Follow in the tyre grooves of prost and muller… for a price
The Andros Trophy may be familiar to many, but this French national ice racing series doesn’t always get a lot of coverage. It’s been going for nigh-on 20 years now – Alain Prost has won it twice and Yvan Muller a staggering 10 times.
The series features seven ice circuits such as Val Thorens and Lans en Vercors, and several classes in the shape of the original Elite, Promotion (for drivers who haven’t finished in the top 20 before), bikes and Trophée Andros Féminin.
These may be small circuits, but such is the popularity of the racing that the 1999 Superfinal at the Stade de France attracted over 50,000 people. Compare that to the Race of Champions and its relatively sparse crowds, and you get an idea of how much fun this is to watch.
So what happens to these circuits the rest of the year? Well, Val Thorens is there for all to enjoy, with resident instructor Lionel Régal taking paying guests round the track in either a Clio RS, Mitsubishi Evo 6 (above) or a buggy, all with studded tyres.
But before you get too excited, it’s worth checking the price list. Fifteen minutes in the Clio will set you back 120 euros, and an hour in the Evo 6? A staggering 650 euros. When I asked Lionel whether people actually paid that, he looked as if I’d kicked him somewhere personal. “Of course, we have people here every day,” he said.
If the circuit wasn’t in a ski resort and close to Courcheval 1850 – a home from home for affluent Russians – I don’t think there’d be customers queuing at the door. But, as it is, I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised…