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The Cannonball Run that takes place every year in Europe dpesn't have much in common with the Hollywood comedy it takes its name from. In fact, the goal of the modern-day race is not to finish in the least amount of time possible, but to finish with a specific average speed; 61 miles per hour, in the case of the 2008 event. So, while it may be initially shocking to hear that this year's race was won by a BRABUS smart fortwo, it actually makes sense considering that the smart was able to run the entire race averaging 35 miles per gallon. Therefore, while the other high-powered competitors were constantly stopping to refill their gas tanks, first-time competitors David Ward and Adrian Hull of the U.K. were able to motor along and wave as they gingerly passed them by. Score one for efficiency!

[Source: smart via AutoblogGreen]

Press Release:

smart car blasts away opposition in Cannonball Run

A smart fortwo gave its high-powered opposition plenty of 'fuel for thought' when it sprinted to victory in the Cannonball Run – a 3,000-mile dash across Europe inspired by the famous 80s film starring Burt Reynolds.

Life-long friends David Ward and Adrian Hull, from Essex, beat a long list of six-figure supercars in their five-year-old, second-hand smart fortwo BRABUS, which was the smallest car in the 40-vehicle field.

The event, which started at Sandown Park and took in France, Portugal and Spain with a finish in Brighton, saw the duo awarded first place for completing the route at the exact stipulated requirement of an average of 61mph.

It was the smart's impressive fuel economy that really provided the edge for the 46-year-olds and their Union Jack-liveried smart. The performance version of the iconic smart range, which features a 700cc, 74bhp, three-cylinder turbo engine, is capable of 53.3 miles per gallon when driven on the combined fuel cycle – a factor that enabled the car to spend less time at the petrol pumps than its thirstier rivals.

"The downfall of the bigger cars was that they were forced to stop so often, so while they kept overtaking us, we eventually went past them at the next petrol station when they needed to fill up again," said David, who runs an estate agency in South Woodford. "We kept at a decent speed and still averaged around 35 miles per gallon."

What made David and Adrian's victory even more remarkable was the fact that their smart has all of its original specification apart from a re-mapping kit and upgraded suspension. Competing in their first event of this kind, they were also the only entrants without an in-car satellite navigation system – preferring a traditional European road guide instead.

"Having entered for fun and to raise money for the NSPCC, it's fair to say that we were surprised to win and I suppose there is a 'David and Goliath' element to our victory," admitted David. "I think the other drivers initially thought it was a hoax that a smart had entered but they gave us more and more credit as the week went on and, at the end, they were genuinely pleased that we won.

"Whilst I think I've converted quite a few of them to the merits of smart ownership, the event has just strengthened my admiration for the car," added David. "The ride and economy are outstanding, you can park it anywhere and there is room for my golf clubs – it's just a great little car."

David and Adrian have automatically gained entry into next year's Cannonball Run but are now planning further adventures in their smart car including next year's Gumball Rally from Los Angeles to Miami and a drive from Land's End to John o'Groat's in just 12 hours.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Score 2 for efficiency AND fun! M3 vs Prius,

      • 6 Years Ago
      True rallies have always been an attempt to hit a time exactly. In fact, Curta mechanical calculators were once very popular with rally teams, as it would allow them to calculate the speed they needed to go to get to the destination right on time and adjust it as they went.

      Congrats to this team on winning.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ B:
        That's why they had intermediate control points, and you couldn't stop - if you were caught you would be penalized at least, if I remember well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I had a chance to play with a curta once, such a cool device, especially when you read the history about how and when, and under what circumstances it was invented.

        I wonder if its possible to just drive there as fast as you can, and then just wait out of sight of the finish line and at the exact time just drive through, your average speed is still identical.

        Very cool nonetheless. Congrats to a rookie team
      • 6 Years Ago
      The smart would stop just as frequently as other cars, since it has a smallish (8.7 gal US) gas tank.

      But of course, that tank would fill up more quickly than a 12 or 16 or 20 gallon tank.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I competed in a similar race last year - the Nevada SilverState Classic challenge. It's a lot more fun when you're trying to achieve a specific time rather than an all out attack.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Smart Cars have only an 8.67 gallon tank. That's only about 300 miles range. My high-powered 911 does way better than that.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Re David and Adrian's victory on behalf of the NSPCC here in the UK, whilst its most admirable its a great pity that they hadn’t done their research on a charity which along with Closed Family Courts, Social Services and CAFCASS are responsible by virtue of their defined role as promoted by government to be part and parcel of a Nanny State at the expense and removal of Parental Responsibility Rights. Reality being that well over 600,000 children have been denied contact with their fathers and over One million grandparents since the Labour Party took office in 1997. Thus questions must be raised as to why the NSPCC see's the need to acquire an absolute fortune by pulling at the heartstrings of the David & Adrian’s of this world. Conclusion! The NSPCC is nothing more than a commercial enterprise who uses the word children as an emotive word. And if proof were needed that this be true then just read the following article by the founder of Childline (now in the hands of the NSPCC) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1033483/I-launched-Childline-protect-vulnerable--unleashed-politically-correct-monster.html
      Human Rights we parents may have but in word only and subject to State Control, hence the reason why the NSPCC appose both the Human Rights Act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child thus totally undermining Parental Responsibility Rights for their own ends.

      • 6 Years Ago
      So if someone had thought to drive a Euro Focus with the Diesel, it could have passed the Smart at the filling station and won?
        • 6 Years Ago
        And missed even more bitchin parties.
        • 6 Years Ago
        well if they wanted to do it properly they'd buy a polo bluemotion and get around 75mpg (imperial).. the focus is no better than anything else in its class so that was an odd choice to make.
      • 6 Years Ago
      its no tlonger about speed
      its about going to the filling stations the least amount of times
      why not try a mini cooper d with start stop tech?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Garmin would be great for this, as its estimated ETA in the lower left corner is usually pretty accurate ;)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I bet there'll be a slew of first timers in diesels and subcompacts next year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Their win is probably also due to the fact the other cars were all getting stopped by cops and theirs was the only one too slow to break the speed limit.

      Someone should try an Ariel Atom diesel
        • 6 Years Ago
        we topped out at 120mph in places
        www.zoomzoomsmart.com Blog and Photos shows us on the way to 120 two adults, luggage. and a full tank of petrol, and no it wasn't downhill either.
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