The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 1997
September 6 - October 18, 1997
Countdown begins for Peking to Paris Motor Challenge
A Prince, a Lord, an MP and a brain surgeon are among more than 90 confirmed entries for the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge which next year celebrates the 90th anniversary of the world's first epic motor race.
No fewer than 25 countries are represented on the entry list, selected from more than 1000 applications for places on this longest and most difficult challenge ever for classic and vintage cars.
The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge breaks new rallying ground with a breathtaking 15,000km route traversing Outer Mongolia and Nepal on its way to Iran, via northern India and Pakistan, thence to Turkey, Greece, Italy and on towards the finish in Paris, 45 days later.
The cars will have to contend with some of the most remote passes in the world including the highest road ever built, which touches 17,000ft between Golmud and Lhasa in Nepal. Three deserts and a section through the Himalayas, passing within sight of Everest base camp, are among the challenges that will confront the crews during just the first two weeks of the great adventure.
The entry list includes a remarkable cross section of sporting classic and vintage cars, ranging from a vintage Bugatti and several Bentleys, through to post-war rally classics such as Triumph TRs, Volvos and Jaguars. Two Citroen 2CVs have taken up the challenge, relying on reliability and strength to overcome the outright power of other contenders.
Philip Young, the historic rallying pioneer and organiser of top international events, along with Peter Browning, one-time BMC Competitions Manager, lead the 12-strong professional team behind the Peking-Paris Challenge.
Philip Young recently returned from a planning trip to China, Nepal and India, reporting that some of the roads on the route are more exciting than even he had imagined. He commented: "Some of the areas we will be passing through have barely changed since Prince Borghese and his Itala sped through on their way to winning the original race 90 years ago... I saw a Yak frozen to the spot in the Himalayas and cattle dying of thirst on the fringes of the Gobi Desert: this rally will be an amazing experience for all involved."
Just a handful of entries on the Challenge are being reserved for additional international entries and for drivers with examples of cars not yet represented on the confirmed entry list.