The Great Race: German team finds new ‘family’ on the road

(Editor’s Note: In honor of Father’s Day, and over the course of the 2015 Great Race beginning June 20, we’re profiling nine teams, each consisting of some variation of a father and daughter, father and son, or grandfather and son. Stay tuned for these stories and results from the race.)

Thomas and Benjamin Karr (Berlin, Germany)

1934 FORD PHAETON (#97)

The German team comprised of Thomas Karr and his 19-year-old son, Benjamin, first became interested in The Great Race a few years ago via another participant: Ted Stahl. But they’ve both been interested in cars for much longer than that.

“I have been a car enthusiast since I was a little child and it has not changed to this day,” Benjamin says. “No matter if a car is old or new, every car has its own story that makes it special. I personally especially love the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda.”

This year they’ll be piloting a 1934 Ford Phaeton Deluxe, which they also drove during the 2014 event down the East Coast. It’s their third appearance overall, including competing in the 2012 race around the Great Lakes.

Why does this duo keep coming back for more? Easy, Benjamin says. “The Great Race is just a wonderful experience, because everyone is just so nice and it feels just like a big family. This is why once you’ve participated in the Great Race, you always want to come back and be a part of the next one.

“Everyone is helping each other out and it really doesn’t feel like you are competing against each other. It feels more like competing all together against the time. Overall it is just an amazing experience!”

Although the distance from home will keep family members from cheering the team on in person, they will be closely watching results online. Besides, the Karrs will have each other to lean on. “If you are together in a car for such a long time and you have to rely on each other, it really strengthens your personal relationship,” Benjamin says. “Of course it isn’t always easy, but in the end you need each other in this race and you need to work as a team.”

Tomorrow: Shigekazu and Ayako Yasui and their 1971 Nissan Fairlady Z432

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