By on January 31, 2016

The year was 1984. Rally was all the rage. Danger was mainstream. And carcinogens weren’t exclusively advertised by the rumble of tailpipes.

Also in 1984, Porsche was developing a legend, but it was behind schedule: The 959 wasn’t ready when David Richards, the orchestrator of the Porsche-Rothmans deal, wanted to go rallying. So, along with Weissach, 20 examples of the Porsche 911 SC RS were built to take the manufacturer Group B rallying. Those cars also became the foundation of Prodrive, one of rally’s most famous teams.

This is one of those cars. Drifting. In snow.

It’s refreshing to see a priceless competition classic attacking a track; even more so when that track is covered in God’s frozen tears.

The Nurburgring’s Nordschleife is closed during the winter months, but its GP circuit can be used in a limited capacity. Driver Patrick Simon, who we can assume knows the location of the track apexes by memory, was lucky enough to take the 911 SC RS into the fluff.

Just listen to it. My word.

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31 Comments on “Sunday Cinema: Snow Dancing in a Porsche 911 SC RS...”


  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    When I try this my car’s traction control says “You don’t know what you are doing. Here, let me keep this safe and boring for you”.

    Question to the public: what modern, unmodified, mass production cars or trucks/SUVs (MT) can behave similar to the one in the video?

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      In BMWs, you can turn off all the nannies except anti-lock brakes if you want. It’s known on the Internet as TIMYOYO mode. (“That’s It, Mofo, You’re On Your Own.”)

      So I suppose one answer would be “any BMW.”

      • 0 avatar
        RetroGrouch

        “In BMWs, you can turn off all the nannies except anti-lock brakes if you want.”

        Except in all wheel drive vehicles, manual trans E60 M5s, and who knows what else.

        BMW died in 1996.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The Abarth provides similar noise and sensation in the snow. There’s a button to disable ESP and TC.

    • 0 avatar
      ThirdOwner

      That’s a start. I should have noted: being a simple peasant of limited means I was thinking more along the “plain-but-sturdy” lines, as in MT Xterra(RIP) or Tacoma in 2WD mode. It’ll live on bumpy, compacted snow roads, not the poshness of the ‘ring.

    • 0 avatar
      I_Like_Pie

      Any vintage Miata is seemingly purpose made for such a thing.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        It’s a very different sensation in a rear engined car. Whether 911 or old bug, doesn’t much matter as unless you have massive rally spikes, you’re traction limited anyway. You have much more weight on the drive wheels, and the front points much easier and skims the surface more.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @ThirdOwner – the F150 Raptor has an off-road mode that disables the nannies at any speed. It also allows the rear diff to stay engaged in 4×2 or 4×4 at any speed. I don’t know of any other vehicles that do. I can disable the nannies on my truck but the software turns them back on once over 35 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      My FR-S is probably one of the most tail happy factory cars you can buy today. It is shockingly easy to get the back around even WITH the nannies on.

    • 0 avatar
      kjb911

      Corvette, Camaro, Cruze, Malibu, Impala, silverado all allow you to disengage all electronic nannies besides abs by pressing on the T/C button for 10 seconds which makes for some interesting fun when I move the lot during a snow storm

    • 0 avatar
      ThirdOwner

      @Skeptic I’ve had the satisfaction of temporarily putting my car’s nannies into the TIMYOYO mode by entering a spin cycle on a frozen lake surface. But I’d love the option of doing it in closer to normal driving settings.

      @Lou Raptor is a bit too much for me. I do hope they have a similar mode in the new Bronco.

      @kjb911 I didn’t know that, thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      The Cadillac ATS. Wonderful drift car, especially if rented from Hertz.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      H1,2,3 all allow this, the traction control light comes on on the 2 and 3 but it doesn’t slow the fun, it will spin all 4 of those wheels just as fast as you like. And you can get the MT on the 3.

    • 0 avatar
      ducatimechanic

      The Fiesta ST has a “sport mode” when you push the traction control button. I’d imagine that Ford is trying to push that with both the ST and RS cars they’re putting out.

      Subaru has long made the WRX and STI variable, although a lot of that is due to tires and surface (too much tire and you’re having no fun with all that grip).

      As always, a slow car driven fast is much more fun than a fast car driven slow.

      • 0 avatar
        ThirdOwner

        I had the same “too much traction” problem with my old Audi 90. A light car with AWD (w/rear diff locker) on narrow Hakkapellitas to cut through the fluffy top layer, with a MT. As long as you are not high-centered you are moving forward. Sometimes even while you are high centered, but manage to churn the fluff fast enough underneath – paddle steamer style.

