• Oct 16th 2007 at 12:33PM
  • 20
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If you were scouring the interwebs yesterday, you might have come across a story about Team Polizei's record-breaking transcontinental run from New York to L.A. Our friends over at Jalopnik were present at the start and finish lines, with Spinelli seeing Alex Roy and Dave Maher off from the Classic Car Club in NYC, and Davey G. present at the Santa Monica pier when the team arrived 31 hours and four minutes later – substantially undercutting the previously record of 32:07. A Wired article went live late yesterday detailing the players, the tech and the run itself, and yours truly has been in contact with Mr. Roy as he's planned for the ensuing media blitz.

While the ethical implications of maintaining an average speed of over 90 mph over a day-and-a-half can (and will) be endlessly debated, we're here to cover, not condone. After we signed a non-disclosure agreement, we were afforded the opportunity to read Roy's book and were provided with all the meticulously maintained details of the team's high-speed excursion westward. If you're interested in the background, the story and the man behind the madness, follow the jump. If you're patently disgusted with the idea, feel free to move on to the rest of the industry news you've come to expect.

The Book

The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World, is set to go on sale in bookstores everywhere today. The release of Roy's tome, coinciding with articles in Esquire and Wired, runs right after the statute of limitations expire on the crimes committed by the driving duo in over a dozen states last October. The book itself is Roy's memoir, spanning the last five years, during which his father passed away from cancer, he was exposed to Claude Lelouch's Rendezvous, the planning of his own Lelouch-inspired high-speed run through NYC and his subsequent entrance into the exorbitantly high-stakes world of rallying.

Roy's story is compelling enough, but the onus for his adventures – the search for the illusive "Driver" and the underground racing world in which he lives – smacks of a man trying to justify an existence that would otherwise be disregarded as reckless and selfish. That said, Roy's book highlights a side of the rally world that is rarely seen; sober souls who pour meticulously over the minutia, employing the latest high-tech gadgetry to track everything from weather patterns to construction zones, and choosing vehicles based on their balance and functionality, rather than their high-visibility and even higher price tags. Research, reconnaissance, race-training and rampant risk avoidance are the essential tools to not only rally safely, but to arrive at the head of the pack. Unfortunately, it's obvious that this is a small subsect of the rallying population – most are seemingly ignorant socialites with disproportionately more money than skill, taking to the roads in hyper-exotica with limited knowledge of the risks involved and even less regard for the consequences of one misplaced wheel -- a far cry from the raison d' etre that originally inspired Brock Yates to thumb his nose at the double-nickel three decades ago.

The Run

After four years of rallying around the world under his belt, Roy tapped everyone from childhood friends to the director of 32 Hours and 7 Minutes, Cory Welles, to aid and document his run across the States. Delving into the archives procured by Welles' research for her movie, along with his own eight-day-a-week investigations, Roy's exploration of the history of rallying in the U.S. gave him a special insight into what was necessary to break the record held by the team of David Diem and Doug Turner, who ran a specially-prepped Ferrari 308 during the 1983 U.S. Express, clocking the fabled, and often contested, time of 32:07.

After one reconnaissance run that took just over 34 hours and another failed attempt caused by a clogged fuel filter on the team's 2000 E39 BMW M5, Jon Goodrich, Roy's co-driver, stepped aside and Dave Maher, the man that accompanied Roy on one of his first rallies, took up the challenge. Two years worth of research and over $150,000 was spent prepping for the high-speed assault, and Roy had every intention of documenting the trip in detail. The team of co-conspirators included a number of close friends and acquaintances, including Paul Weismann, who piloted a Cessna in a dual effort to film the drive and identify potential hazards (read: traffic, cops, etc.) along the way.

Roy, Maher and the M5 were beyond well prepared for the journey, with the driving duo overly aware of every possible nuance and scenario that could influence their trek. The BMW was outfitted with scanners, GPS navigation, a night-vision camera and a number of other technologies that we'll be covering in more detail later in the week.

