, with winter fast approaching and the ice having reached the necessary 12cm thickness, a dozen-strong team is now working to transform the frozen Lake Hornavan into a world-class performance driving facility. Snowmobiles are able to venture out and begin the initial phase of construction, and as temperatures drop further the equipment used will increase significantly in size, with a 20-tonne snow-grader called into service when the ice has reached 60cm.
The build is scheduled to last six to nine weeks, concluding shortly before Christmas depending on temperature and snowfall. Arjeplog is currently experiencing conditions between 0 °C and -10 °C, though by mid-winter the mercury will dip as low as -50 °C.
Leading ice track specialists CARTEST AB have again been called upon for the build of grand prix circuits Silverstone and Paul Ricard, which is made possible through the use of GPS tracking systems.
The layout is initially traced by ploughing the deep powder snow that covers the ice. This is then removed using powerful blowers before the tracks are lined on each side with a bed of soft fresh snow, which will stop cars gently if they leave the track. Finally, the snow grader 'claws' the ground to create a smooth surface that provides maximum grip.
Lapland Ice Driving will begin its 2014 season when the first car tests the freshly completed circuits on 10 January, and will run until late March. The ice is expected to remain usable until at least April, while the lake is likely to have fully melted by 20 May.