K1 Speed Finishes Runner-Up in 2019 Peking to Paris Rally
When K1 Speed entered the Baltic Rally in 2017 to promote our international franchise program, we promised it would be “the first of many rallies”. Therefore, we’re sticking to our word. Last year we entered the Road to Saigon Rally and this year we’re delighted to announce that K1 Speed finished runner-up in the 2019 Peking to Paris Rally!
The Peking to Paris Rally is the most challenging classic car rally in the world and tested the endurance of both car and drivers.
A Very Brief History of the 1907 Peking to Paris Rally
This historic rally originally ran in 1907 with five participants. They navigated the over 9,000-mile distance between Peking (now present-day Beijing, China) to Paris. The grand prize was simply a magnum bottle of Mumm champagne. No rules were set. Simply, the first person to arrive gets the bubbly.
In the end, Italian Prince Scipione Borghese (despite his 900-mile detour in St Petersburg for a team dinner) won the rally. There was only one non-finisher. A Contal tricycle broke down in the desert, leaving its occupants to barely survive the harsh conditions.
The Modern Incarnation
K1 Speed entered the seventh-ever running of the rally, following in the footsteps of the 1907 original. The route took participants in cars produced up to 1976. The route was a variety of road conditions – from rocky off-road trails to stunning passes. Accommodations were just as varied. Some nights were in luxurious hotels, others in isolated desert camping spots.
The rally started in Beijing. They then traveled through Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, and Belgium before arriving 36 days and 8,500 miles later in Paris, France.
K1 Speed raced the same ’73 Porsche 911, rally-prepped by the renowned Tuthill Porsche, that was driven in the Baltic Classic and Road to Saigon. Other vehicles ranged from a 1975 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow to a 1907 Contal Mototri Tricycle driven by a a couple of Belgians who sought redemption from the original race .
K1 Speed’s Runner-Up Finish
K1 Speed competed in the Classic Category, which consisted of 72 production cars built after 1941 and before 1978. Competition included everything, from a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air to a 1975 Ferrari 208 GT4.
Team K1 Speed endured harsh, rugged landscapes, hailstorms, torrential downpours, and other extreme punishment throughout the 35-day marathon rally. At times, a tent in the middle of the desert provided the only form of rest. Sometimes, their car was their accommodation for the evening.
In the initial stages, K1 Speed was in a very respectable seventh place, despite some early mechanical setbacks. However, it didn’t take long before we put the pedal down and made up some time.
Soon, the mighty Porsche was 5th, then 3rd, sandwiched between two speedy Datsun 240Z rally racers. But were we content with just finishing on the podium? No way.
On Day 30, while racing from Latvia to Poland, K1 Speed at last swept past the 240Z into the runner-up position. There it remained for the final handful of days. Ultimately, the race-winning Leyland P76 beat the K1 Speed Porsche by only two and a half minutes. Considering the days and miles involved, that’s as close to a photo-finish as you can get.
Tears were shed, laughter was shared, and nerves were shredded, but we’ll never forget the 2019 Peking to Paris Rally.
To get an idea of what K1 Speed encountered (and for some great action shots of our Porsche in action) watch the highlights video below!
To read more about the rally, including full results, videos, and reports, click the button below:
The Limited-Edition Shirt
The charcoal grey shirt features the historic Peking to Paris rally plate on the front left. The back of the shirt features the Porsche 911 rally car. The logos of K1 Speed and its partners are printed on the sleeves to create that modern racing shirt look. Overall, it’s a striking product that any racing and classic car enthusiast will want to wear.
The International Franchise
With over 40 locations around the world, K1 Speed has branched out from being a great Californian go-kart venue to an amazing international entertainment destination. Through the company’s International Franchise opportunity, K1 Speed now finds itself in Mexico, South Korea, Canada, China, Puerto Rico, and France. We’re currently under construction in Panama, Italy, and Kuwait with more exciting locations in the planning phase.