The World’s Longest Car Races

Everybody has heard of the famous car races such as FI and Nascar, but before all these started there has been incredible automobile races that have been undertaken over thousands of miles, that have crossed continents, and raced over mountains and through deserts., here are some of the very best and longest.

Around the World in 80 Days

This epic rally takes eighteen thousand miles to complete, and it is very much an enthusiasts competition. The race leaves London and the drivers can choose any vehicle they want to compete in, from new Jeep Wranglers to thirty-year old Ford Escorts.

The first destination is Cape Town, and is a timed-trial rally over eight thousand six hundred miles. The race is totally amateur and is one of the parts of nineteen other long-distance endurance rallies that drivers have been competing in since 1997.

The longest of these was in 2000, when forty-two entrants entered in the Around The World in 80 Days Rally. It took almost three months to complete, and the cars had to be air-lifted from New York to Marrakesh, and Beijing to Alaska.  

London to Sydney

This race took place in 1977, and was sponsored by Singapore Airlines as well as the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express. The distance was a colossal seventeen thousand miles from London to Sydney, and due to the newspaper coverage it spawned a number of spin-off intercontinental rallies. One of these was named the World Cup Rally and was from London to Mexico City, but the ultimate test was the London to Sydney race. It was won in a Mercedes Benz 280E, that was driven by Andrew Cowan.

Peking to Paris

Our oldest race so far, as in 1907 the French newspaper Le Matin threw down a challenge for car owners to prove their worth by driving from Peking to Paris, a distance of over nine thousand miles.

Scipione Borghese who was an Italian Price was the first to reply to the challenge, and took part in the race with four other cars. Actually it was the prince’s chauffeur that did the bulk of the driving of the seven liter car. But after the race the prince wrote a book about his exploits that inspired many other endurance races.

Paris to Cape Town & Dakar Rally

The idea for the Paris to Dakar Rally was thought up by Thierry Sabine after motorcycling through the Sahara Desert. The inaugural race took place in 1978 and has been immensely popular ever since. There was a famous occasion in 1982 when the son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was lost in the desert for four days, much to the British Government’s embarrassment.  

In 1992 there were alterations to the route which encompassed the entire length of Africa ending in Cape Town. But in 2007, the event had to be re-located to South America because of terrorist threats. These amazing races highlight the endurance of both the drivers and the cars and are the pinnacle of motorsport.

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