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Circling on the Arctic Ice {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

As charm offensives go, it’s about as dramatic — and fun — as they come. At the wheel of the brand new 296 bhp 4X4 VW Golf Rs and 400 bhp Porsche 911s, we’re staring down a vast frozen lake somewhere on the edge of the Arctic Circle.

Ahead of us are snow-capped mountains, behind us endless frozen tundra. You wouldn’t wander far off the beaten track on foot around here and survive for long; it’s the middle of nowhere.

“Welcome to Sweden,” says our instructor Pierre. “Your mission is to accelerate across the ice to 60kph and brake as hard as you can when you get to the marker posts. You’ve got to steer around the elk — and back onto the track.”

The “elk” might only be a row of plastic posts but as the £92,000 Porsche’s digital speed flashes 60kph, it feels real enough. I mash the brake pedal and — electronic braking and traction control system fighting to hold me in line — slither around the beast, merely tweaking its tail.

Next challenge? A 400-metre slalom where — traction control systems off — we spin, slide and pirouette in a fever of engine revs, flying ice and adrenalin. Driving doesn’t get much more fun than this. But one of our members, Robbie Weich, is on tenterhooks. He recently made headlines when, in recovery from second-degree burns following a shocking boating accident that saw him and his six-year-old son Luca engulfed in flames, he received some good news.

For years, he’d been playing the Supercar competition with airport and online win-a-car firm Best of the Best (BOTB). In October, his luck turned for the better. A surprise knock on the door heralded BOTB founder Will Hindmarch, dangling the keys to Robbie’s dream car; a £50,000 Porsche Cayenne 4X4.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says Robbie who has now, along with his son, largely recovered from the accident in July and who would officially take delivery of his gleaming 4X4 prize immediately after his return from Sweden.

Also in our party is Will and his right-hand man Ben Hughes, who are on a mission of their own.

BOTB promises a “guaranteed winner” every two weeks in their Supercar competition, which means it gives away 26 cars a year to lucky winners around the world, with around 80 per cent going to UK residents. Players can choose from 150 different cars, ranging from £2.50 per ticket for a Fiat 500 Abarth SS, £3 for a Mini Countryman up to £25 for a McLaren MP4-12C or Ferrari 458.

The prizes — won by playing spot-the-ball — are catnip for petrol-heads, generating annual turnover for the firm of  around £7 million.

There are free-to-enter competitions too, with prizes including a VIP trip to the Monaco Grand Prix, driving the Las Vegas Motor Speedway... and ice driving in Sweden.

“The problem is — maybe not surprisingly — people are fairly cynical; they don’t believe anyone really wins,” admits Will. “We’re getting out and about to show that they do.”

To date, BOTB, based in Parsons Green, Chelsea and listed on the London Stock Exchange and fully audited, says it has given away vehicles worth around £15 million. It plans to increase the giveaways to one a week, which will be hard on Will, who makes it his mission to hand over the keys personally — no matter where the lucky recipient lives — after each winner is chosen by a panel of independent former Fifa referees.

No wonder his 25-strong team call the 39-year-old family man from Fulham the “most hugged man in Britain”; his filmed “ambushes” of winners can be seen at botb.com. Today, however, he’s revealing his competitive side as — on the frozen lake — we move on to the finer points of car control.

We’re taught how to “load” the front of the car — thereby lightening the rear end to make it slide — by lifting the throttle mid-bend, then steering into the resulting skid to create a controlled drift. Next, we practise “doughnuts”, positioning the Porsche’s nose inches from a pole, and blipping the throttle to generate a joyous circular slide.

Then it’s out onto the boundless frozen wastes of the lake, where there are miles of marked-out track boasting sweeping bends and corners.

We forget that just a metre or two of ice supports us above the chilly lake water as we slide at increasing speed, with mounting dexterity and elation. Robbie’s mind is on his Cayenne. Will’s is on beating Ben’s best time around the circuit. Mine? I’m thinking of having a punt on spot-the-ball so that I can try it all again.

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