Written by: Paul Hanson and George Coleman
The day is finally here after a whole year of planning and endless hours spent working on our Land Rover. We are setting off from Marble Arch in London and plan to break the world record of driving from London to Cape Town. This record currently stands at 10 days, 3 hours and 16 minutes, but we have planned to take a new route through Africa to beat this.
Previous record holders all went down the east part of Africa, whereas we are going to be travelling down West Africa. We plan to set the benchmark of a new record for driving West Africa as well as breaking the overall record.
The whole trip will be live tracked by Yellow Brick and our location will be sent every 15 minutes to the website map as well as our YB Races App, which you can download from a play or app store. The whole trip is set to raise money for two charities – one being the British Red Cross and the other Pro Track Anti-Poaching Unit in South Africa.
By no means has the route been taken lightly. Hours of research has gone in, and safety is of utmost importance, while remembering that there is a world record to break. Only a short train from the UK to France, and a short ferry from Spain to Morocco will be used to transport the vehicle over water. This cannot be avoided, but the rest of the journey is by land. Keeping to the spirit of the true records, there will be absolutely no flying over land or long ferry journeys. 18 countries have to be passed through and 11 of them require visas prior to departure. The total cost of the visas comes to over £1,000 each, with huge amounts of paperwork, not to mention the time that it wastes. The route will cover 10,000 miles, which would be a challenge for any vehicle. We will have to take on the sands of the Sahara and the mud of the Congo, plus every pothole in between. Such harsh terrain requires an extremely tough and durable vehicle, so the team decided to use a Land Rover.
With a limited budget we decided to buy a Discovery 2 TD5. We found one that had a lot of kit on it at a great price. Once we had the Landy it was time to start servicing it and getting it running perfectly. First was the full service, including a change of all oils and a full new exhaust. However, this was just the start to the improvements. A full single bed with an extension was welded and built into the back, which allows one driver to sleep while the other drives. The second modification to the back was adding in a 200-litre fuel tank, which has an electric pump to the main tank. We knew the Land Rover TD5 engine was not running to its optimal performance, and this needed to be addressed prior to leaving. Turbo Active kindly sponsored us with a hybrid turbo, built with an oversized compressor and uprated thrust bearing kit. Not only that, but they took the old one and reconditioned it as a spare for the team.
With these upgrades the Landy picked up significant differences in torque and acceleration. Just to make sure there will be no issues on the trip, the radiator has been changed with a full upgrade of silicone pipes all round.
Next to come was a huge sponsorship from Britparts. They supplied the team with a full Super Gaz suspension 2” lift upgrade. Complete front hubs, fan, belts and tensioners, and whole change of brakes and pads calipers. All this was an essential upgrade for the Landy, making it more durable and safer for the world record attempt. Goodridge sponsored and custom-made the brake lines to accommodate the new suspension lift and upgrade. SuperPro gave the team a full set of polyurethane bushes to help with the harsh terrain and improved handling. Now they know the Land Rover can take on Africa.
Halo Performance Lighting sponsored the team with two LED spot bars. These spot bars are made to such high quality and the amount of light they produce is truly amazing. The lights will make sure that the team can see all obstacles in the road at night. Once these were fitted, the Land Rover was nearly ready for the trip.
A few extra protective items were added around the diffs, fuel tank and front bumper. .
The team would like to say a huge thank you to all the sponsors.
Time to take on this record and break it!