Brighton to London with least energy – challenge is on!
By Gavin Conway on October 31, 2011 4:50 PM
The 2011 RAC Future Car Challenge kicks off next Saturday 5th November. Following on from the huge success of the inaugural run last year, the Future Car Challenge (FCC) will once again set off from Madeira Drive in Brighton, covering 60 miles to finish up at London’s Pall Mall.
The idea behind the FCC is to set a challenge for pure-electric, hybrid and low-emission ICE vehicles to see which can use the least amount of energy over the 60-mile journey. Organisers see the event as an opportunity to demonstrate low-energy vehicles in a ‘live’ situation. As with last year’s event, the RAC is the title sponsor.
The FCC happens the day before the annual Veteran Car Run – the FCC actually runs over the same route but in reverse order. The original London to Brighton run first happened on Saturday 14 November 1896, when 33 motorists set off to demonstrate the capabilities of early motorcars. They were also celebrating a new road-act that raised the speed limit from 4mph to a heady 14, whilst also dropping the law requiring a man with a red flag to precede every motorcar. The original run included petrol, electric and even steam-powered cars.
After crossing the finish line, the future cars line up on Regent Street alongside the Veteran Cars
There will be at least 60 entries for this year’s event, including Volkswagen, which won last year with its Golf blue-e-motion electric car. Other mainstream competitors include the Nissan LEAF, Vauxhall Ampera, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Peugeot iOn and many others besides. Some of the more unusual entries include a pure electric Jaguar E-Type, an electric MGF sports car and the Radical SRZero electric supercar that completed the legendary Carrera Pan Americana route from Argentina to Alaska last year (read our interview with the man behind that amazing adventure here).
There will be celebrity drivers including former Formula One world champion Damon Hill OBE, TheChargingPoint.com’s Robert Llewellyn, Smooth FM’s Mark Goodier and Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud.
TheChargingPoint.com will also be out in force – Will Dron and Gavin Conway will be driving a pure-electric BMW ActiveE, so keep an eye out for us. For keen spotters we’re car number 39.
For spectators, the run starts at 7:30am on Saturday from Madeira Drive in Brighton, taking about an hour to get all cars underway. The halfway stop is at Central Sussex College and the formal finish is Waterloo Place, Pall Mall and St. James Square.
The better option for spectating is the ceremonial finish on Regent Street (Vigo Street to Conduit Street from about 12:30pm). The street will be closed to normal traffic so that FCC participating cars can line up alongside the 100 cars of Veteran motoring era (pre 1905). They’ll set off for Brighton on Sunday.