[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he RAC and Audi have set a new Guinness World Records title by driving to 14 countries on a single tank of fuel.
Motoring journalist Andrew Frankel and racing driver Rebecca Jackson drove an Audi A6 ultra 1,158.9 miles almost non-stop for nearly 28 hours from the Netherlands to Hungary, passing through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.
The Record Road Trip began in Maastricht at 9.48am (GMT) on Tuesday 9 June and ended in Hungary at 12.44pm (GMT) on Wednesday 10 June with the pair averaging 75.9 miles to the gallon from the 73-litre tank, seven-speed, most efficient A6 ever.
The route was painstakingly picked by the RAC, which has more than 100 years’ experience of providing European BreakdownEucover for members, to avoid the mpg-sapping effects of built-up, congested towns, cities and mountains.
RAC Record Road Trip coordinator Simon Williams said: “The last few miles of the record attempt were nail-biting as the A6 ultra’s computer was reading ‘zero miles’ with 16 miles to go to reach Hungary to make it 14 countries.
“Andrew and Rebecca’s achievement in driving the A6 ultra 1,158.9 miles and setting a world record for the RAC and Audi is phenomenal. We were very keen to use a standard executive class production car, the like of which is regularly driven through Europe by British holidaymakers every summer, to set a record that will be tough to beat.
“The car was not modified in any way other than being fitted with fuel-efficient, low rolling resistance tyres. This really shows how far it’s possible to drive in a modern vehicle and that the price of fuel – albeit cheaper on the continent – should not put anyone off exploring Europe by car.”
Andrew and Rebecca faced numerous challenges in their 28-hour driving adventure including diversions for both heavy traffic due to an accident and a closed tunnel which led to an unplanned mountain detour.
Andrew Frankel, respected newspaper car reviewer, said: “I’m delighted to be part of the team that has set this record and would like to think it will stand for some time as we eeked out every last mile from the A6’s tank. From an endurance point of view the challenge actually proved to be far harder than both Rebecca and I imagined it would be.
“Despite sharing the driving we were on the road almost continuously for 25 hours, focussed on maintaining an average speed of around 50mph. In order to do this you have to be fully aware of what’s going on around you and anticipate what could happen with the traffic ahead. While it was normal driving in one sense, it was also a very different type of driving, but nevertheless demanding.”
Racing driver Rebecca Jackson added: “I feel Andrew and I have helped the RAC and Audi set a record to be proud of. I’m known for driving pretty fast, but this challenge was naturally more about maintaining a constant, fuel-efficient speed and not being caught out by vehicles which would cause us to slow down and then accelerate to the optimum speed again. This was an amazing event and a very different long-distance driving challenge to what I’m doing next
year when I compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016.”
Roadside assistance for the Record Road Trip team was provided by the RAC’s new Patrol Ambassador of the Year, Ben Wilson from Manchester, who followed the record-attempt car all the way from the Netherlands to the point the attempt ended, just before completely running out of fuel in Hungary. During driver changes Ben checked the all-important tyre pressures, pumping to the perfect pressure where needed.
The record attempt began in mainland Europe as the Guinness World Record team stipulated that ferry or rail Channel crossings were not allowed.
RAC’s Simon Williams added: “While Ben and the RAC can’t follow all our members through Europe this summer they can protect themselves with our five-star, market-leading European breakdown cover which gives peace of mind that you and your vehicle will be taken care of should something go wrong during your road trip.”
[box type=”success” align=”alignright” ]“Despite sharing the driving we were on the road almost continuously for 25 hours, focussed on maintaining an average speed of around 50mph. In order to do this you have to be fully aware of what’s going on around you and anticipate what could happen with the traffic ahead. While it was normal driving in one sense, it was also a very different type of driving, but nevertheless demanding.”- Andrew Frankel, newspaper car reviewer[/box]