No one could accuse the Swedish of having an abundance of sanity: after all, they eat lutefisk (rotting fish processed with lye) voluntarily drink aquavit (what the rest of the world calls paint thinner) and build cars with the ignition switch in the center console. Just in case that’s not enough to convince you, they also think that ice racing in convertibles, in temperatures of twenty four degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) sounds like fun; to me, that sounds like a sure recipe for frostbite and the surgical loss of fingers, toes and other body parts.
Mazda Sweden recently decided to kick off the 2011 motorsport season with a 4 hour ice race for competitors from 26 countries. The Australians, who probably have the least amount of ice racing experience, dominated day one’s practice and qualifying session, beating out the Russian team for pole position. Race day consisted of two, two-hour sessions, which undoubtedly gave surgeons sufficient time to remove frostbite damaged appendages between heats. The Australians continued their bizarre dominance, but a late race mistake and spin allowed the Russians to make a pass. When the checkered flag dropped, it was Russia for the win, Australia for second and Belgium for third.
I’m heading down to this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix courtesy of Mazda, and I may even get some track time at Homestead in a Mazda MX-5 Cup car. I can absolutely guarantee you three things: I won’t be eating any lutefisk, I won’t be drinking any aquavit and I won’t have the remotest chance of getting frostbite. In my book, that makes me just a bit more sane than the Swedish.