After 36 days and more than 9000 miles, endurance rally racer Renée Brinkerhoff and her Valkyrie Racing 1956 Porsche 356A have completed the grueling Peking-to-Paris Motor Challenge 2019. The rally route coursed through 12 countries that spanned eight time zones across Asia and Europe.
Driving was just part of the challenge, though. To allow her to to complete the rally, Brinkerhoff needed a UK-based mechanic to bring a complete 356 engine in his luggage from England to Russia. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, Brinkerhoff used the event to shine attention on the serious problem of human trafficking, spreading her message at events in four of the countries along the route, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia.
After completing the event, Brinkerhoff now only has two more continents to go in her Project 356 World Rally's goal of campaigning her vintage Porsche on all seven of the globe's continents.
“Rallying has provided me a world stage that entails so much more than fulfilling my passion to drive,” Brinkerhoff said in Paris, “My initial goal was to conquer six races on seven continents so I could give back something important on every continent we drove—and through those efforts we’ve been able to offer local support to orphanages and facilities to make a difference.”
Brinkerhoff also acknowledged the help of her sponsors, including Porsche Center Oslo, Sierra, Blackriver and LaLoma in participating and completing the Challenge. As we reported earlier, Porsche dealers provided service and hospitality to her and her navigator, Calvin Cooledge (yes, that's his real name, no apparent relation to Silent Cal) during rest stages of the rally.
In case you are wondering why the event uses the now archaic Peking instead of the more accurate transliteration Beijing for the name of the Chinese capital, the original Peking-to-Paris rally was held in 1907, long before Westerners adopted local pronunciations for place names, like Bombay instead of Mumbai. After that first rally there was a 90-year hiatus until it was revived in 1997. It now runs every three years.
Next up on Valkyrie Racing's schedule is this year's East African Safari Classic, a 10-day event that starts November 27. Brinkerhoff's entry will be the first time a vintage 356 competes in that rally, considered one of the most difficult endurance rallies in the world.
You can keep up with Renée's rallies and her work to stop the trafficking of women and children at the team website, racevalkyrie.com, or at @valkyrie_racing or @356worldrallytour on Instagram and Facebook.