2018 Great Race to Start in Buffalo, New York

April 11, 2017


Great Race director Jeff Stumb was in Buffalo, New York this week to announce the 2018 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty will start in that city at the Pierce Arrow Museum. The Great Race had an overnight stop at the museum in 2012 but it will be the first time it has started in Buffalo. The race will start Saturday, June 23, 2018, and finish in Nova Scotia, Canada, on Sunday, July 1.

In a few weeks the people on the 2017 Great Race waiting list will have an opportunity to secure a guaranteed spot in the 2018 event and participants in this summer’s race will be able to enter in July. New York natives Howard and Doug Sharp brought their two winning Great Race cars — a 1911 Velie which won the 2011 event and a 1916 Hudson which won the 2015 race — to the announcement. See the press release below for additional information.

2018 Great Race to start in Buffalo June 23

Buffalo, New York, will host the start of the 2018 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty Saturday, June 23, race organizers have announced. The Great Race, the world’s premiere old car rally, will bring 120 of the world’s finest antique automobiles to town for the $150,000 event.

“We are pleased to be working with Jim Sandoro and the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum to bring the Great Race to Buffalo for the start in 2018,” event director Jeff Stumb said.

Teams and cars from Japan, England, Germany, Canada and every corner of the United States will converge in western New York with vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916. “There are more than 450 people just in our entourage from all around the world,” Stumb said. “And they will be spending four and five days in Buffalo before the start of the race getting ready for their 9-day, 2,300-mile adventure.” The race will finish July 1 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean as part of the city’s Canada Day festivities.

Along the route, competitors will travel two and a half days eastward through the state of New York before zig-zagging around New England. The last few days of the event will travel through the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island before finishing in Nova Scotia. It will be the first time the Great Race has ever taken place in the Atlantic Time Zone. Lunch and overnight cities along the 2018 route are still being determined and will be announced this summer.

The Great Race, which began 35 years ago, is not a speed race, but a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret check points along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.

Cars start – and hopefully finish – one minute apart if all goes according to plan. The biggest part of the challenge other than staying on time and following the instructions is getting an old car to the finish line each day, organizers say.

Each stop on the Great Race is free to the public and spectators will be able to visit with the participants and to look at the cars for several hours. It is common for kids to climb in the cars for a first-hand look.

Cars built in 1972 and earlier are eligible, with most entries having been manufactured before World War II. In the 2016 Great Race a 1916 Hudson Indy Racer won the event from California to Illinois.

A 1916 Hudson Pikes Peak Hillclimber, a 1916 Hudson Four Passenger Speedster, a 1916 Chevrolet Phaeton, a 1917 Peerless Racer and a chain-driven 1918 American LaFrance Speedster are the oldest cars scheduled to be in the 2017 Great Race from Jacksonville, Florida, to Traverse City, Michigan. The 2018 winners will again receive $50,000 of the $150,000 total purse.

Over the decades, the Great Race has stopped in hundreds of cities big and small, from tiny Austin, Nevada, to New York City. “When the Great Race pulls into a city it becomes an instant festival,” Stumb said. “Last year we had five overnight stops with more than 10,000 spectators on our way to having 250,000 people see the Great Race during the event.”

The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae and it takes its name from the 1965 movie, The Great Race, which starred Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk. The movie is a comedy based on the real life 1908 automobile race from New York to Paris. In 2004, Tony Curtis was the guest of the Great Race and rode in his car from the movie, the Leslie Special.

The Great Race gained a huge following from late night showings on ESPN when the network was just starting out in the early 1980s. The first entrant, Curtis Graf of Irving, Texas, is still a participant today.

The event’s main sponsors are Hemmings Motor News, Hagerty, Coker Tire and Reliable Carriers.

For more information, go to www.greatrace.com or contact Jeff Stumb at jeff@greatrace.com or by calling him at 423-648-8542.

14 comments about “2018 Great Race to Start in Buffalo, New York”

  • Great news! Saint John, New Brunswick, is one of our international stomping grounds…having lived there for 7 years. And our Support Crew, Lloyd and Linda Hodgin, call New Brunswick HOME. It appears the chances are “good” of having their great support once again, in 2018!!!! Yippee!

  • I went to college in Buffalo and used to love going to the pub and later the Museum. Marking this on my calendar!

  • What’s the chances a freshly retired airline pilot join the ’18 race? I have a couple really dependable old rides just waiting to get out on the road !!!

    • as a former fighter pilot, I can promise that you would love it…not exactly an inexpensive event…. navigator needs to be a math wiz….driver needs to stay spot on airspeed…the event is wicked fun from start to finish… a low maintenance car is a plus..there a couple of shorter events around the country that can help you get ready. Happy to answer any questions.

    • I have nothing but the desire to be in this event. I am David L Stringer. I would like to share my thoughts with you if you are looking for a co-driver.

      Call 3174124513 or text and or email my @ balloonstringer@gmail.com.

      Regards,

      David L Stringer

  • Just think chicken wings in Buffalo, fiddleheads in New Brunswick, lobster in PEI and maybe a chance to meet Anne of Green Gables all in one trip!

  • Hi Jeff:
    We (Dana Fraser and myself) were participants in the 2016 race with my 1936 Phaeton Ford.
    As you may recall we had a lot of over heating problems as well as a generator issue.
    We have restored the car and are ready to compete and give it our best effort again.
    I know we are too late to get into this years race but please save me a spot in the 2018 race.

  • As a driver in the X Cup Gilmore Car Museum entry The Great Race is a chance of a lifetime, our kids will talk about the rest of their lives. I encourage any high school or college team to participate…….you will not regret the experience. Brad Wire

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