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The Longest Drive came through!

At noon on Thursday 12th March 2014, The Longest Drive team completed an epic feat by driving around Australia on (nearly) the entire Highway #1 a road trip which is 13,961km in just 5 days 18 hours 13 min and 13 sec.

Since leaving the technical base at Porsche Centre Sydney South last Thursday evening, they have encountered closed roads (hence a forced deviation from Highway #1) meetings with kangaroos and other problems associated with long distance driving.

It would appear that the whole Big Loop challenge has been beset with problems since Will Schryver and Jan Kalmar arrived in Sydney from their European base. Upon arrival, they learned that the third person completing the three man crew, would not be able to join them on medical grounds. It was also worrying that the car was not available from the local importation authorities.
Delays in shipping meant that the custom built Porsche Cayenne had arrived late in Sydney, forcing a very tight timetable for preparation. This timetable was squeezed further as the vehicle could not be released from quarantine due to very strict rules regarding foreign cars entering Australia.
Luckily the car was released at the very last minute and went straight to Porsche for technical inspection. The technicians found a couple of unexpected issues, which could be fixed quite easily.
But still, there was no third driver. The word went out that Will and Jan were looking for a rather impulsive person, who with only four hours notice was willing to spend nearly a week in a car with two complete strangers – driving 24 hours a day. To their great surprise, Jan learned that the chief technician on their car, Peter Thompson, was up for it. The trip was suddenly happening and after a brief evening meal, they were on their way!

Luckily the first 24 hours were rather uneventful, enabling them to settle into a routine. When they entered the outback, they felt the full force of nature and ended up in a mud pool and were stuck there for 5 hours. A huge rain storm had closed Highway #1, thus forcing the crew on a 400 km detour further delaying progress. The race was now on to regain the nearly twelve hours they lost by the effects of the storm. Later on, they were hit twice by kangaroos luckily the Porsche stood up to the impact, which is more than can be said about the poor animals. We had been warned about that form of wildlife beforehand and had taken appropriate action when preparing the car for Australia.

Supporters from all over the world were able to communicate with the crew via social media: Facebook, Twitter and via a special news site with videos from the car. A live satellite tracker was following the car all the way as it was winding its way towards the goal in Sydney.

The last couple of days were tough a real test of endurance but the many messages of encouragement have proved invaluable for the crew spurring them on when spirits were flagging.

The car ran faultlessly for the entire journey – needing only 2 liters of engine oil as a top up. This is a testament to skills and knowledge of the engineers at Porsche AG. We didn’t suffer a single puncture or stone chip.

Other facts about the trip: The Porsche Cayenne consumed 1,750L of diesel averaging 12.5L per 100km. Downtime, when the engine was turned off, was 4hours and 45 seconds.