Rainer Zietlow and his German teammates, Carlos Fernandez and Marius Biela, completed their 16,000 mile journey from Argentina to Alaska in 11 days, 17 hours and 22 minutes of non-stop driving - beating the previous record by three days. The team chose a Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel to transverse the Pan-American Highway through 14 countries and several climate changes and on various terrains.
Zietlow and company left Argentina on July 2 traveling from the southern-most tip of Argentina through Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States, and Canada before arriving at the highway's end at Deadhorse, Alaska on July 13.
"Our adrenaline is still pumping after setting the new world record on the Pan-American Highway," said Rainer Zietlow, manager of the German car event agency, Challenge4 GmbH, after finishing the Challenge. "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."
Teammates drove around the clock trading the wheel every five hours during the epic journey. Drivers faced a variety of road conditions: a blinding sandstorm in Chile, and muddy roads in northern Alaska, among others.
Zietlow and his crew made the world record journey not only to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Pan-American Highway but also for charity. They will donate 10 euro cents for each kilometer driven to children in two villages in Latin America through the charitable organization Plan International.
The trip was documented through blog posts and tracked by video showing their progress on a live map on the team's TDI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge website.