The Great Race is an antique, vintage, and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally on public highways. It is not a test of top speed. It is a test of a driver/navigator teams ability to follow precise course instructions and the cars (and teams) ability to endure on a cross-country trip. The course instructions require the competing teams to drive at or below the posted speed limits at all times.
Each day the driver and navigator team receives a set of course instructions that indicate every turn, speed change, stop, and start that the team must make throughout the day (usually 220 to 250 such instructions per day). Along the course route there will be from 4 to 7 checkpoints recording the exact time that the team passes that point. The objective is to arrive at each checkpoint at the correct time, not the fastest. The score for each team is the result of the team’s ability to follow the designated course instructions precisely. Every second off the perfect time (early or late) at each checkpoint is a penalty point. This format is much more mentally demanding than a flat-out cross-country race. Also, GPS or computers are not permitted and odometers are taped over. This is a test of human mental agility and endurance as well as classic car endurance, rather than programming capability. The course avoids timed segments on interstate highways, opting instead for scenic local, county, and state highways whenever possible through some of the prettiest country in the United States.
Any car up through model year 1974 is eligible to enter. For purposes of scoring, the older the vehicle, the better the age factor adjustment the team will receive. Newer vehicles are permitted in Regional Rallies. But for the Great Race, the vehicle must be 1974 or older.
The rules reward older cars by giving a percentage reduction of the teams score based on the age of the vehicle. The older the model year, the bigger the percentage deduction the team receives. So the decision on which car you should use is a mixture of (1) which car will be most mechanically reliable over varying terrain on a 2000+ mile cross-country trip; (2) which will provide you with the most accurate feedback on your speed; (3) which will give you the best premium age deduction (older is better); and finally (4) which will be most comfortable for two people for 8-10 hours a day over 9 days?
It varies from year to year, but a 1911 Velie won the event in 2011. And in 2012, we had a 1907 Renault and a 1914 Ford Model T, and both cars finished the race. In 2019, a 1909 Buick started and finished the race.
A Driver and Navigator (in the same car of course) can switch places anytime and as often as they want throughout the day.
The entry fee pays for your entry in the rally/contest, as well as banquets, festivities and activities (such as museums). The funds are used to pay for the awards and the prize purse as well as for the logistics of the race (well have 30+ volunteers and paid staff members who will be conducting all the behind the scenes logistics traveling with the tour and staying at the same hotels). Lunch is also provided for the driver/navigator teams. For those teams who also bring along a support crew and/or spouses and family, we do not permit them to follow along or drive on the course during the day, but provide them a route to allow them to go directly to the next overnight stop and wait for the team to arrive. So, those folks would need to buy their lunch. (Many support crews wind up doing some great sight-seeing along the way.) Dinner is also provided for the entire team including listed support personnel. Many of the hotels we have lined up will be providing breakfast. All other meals, snacks and such are paid for by the participants themselves. You will pay for your hotel rooms, which should be booked through the secure website provided by our designated travel agent. We have negotiated reduced rates at each of the hotels that are lower than their standard rates. We do not receive any money and have done this simply to help save our racers and their support crews money and keep everyone together in one or two hotels as much as possible. All hotels are good quality chain motels such as Hampton Inn, Radisson, Marriott, Holiday Inn, etc, and recently constructed or totally renovated.
In addition to the difference in the Entry Fee, a business/corporate entry permits the team to affix a sponsoring businesss logo (subject to certain dimensional constraints) to the sponsored vehicle; and the team is grouped with other corporate entries near the front of the pack each day ahead of Private entries. Also, in all marketing material, the sponsoring business would be referred to as a team sponsor. On the flip side, a Private Entry gets you in the race.
If you go out and get a business to contribute towards your entry fee, and they want or require you to put signage on the car, then you are a “Corporate/Business” entry and must pay the full corporate fee.
Yes. So long as your contributor understands that no business signage or advertising for their company will be permitted on your car or your person, you can qualify as a “Private” entry. Otherwise, we really are not concerned about where you get your money — only if you are trying to advertise for someone.
A Business/Corporate entrant pays an entry fee and is permitted advertising signage (within prescribed dimensions) on the vehicle they are sponsoring. Event sponsors like Hemmings, Hagerty, Coker, etc. pay a substantial event sponsorship fee and will be permitted to have signage placed on each participating car in the race, all support vehicles, and all official Great Race Vehicles, as well as in all programs, on all official race apparel, and on the finish gates’ entry banners and signage. Part of the reason we are able to keep the registration fees within the realm of reasonableness is because of such event sponsors.