RAC Cars News


RAC And Audi In World Record Fuel Economy Challenge

By raccars Published

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The RAC and Audi are to find out just how many countries you can visit on a single tank of fuel – and hopefully set a new world record in the process.

The RAC #RecordRoadTrip gets underway on Tuesday 9 June in Maastricht, in the Netherlands. Motoring journalist Andrew Frankel and racing driver Rebecca Jackson will then try to visit as many European countries as possible before the fuel tank runs dry.

Driving an Audi A6 ultra turbodiesel, they plan to drive through Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany and Italy, before heading further East towards the Balkans.

They have to start in continental Europe because official Guinness World Record rules state no ferries or trains can be used: this would rule out using the Channel Tunnel…

The Audi executive saloon, which is completely standard, has a combined average fuel economy of 67.3mpg; with its 73-litre fuel tank, this theoretically gives a range of over 1,000 miles, so the team are hopeful they can cross 10 or more borders.

An Audi spokesman revealed a surprising extra fact too – if they’re successful, the #RecordRoadTrip team will have traversed Europe for just £88: that’s the price of a single tankful for the Audi diesel…

RAC route planner

The RAC route planner has been used by experts to map a route that avoids busy European cities, fast motorways and fuel-sapping mountain climbs. Using online tools to set the flattest, most fuel-efficient route possible has been another crucial element of the pre-event planning.

The combination of all the elements means RAC #RecordRoadTrip coordinator Simon Williams is confident. He told us he hopes “the combination of two skilled drivers, a highly fuel efficient Audi A6 Ultra and a route that takes in the most possible countries in the least fuel-taxing way will lead to a hard-to-beat record that covers at least 10 countries, hopefully more”.

Williams remained realistic, though. “Driving a route of this length is never going to be straightforward and there will no doubt be many challenges along the way.” He is keen to reassure the record-challenge team though: “For most people, driving in Europe is usually far less onerous than they expect it to be.”

Competitive element

There’s a competitive element between the two drivers as well: a prize is on offer for the pilot that returns the best average fuel economy during their run. RAC Club Digital Magazine writer Frankel is under no illusions: “I know that staying focused on the economy display, the sat nav, the speedo and the road, at three in the morning, in unfamiliar territory, is going to be exceedingly tough.”

This hesitation is despite the motoring journalist’s previous experience in driving a car from the North African coast back to the UK – again, on a single tank of fuel.

Racer Jackson is more confident though. “Most people won’t think of me in terms of fuel-efficient driving, but if you’ve ever tried to handle a racing car in the wet then you’ll know how important smooth control is. I think this will help to give me the edge over Andrew in fuel economy, but no matter who proves to be the best our healthy competition should help us set a strong record.”

And when it runs out of fuel..?

But what happens when the Audi does finally run out of fuel? The RAC has planned for that too – RAC Patrol Ambassador of the Year Ben Wilson will follow the record-attempt Audi throughout the run, to provide roadside assistance for when it does finally run dry of fuel.

This is where the RAC five-star European breakdown part comes in: the RAC “can’t be right behind everyone that drives on the continent,” said Williams, “but our five-star, market-leading European breakdown cover is the next best thing”.

Worth bearing in mind if you’re planning your own ‘as many countries on a single tank’ world record challenge… although it may be best to follow Andrew and Rebecca’s progress first – either online at www.recordroadtrip.com or on Twitter, via @recordroadtrip or #RecordRoadTrip

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