A Volkswagen Touareg TDI SUV has just broken the world record for the Pan-American Highway journey down through America. It took a team of three drivers 11 days, 17 hours and 22 minutes to complete the 16,000 mile (26,000km) journey.
The new record was a full three days ahead of previous record, which involved travelling through 14 different countries, from Latin America to Canada and Alaska.
Lead by Rainer Zietlow, the team started the trip on July 2 at the southern end of the highway in Argentina, and drove almost non-stop until they arrived at the finish line set up in Alaska.
During their drive the team alternated in five-hour driving stints, day and night, only stopping for fuel and necessities. Zietlow, manager of German car event agency Challenge4 GmbH, spoke about the journey in a recent report. He said,
“We were able to overcome every weather challenge along the way, and our fueling and transportation stops ran like clockwork. Thanks to our sponsors, we were outfitted with a vehicle that could handle the demanding driving schedule and challenging conditions, and had amazing technical and driver support along the way.”
Driving the world’s longest highway wasn’t just for the sake of breaking the record either, Zietlow annnounced he would also donate 10 euro cents for every kilometre travelled to two villages in the Latin America, in conjunction with Plan International – a charity organisation which focuses on helping out Latin American countries and bringing children out of poverty.
The vehicle in question that made the journey was a Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel SUV, which features a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine producing 176kW of power and 550Nm of torque. The SUV was chosen due to its long-range fuel capacity and its high durability diesel engine.