Nicole Trivieri admits she felt some trepidation at first. Staring over the dash of the 2018 Porsche 911 Carrera was a familiar feeling—as the Marketing Managing at Porsche Centre Oakville, she’d been behind the wheel (and in every other seat) of many a 911—but never before in those exact conditions.
Over the course of three days, Nicole and the dozens of other guests who had flown in to nearby Montreal for this winter-only event put on by Porsche Canada, would hone their winter driving skills on the frozen grounds of the Mécaglisse ice course. Camp4 invites Porsche enthusiasts to “redefine winter driving” in the latest Porsche models, providing professional instruction and guidance through multiple courses and circuits at the winterized motorsport park.
“I was super nervous at first, especially being a Porsche employee and knowing all the drivers and everything,” says Nicole. “I felt like the pressure was on.”
But before she would return to Toronto, Nicole would manage to completely replace that trepidation with confidence, even as traction was intentionally thrown out the window.
During the welcome dinner on the first night of the three-day event, Nicole met her “group,” which consisted of a professional head instructor, a junior instructor, a hostess and a handful of drivers from across Canada and the US. The next day at the track, she found herself belted into the driver’s seat, first in line behind the instructor on the very first drill. This is that moment of trepidation we mentioned. But once the tires started turning, it all fell away.
“Once you go out onto the course on your own, the instructors are standing outside of a car and aren’t necessarily close at the time, but they know how to correct you,” she says. “You could be 100 yards away and they’d be telling you to look up at just the right time. Their corrections are spot on.”
Over the two full days of driving, guests would try their hands at braking and steering drills, navigating a slalom course, drifting on a skid pad, executing the Scandinavian Flick, and more.
Soon, with the help of the instructors, Nicole and the other guests were making progress, graduating on each course from driving the vehicles with traction control on, to no traction control, and then with Sport Mode activated. Vehicles, meanwhile, were kept in second gear exclusively.
During the drifting exercises, Nicole learned something about herself: turns out, she has a thing for getting sideways in a 911. “I loved the drifting circle,” she says. “And I wasn’t bad (laughs).”
Here’s a look at a past year’s drifting experience.
Both the cars and the guests required refueling after the challenging driving. The Esterel Resort provided the perfect home base for guests to relax and recharge, with well-appointed rooms and excellent dining options, including ROK, a hot stone grill restaurant where guests cook their own steak or fish on sizzling hot stones, which the group experienced after the first day of events.
The driving portion of the Camp4 experience culminated with a ‘hot lap’ on the cold track, where guests were invited to ride shotgun as one of the group instructors drove the Mécaglisse course at full speed. Riding in the passenger seat also provided a thrill for Nicole.
“When you ride with the pros, you’re basically sideways for an entire minute, the whole way switching directions,” she says. “It’s unbelievable.”
Overall, Nicole says she left the course with an increased appreciation for the 911’s winter capabilities.
“It’s so cool to be able to test the limits of these vehicles on ice,” she says. “Most people park their Porsche in the winter, but now I actually feel more comfortable to be in a sports car than an SUV.”
Porsche Canada offers three ascending levels of the Camp 4 experience: Camp4, Camp 4S and Ice-Force. With one under her belt, if Nicole doesn’t make it back to Camp 4S next year, it definitely won’t be for lack of confidence.
Date Posted: March 15, 2018