Engines are normally roaring at the beginning of the year in Zell am See: tens of thousands of fans descend upon Salzburg to cheer on historical as well as not-so-historical racing cars – driven by motorsport icons on a specially built ice course – at the GP Ice Race taking place only a few minutes away from the quiet town centre. This year is different so to speak. There are no spectators due to the coronavirus. However, the ice runway is there, enticing Jasmin Preisig and Benny Leuchter. The Golf R Winter Challenge awaits.
Golf R Winter Challenge:
Duel in Zell
A duel of equals. They are racing drivers as well as Volkswagen brand ambassadors: Jasmin Preisig and Benny Leuchter. They met in Zell am See for the Golf R Winter Challenge.
It is 7 o’clock in the morning and still rather quiet as the sun rises over the alps. The snow and ice are sparkling in the twilight with temperatures around freezing point. However, it does not remain so idyllic: the lapiz blue Golf R with its 235 kW (320 PS) capacity is already standing at the ready. Preisig and Leuchter both want to show what they themselves and the dynamic flagship of the eighth Golf generation are capable of. The racing drivers take their places in their respective Golf R and brace themselves for a total of six challenges. Acceleration. Drifting. Braking. Slalom. Man and machine are equally required when they are pushed to their limit.
The Golf R Winter Challenge. It is clear shortly after the signal commencing the first challenge: these professionals are at work here. Preisig and Leuchter do not shy away from using the Launch Control, even on snow or ice. This proves to be no problem thanks to the 4 MOTION four-wheel drive with its R-Performance Torque Vectoring system. The innovative four-wheel drive with its momentum steering on the rear axle is controlled by a driving dynamic manager. The result: optimal traction properties and the maximum level of agility. Or in the words of Leuchter, “The Golf R is simply a lot of fun.” Those were the words of the man who was directly involved in the development and fine-tuning of the Golf R.
The goal in developing the Golf R was that it offered a maximum level of enjoyment when driving, a level which had previously not been met. “Mission accomplished”, confirms Preisig with a great big smile on her face. Others can also see this: how it drives over the ice in Drift Mode for the Swiss driver and her German opponent. The small crystals are catapulted metres high as fine specks of dust whilst the air magically glitters. The acoustics of the Golf R are another spectacle: the optional Akrapovič exhaust system demonstrates its delicate interplay with the gas pedal as the Golf R crosses the ice with a great sound.
Preisig vs. Leuchter = Fun. But he who accelerates and drifts must also brake. Despite the icy surfaces, the 18-inch braking system fiercely maintains its grip when required. And whilst co-developer Leuchter boasts a supposed advancement in knowledge with the Golf R, Preisig is also convincing with her driving skills in the challenges. Definitely a racing driver. And therefore it is a duel of equals, during which the fun of the Golf R can be seen as written on both of their faces. Who will go forward as the winner of the duel? The six-part video series on the Golf R Winter Challenge will shed light on this.
For purposes of the production, the actors were granted exemption from wearing a face mask in the vehicles and when maintaining a sufficient distance from others. All of those involved in the production were subject to a multi-stage system for protecting against infection and were tested both previously and each day on set. Each individual was compliant with all of the measures in place for avoiding infection as well as with regulations surrounding entering and exiting Germany, Austria and Switzerland. There were no cases of infection with COVID-19 before, during or after production.