Last year, Aston Martin employees shuttled in and out of Germany as they worked to put 30,000 miles on a Vantage in 30 days. Now comes word that Aston is placing the "Project 30,000" car in the hands of school teacher Richard Meredith and travel specialist Phil Colley, who will drive it from Tokyo to London using the Asian Highway.
The six-week journey is being run in collaboration with the UN and is intended to promote road safety in Asia while raising money for charity at the same time. The car now has over 100,000 miles on its odo and is liveried with a map of the Asian Highway route on its roof and sports the make Roads Safe logo and URL on its bodywork. The only modifications made for it in preparation for the trip are a slightly raised suspension, reinforced sump guard and full spare.
If you think that driving to any point on the European or Asian mainland from Tokyo sounds like pretty a neat trick, you're not alone. We looked at the Wikipedia entry on the highway, however, and it confirmed that the AH1 portion uses a ferry line running between Fukuoka, Japan and Pusan, South Korea. While driving through 15 countries sounds like it could be rough, doing it in an Aston seems much more palatable.
More details in the press release after the jump.
[Source: Aston Martin]
Aston Martin – Driving Home Road Safety 2007
Two Britons are to drive a factory-prepared Aston Martin from Tokyo to London on an epic journey along the newly completed Asia-Pacific Highway bringing world attention to road safety awareness and raising money to help save children from deaths and injury on the roads.
The journey is being undertaken in collaboration with the United Nations. It will promote the UN-backed Road Safety Is No Accident and the Make Roads Safe campaigns. Both are aimed at increasing awareness of road safety to help reduce the shocking toll of road-related injuries and fatalities, particularly in developing nations. Driving Home Road Safety 2007 aims to raise €100,000 to provide Chinese Children with educational books on road safety.
Teacher Richard Meredith (58) and travel specialist Phil Colley (42) are to set off on the 25 th June from the InterContinental Hotel, Tokyo passing through 15 countries to arrive in central London some six weeks later.
Richard and Phil will be driving an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the same car that in June 2006, marked the celebration of the company's 30,000 th production car – where employees completed 30,000 miles in 30 days. This durability test car has gone on to accumulate 100,000 miles and is now set to become the first car ever to cross the full extent of the new Asia Highway network of roads, arriving in early August in Trafalgar Square, London – and in doing so achieving a place in the record books.
Much of the highway, which was first mooted 50 years ago and was completed last year, consists of improved roadways, but there are sections in central Asia which will test both the car and drivers to the full. This 10,000 mile journey will see the car travelling through: Japan, South Korea, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
The car has received minor modifications to allow it to contend with the expected road conditions. These include a strengthened sump guard, raised suspension and a full size spare wheel. The car will run on standard 18" wheels clad with Bridgestone tyres.
Richard Meredith said "I have dreamed of making this journey for two years. In Aston Martin I have found a partner with the confidence and enthusiasm to subject their car to a very public trial in the name of road safetyand the effort they have put into this has been simply terrific."
Dr. Ulrich Bez, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin commented: "As makers of high performance cars we have a special responsibility to promote safe road use. Our cars meet the highest standards of active and passive safety and our driver training courses promote responsible driving. This initiative takes our commitment further by helping to educate children on all aspects of road safety." Commenting on the challenge, Dr. Bez said: "Richard, Phil and the V8 Vantage face a tough journey ahead but I have every confidence that they will succeed."
About the Drivers
Richard (58) is a father-of-two from Newport Pagnell, Bucks. His co-driver Phil Colley (42) is from Kennington, South London. The pair first met in 2004 when they planned to navigate the full length of the Yangtze river across China but had to abandon the project when the tsunami struck South-east Asia.
About Aston Martin
Aston Martin is a company and a brand that has embraced change without compromising its worldwide reputation for understated style and elegance. An Aston Martin combines power and sporting ability with refinement, luxury and exceptional beauty.
In just six years, Aston Martin has revitalised its model line-up, starting with the Vanquish flagship in 2001, through to the 2007 V8 Vantage Roadster. The V8 Vantage - in both Coupe and Roadster form - joins the Vanquish S and the DB9, completing the first three model line-up in Aston Martin's history.
About the V8 Vantage
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was launched to critical acclaim at the 2005 Geneva Motor show. The Vantage is manufactured at Aston Martin's Headquarters at Gaydon, Warwickshire, UK, a facility that combines Aston Martin's renowned hand-built bespoke attributes with the technology required to manufacture the bonded aluminium VH architecture.
Exquisitely designed and detailed with class-leading agility and performance, Vantage is a practical 2-seater with a large tailgate providing access to a 300 litre rear luggage compartment.
The V8 Vantage benefits from numerous passive and active safety systems including dual stage front and side airbags, 3 stage crash structure, ABS, (Anti-lock brakes), DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), Traction Control, EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), EBA (Electronic Brake Assist) and PTC (Positive Torque Control).