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A hundred years ago, pioneers of the motor world went from New York to Paris on the Great Race, driving 22,000 miles (35,000 km) across America, Asia and Europe to showcase the achievements of the then-new technology called the car. A hundred years later, the story repeats and the centennial race will showcase a new class, called Innovation, in which renewable-fuel cars and a group of ten hybrid cars will join the main fleet of vintage cars in retracing the 22,000-mile route.

The Innovation Class participants have to complete the race driving as efficiently as possible, with some "Hypermilers" achieving 100 mpg. The aim is not only showcasing the highest technology possible but also modifying drivers' habits to improve mileage. Hybridfest Inc, the non-profit the runs the Madison, Wisconsin festival of the same name, is partnering in promoting this MPG Challenge that they hope will be the first of a series. Hypermiler Wayne Gerdes will be one of the participants after having recently driven his Prius 1,200 miles on one tank of gas.

The commemorative event will start May 30 in New York City and will finish in Paris, France on August 2, 2008.

[Source: Hybridfest and Great Race, writer Sam Abuelsamid contributed to this post]

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