Ice Racing in a First-Generation Lexus IS 300

Lexus IS Cup Challenge Ice Racing

Want to race a first-generation Lexus IS 300 on an ice-track in the middle of a Canadian winter? Normally, your options would be limited — however, the new Lexus Cup Challenge in Minden, Ontario gives people the opportunity to rent (or purchase) an IS and race against fellow drivers.

Benjamin Hunting took part this past winter, writing about it for Automobile Magazine:

“Remember,” [Russ Bond, owner of the Lexus Cup Challenge] says as he cinches my five-point harness in the cockpit of Lexus, which has a stock passenger seat next to the racing seat I’m in. “Make sure that the traction-control is set to off, and that the transmission is set to snow mode.”

This advice is repeated on a pair of stickers set at eye level on the car’s sun visor. I dutifully push the “SNOW” button next to the automatic transmission’s gear lever—each vehicle in the series runs in the slush with a slushbox—and verify that the TRAC light is on. Finished with my belts, Bond leans in semi-conspiratorially.

“Listen to the studs, Benjamin,” he tells me, imparting a smidgen of his hard-earned wisdom as a seasoned ice racer. “And stay away as far away from that car as you can,” he continues, finger pointed at one of my fellow competitors for the day. “They’ve put two cars out for the season already this year.” He raises his eyebrows. I nod, the message received.

The Lexus Cup Challenge has wrapped up for this year, but it’s definitely something to watch for next year — here’s a video showing off the action: