The route for the 2008 Great Race from New York to Paris is set, according to Bill Ewing, CEO for Great Race Sports, the event organizers.
“It’s been fun putting the pieces together to make The Great Race both historical and relevant,” said Ewing. “A special thanks must go to our partners, government officials and especially our staff who worked tirelessly and collected a lot of frequent flyer miles to create a route that I’m sure will make for a great event next summer.”
The 2008 route is a daunting automotive challenge — though certainly not as fearful as that planned a century earlier for the original Great Race. This time, no one’s suggesting the cars should be driven on ice across the Bering Strait from Alaska to Russia (as the 1908 organizers originally planned).
The Great Race 2008 will begin in New York City and circumnavigate the globe, passing through 13 countries before arriving in Paris 65 days later — 104 less than the winner needed in 1908. The total distance is 18,738 miles, including 13,106 miles on land and about 5,632 miles in a flight from Vancouver to Shanghai. The race consists of four stages, each of which is an individual event that teams can also enter: Great Race North America, Great Race China, Central Asia/Eastern Europe and Great Race Europe.
“I’m very proud what our team did in putting together this route,” said Ewing. “It represents a both diverse set of challenges and opportunities. From the historically significant route through upper New York State to a route across Canada that is both challenging and scenic. From there, our teams fly half way around the world to a whole new set of experiences. We’ve spent a great deal of time organizing the final three legs from Shanghai to Paris, creating a route that combines an adventure, similar to what the teams experienced in 1908 with the amenities and accommodations commensurate with a first-class operation, so I’m sure it will be the ultimate adventure.”
After leaving New York City, the teams will turn northward and travel a route somewhat similar to the one in 1908, stopping first at President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s historic home at Hyde Park for lunch, then overnight in Albany, the State Capital. Day two includes a stop in Syracuse and then Buffalo, home to the winning driver in 1908, George Schuster and the E.R. Thomas Motor Co., manufacturer of the winning car.
From Buffalo, Great Race North America, the first stage of the New York to Paris Great Race, will deviate from the 1908 route and follow a scenic and challenging course through southern Canada, stopping first in Toronto and then Ottawa, the nation’s capital. After an overnight stay in Ottawa, the race will travel along Lake Superior, then through the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The Great Race will cross the Canadian Rockies near Banff, driving past Lake Louis and Glacier National Park. The finish is in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia – last stop before China.
Then it gets interesting. The cars traveling around the world will then be loaded on a pair of jets for the flight to Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, to begin the longest and most challenging portion of the trip from Shanghai to Paris – a total distance of 8,716 miles. From China, the race will take contenders through Russia and Red Square, then through Eastern Europe, stopping in Daugavpils, Latvia, Vilnius, Lithuania, and Warsaw before entering Berlin.
The final stage is Great Race Europe, a 1057-mile push through five countries, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and France. The Great Race will finish in Paris, France on Aug. 2, 2008, at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
“We’re lucky to have the centennial as an excuse to make this run,” said Ewing. “But you shouldn’t need one. It’s such an exciting challenge – and after all, how many people get the opportunity to drive all the way around the world? That itself is reason enough.”
Learn more about the Great Race, go to www.greatrace.com, or call 714-338- 8880.