        Light, simple, _tough_, directly controlled – wish they’d still make cars like that.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      The current Audi S4 6MT has a rear-biased full-time AWD system and is a lot of fun in the snow after a three-second button press. The drifting occurs at higher speed though. This RWD 911 wouldn’t stand a chance at keeping up in winter conditions.

      With the sport diff, it can even spin in place at 60 Hz!

      RWD in the snow is certainly very pleasurable on empty roads. Everything happens in slow motion so it’s a calming way to enjoy playing with a vehicle. I find AWD to be so much better most of time though, as it allows you to shoot across intersections and merge onto roads from a stop with minimal gaps in traffic. You can still go as sideways as you want, but only for a couple of seconds at a time before you’re up to speed.

      Plus, unlike RWD you can still set the cruise and relax at 70 mph on an icy highway. It’s not going anywhere but where you point the steering wheel, regardless of throttle input.

      • 0 avatar
        ThirdOwner

        I wonder if the current Subaru Outback is like this too. MT (a Canada option) is 50/50 while the auto is 60/40. I’d be curious to find out how the CVT auto behaves in low traction conditions.

        I had a rental previous gen Outback with AT, took it to a parking lot, and it was like you describe – too effective for fun.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          I didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t fun. Quite the contrary. I’ll have to take a video of the S4 spinning in place in a parking lot sometime, and put it on YouTube. You just set the sport diff on dynamic and blip the throttle a few times from a stop.

          Another of my buddies has an ’05 Legacy GT MT. I believe the AWD is functionally the same as any modern Subaru MT, with a basic 50/50 viscous center LSD.

          With more weight on the front and no electronic oversteer enhancement, it’s not nearly as tail happy as the B8 S4 with sport diff, or even a more balanced SUV/truck with true 4WD, but it’s still fun and has as much grip as anything. It just needs more encouragement to go sideways, along with patience to wait for the turbo to spool. I prefer a naturally aspirated or supercharged engine. My MT R50 Pathfinder was far more responsive and that’s part of the reason it seemed more playful. That S4 has immediate excessive power everywhere.

          I’ve driven a few manual Subarus, but my only experience with an automatic was a short test drive on clean, dry pavement.

          • 0 avatar
            ThirdOwner

            No, I did get what you said, just a poor choice of words on my part. AWD without engine power = point-and-shoot driving style. I agree, “immediate excessive power everywhere” is the cure.

            Was your R50 a 2001-02 MY? I wonder if the responsiveness was due to the cable-operated throttle. Another pet peeve of mine. If I press ‘go’ I want the power immediately applied, not “I’ll consider your request”.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            It was a ’98. Cable operated throttle. Not happy over 5000 rpm but responsive and torquey down low. I’m sure that cable was a big part of the reason it was such a nice manual to operate.

  • avatar

    I would never try that. I almost crash a Porsche back in the 90s. Never drove another one after that. Have yet to drive on snow and not in a hurry to do it (to say it mildly). This driver must know the track better than I know my driveway: I can’t see where the track goes. Snow is all I can see.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know where you are, but the Boston BMW club goes ice racing in New Hampshire in the winter, on a large lake. It’s time trials, on a course marked by pilons. They keep it very safe–one car at a time, and they don’t go on the ice unless it’s at least 3 feet thick.YOu don’t have to have a BMW to go (I have ice raced in my old Accord and my newer Civic; one couple ice raced their smart car).

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Ice racing is a blast. I used to do it with my buddies on dirt bikes. Some of those corners are very wide. Lots of room to drift.

  • avatar
    CrapBox

    This looks like my commute to work. I don’t drive that fast, however, because I don’t enjoy sliding into hidden ditches.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    That looks so freakishly fun. I may have to run a rally cross soon to satisfy the urge.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I think most people think of 911’s as track cars, but aren’t aware that (from my limited experience) there is a rally history also. I’ve got a great picture on my desktop of a modern 911 rally car about 4-5 feet off the ground coming out of a bend frozen in mid-air.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    My favorite thing about driving on snow is that all manner of drifting sliding, beyond 10/10ths hoonery can be done at slower less risky (and numerically legal)speeds, without burning out tires or overly stressing the suspension or drivetrain.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Now, THAT’s how to drive in the slippery stuff. “I need an SUV,” my rear end…. Love the wheelwork, and the complete lack of overshooting anywhere. Talk about smooth operator. And, Porsche really used to make some pretty darned cool cars! Who’d ‘ve thunk?


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