When the team arrived at the Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles, they had traveled 2,795 miles, breaking enough traffic laws to suspend their licenses in 13 states more times than we, and you, have fingers and toes to count. According to Roy, the run could be confirmed through the use of GPS tracking, gas and toll receipts, real-time video that was shot both outside and within the M5, along with the assembled eyewitnesses to the event. Naturally, no authoritative body will confirm any of this, as certifying something so patently illegal would open the floodgates of unimaginable legal repercussions.

We're still amazed that such a feat was accomplished given the congested roads we're forced to endure on a daily basis. But Roy and Maher, utilizing every advantage in their arsenal and untold amounts of planning have done it. 31 hours and four minutes stands as the new record, and the debate about its purpose and meaning has officially begun.

The Man - Team Polizei
The Movie - 32 Hours and 7 Minutes
The Maps - Wired Tracks the Trek with the help of Alex Roy and Google Earth
The History - Will Wright's Run

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      So these guys had a support helicopter looking out ahead of them and a scanner that decrypted most police transmissions.

      Now that's the way to do it!

      My only question is how did they manage to time 3 peoples bowel movements?

      I've read Brock Yates' book about the Cannonball Run, and to do this in that time is amazing, especially considering the amount of cars on the road toady vs the 1970's.

      I recall a stoy Car and Driver did a few years back where they took a fuel efficient car and gutted it. They put in a bunch of extra fuel tanks and ate no solid foods for a week. They never stopped and drove 65 mph the entire way and managed to turn in a pretty good time. I can't find a link for that...anyone?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Cessna, not copter.

        We are talking 31hrs here. You can go a day without taking a dump. Or even longer. Now, urination...likely a bag, bottle, jar or jug.

        I saw the Rendevous videotape years ago. That was amazing and has led me to want to drive fast too! :)

        I did Denver to Philly in 33hrs. Solo. On Mellow Yellow and Tiger's milk bars.
        • 7 Years Ago
        They used gel packs to pee in. The gel hardens soon after they finish peeing. Oh obviously no time to s**t.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The article you refer to was called "Non-Stop Jetta" and it was sometime in the early 1980s (1982 or 1983, I think.)
      • 7 Years Ago
      IMHO. Drive faster and don't use wipers, let the rain wipe itself!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would be impressed if the aircraft wasn't used. To me, the excitement is getting across with just what you have in the car.

      Corey W.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Absolutely Badass. The preparation and attention to detail are amazing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This. Is. AWESOME.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nice achievement. What's the record for a solo run? I wondered this after I did Camp Pendleton, Calif. to Atlanta, Ga. in 37 hours, solo. I drove an '01 GTI 1.8T at the time. When my baby sister drove with me, we did the same run in 33. And she drove MUCH faster than I did. She actually scared me, so I went to sleep when she drove.
      "Damn, we're already through Mississippi?" I asked, wiping the sleep from my eyes.
      She looked at me like I was crazy. "Mississippi? We're 10 miles from HOME!"
      "What?!? One day, you're going to make some man a really good wife."
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is not a "rally."
        • 7 Years Ago
        Historically, yes, that's what "rally" has meant. "Gay" used to mean happy and joyful, but if someone said Alex Roy was a "gay rally driver" you wouldn't think he was a happy guy who drives outlaw cross country 'races.' You'd think he was a homosexual performance rally driver (not that there'd be anything wrong with that ;). Alex Roy is no more a rally driver than he is a homosexual.
      Lord Plye Wood
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mr. Roy describes his hobby in part as being "dangerous." I don't mind if someone's hobby is dangerous to THEM, but I do mind if it becomes dangerous to non-participants, like, maybe ME if I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      The first "Cannonballers" learned pretty early in the game that their childish pursuits were more trouble than they were worth. If Mr. Roy likes that sort of thing, why doesn't he go into WCR? Is he afraid he couldn't cut it?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why on earth did the cop video end right there?!?! WTF happened?
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you read the Wired article they pull off and pretend they are peeing in the ditch. A B&W car comes up the ramp and drives past them, but it turns out to be a Geek Squad VW Bug! They hear on the radio that the cop was still barreling down the freeway trying to catch them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Top Gear should have a race where instead of racing against something they always get bogged down with (buses, planes, trains, boats, etc.) they race against this guy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Could Jalopnik be on this guy's jock anymore than they already are? Unreal..
      • 7 Years Ago
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