Alain Prost goes ice racing

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Alain Prost, Toyota, Andros Trophy, 2008I’ve always thought it strange that most motor racing stops during the winter – precisely when driving conditions are at their most challenging.

There’s precious little motor racing action aside from A1 Grand Prix at this time of year. But happily the French ice racing championship Andros Trophy is underway – and four times F1 World Champion Alain Prost is back for another go.

Prost races for the Toyota team alongside former Toyota F1 driver Olivier Panis. Unlike their F1 counterparts, the Toyota ice racing team are highly competitive and Prost won the title for the team last year.

In September Prost has surgery on his left foot, the legacy of the injury he incurred when he crashed out of the lead at Monte-Carlo in 1982. That was three years before his first title.

Alain Prost, Olivier Panis, Toyota, Andros Trophy, 2008Twenty-six years later he’s defending his ice racing crown and after the first three round he lies second on 448 points. Franck Lagorce leads with 450 – the Frenchman started two races for Ligier in 1994. Also in the field this year is Margueritte Laffite, daughter of F1 driver Jacques.

Jacques Laffite is among the other past French F1 drivers to have competed in the Andros Trophy. Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Jean-Louis Schlesser and Patrick Tambay have also participated.

Of today’s racers I’d particularly like to see the oversteer-happy Lewis Hamilton give it a try. Also Heikki Kovalainen, who proved a dab hand in rally cars when he beat multiple World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb in the Race of Champions in 2004, and Kimi Raikkonen. They’re both Finns, they know snow, surely they’d be front runners.

Sadly we seldom see top F1 drivers racing in other major competitions. The one-off Race of Champions attracts a decent crowd, but I’d love to see more F1 drivers in another French race – the Le Mans 24 Hours – as they did in the sixties and seventies.

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