Audi A6 ultra, two drivers, one tank of fuel – how many borders can they cross?
The RAC and Audi are joining forces to set a new world record for the greatest number of countries driven to on one tank of fuel.
The #RecordRoadTrip will begin in Maastricht in the Netherlands on Tuesday 9 June with motoring journalist Andrew Frankel and racing driver Rebecca Jackson taking turns at the wheel of an Audi A6 ultra.
Driving almost continuously, using as little fuel as possible to maximise their all-important miles-per-gallon figure, the pair will make their way on a carefully planned route from the Netherlands through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany and Italy towards the Balkans.
The route has been painstakingly picked by the RAC, which has more than 100 years’ experience of providing European breakdown cover for members, trying to avoid the mpg-sapping effects of built-up, congested towns and cities, motorways and mountains.
An Audi A6 ultra was chosen for the record-setting adventure, not only because of its excellent fuel economy combined with a large 73-litre tank, but also because it is a ‘standard’ executive class production car, the like of which is regularly driven through Europe by British holidaymakers every summer. The car has not been modified in any way other than being fitted with fuel-efficient, low rolling resistance tyres.
RAC #RecordRoadTrip coordinator Simon Williams said: “We’re confident 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.
The Audi A6 ultra can do 67.3 miles to the gallon so we are looking at one tank of diesel taking Andrew and Rebecca over 1,000 miles, but driving a route of this length is never going to be straightforward and there will no doubt be many challenges along the way. That said, for most people, driving in Europe is usually far less onerous than they expect it to be.
In order for the RAC and Audi to set a new Guinness World Record for the most countries driven to on a single tank of fuel we had to start the attempt in mainland Europe as ferry or rail Channel crossings are not allowed.
Jon Zammett, head of Audi UK public relations, said: “With the RAC we are planning a serious record-setting run with all the detailed planning you would expect from a German car maker.
“At a time when MPG is a top priority we are using an A6 ultra to set a new world record, using real world parameters. It’s truly astounding how efficient our executive car can be in normal use. We are demonstrating advanced fuel efficiency and just how far an A6 ultra can travel on a single fill-up. By traversing Europe for as little as £88* (€123) in fuel costs this record trip will hammer the point home.“
Andrew Frankel, who is known to readers of the RAC Club Digital Magazine and to motorists generally as a trusted car reviewer, has prior experience of long-distance, fuel-efficient driving challenges having driven a car from the North African coast back to the UK on a single tank of fuel.
Andrew said: “I wanted to be involved in setting a record that stands the test of time, but 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. Add to that competing with Rebecca for the best mpg figure and you have the makings of a real challenge.”
Rebecca Jackson is well-known in the motoring world as a racing driver, television presenter and journalist. She is currently planning to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016.
Rebecca added: “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.”
Roadside assistance for the #RecordRoadTrip team will be provided by the RAC’s new Patrol Ambassador of the Year, Ben Wilson from Manchester, who will follow the record-attempt car all the way from the Netherlands to wherever it eventually runs out of fuel.
RAC’s Simon Williams added: “While the RAC can’t be right behind everyone that drives on the continent our five-star, market-leading European breakdown cover is the next best thing as it gives that all-important reassurance that you and your vehicle will be taken care of should you be unlucky enough to have something go wrong.”