Endurance races can last for hours, days, even weeks or months at a time so it takes a whole lot of preparation and dedication to stick it out to the end. Here are five of the greatest from around the world.
Shell 4000 Rally
This week-long cross-Canada rally, also known as the British Columbia International Trade Fair Rally, began in 1961. Up to 100 teams of 2 took part in all sorts of vehicles and travelled over 4000 miles. Often racing on open streets and rough roads, the route suited the muscle cars and sedans of the period.
Although it was a fairly serious competition, competitors were not afraid to inject some humour into the event with funny non-factory team names being chosen such as the ‘Ralligators’.
Le Mans 24 Hours
Over the course of 24 hours, drivers battle to go the furthest distance by completing laps of the 8.5-mile track in this iconic sprint race. It all began in 1923 and current records show that the top speed was achieved by a WM P88-Peugeot in 1988. During 2010, one of the most famous races, an R15 TDI did 397 laps which set a new record.
Peking to Paris Motor Challenge
In 1907, the automobile was still fairly new and 11 men took on the challenge of driving one 9000 miles from Peking to Paris. This was to prove just what a car was capable of but to this day the race has never quite been repeated.
It is a tough rally for any vintage or classic car driver, crossing continents, deserts and swamps to reach the finishing line, making that original achievement all the more impressive.
Around the World in 80 Days
Races don’t get much longer than an around the world route of 18,000 miles, and at 3 months, the rally in 2000 is the longest of all. There were 42 non-professional entries in the London to Cape Town World Rally and at two points, the cars had to be airlifted (between Beijing and Alaska, then New York to Marrakech).
La Carrera Panamericana
This 2000 mile, cross-Mexico race had to be ended in 1955 because of safety and cost concerns. As one of auto-racing history’s most famous events, it was later brought back as an open-road race. It is a unique endurance race that covers over 2000 miles and takes 7 days to complete.
Up to a 100 vintage vehicles tackle all kinds of terrain from mountain to desert, attracting some of the best driver’s around who feel they can take on this challenge.