MORE THAN 65 low-emission vehicles – some not seen on UK roads before – completed the second annual Brighton to London RAC Future Car Challenge on Saturday November 5.
The event, which was inaugurated last year, challenges entrants to use the least amount of energy driving the 60-mile route.
Those taking part ranged from enthusiasts driving their own vehicles to major car manufacturers including Nissan, BMW, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Renault, smart, Toyota, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Land Rover.
Many of the vehicles, such as the Land Rover Range_e, BMW Active-e and Volkswagen Golf Blue e-motion will not be on sale for two or more years and had rarely been seen on UK roads.
As well as low-emission conventional (internal combustion) engined cars, the entry list included electric vehicles, hybrid models and cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Many of those who took part are well- known motoring celebrities – including British Formula One legend and 1996 World Champion, Damon Hill OBE, Quentin Willson (TV presenter and magazine columnist), Gordon Murray (former F1 designer), Mark Goodier (Smooth Radio DJ) and Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs TV programme presenter).
Hill said: ‘I’m usually associated with high-speed motorsport, but today was very different we went off at the startline at Brighton driving slowly trying to conserve as much fuel as possible.
‘Today I was driving a Peugeot 508 for The Global Fuel Economy Initiative; it was a real eye opener and demonstrated what can be achieved with better driving style.’
There was a halfway stop at Central Sussex College, Crawley before entrants began arriving at the finish in Waterloo Place, Pall Mall from just after 10.30am.
‘Once again this has been an excellent event.’
They then paraded under RAC escort to Regent Street (via Piccadilly Circus) where they joined a display of more than 100 pre-1905 motor cars in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run International Concours d’Elegance in front of an estimated 250,000 audience.
The event was organised in three different entrants classes and seven vehicle categories – from small passenger classes to light commercial vehicles. There were five vehicle energy classes: Pure Electric (EV); Extended-Range/Plug-In Hybrid (E-REV, PHEV); Hybrid (HV, HEV); Hydrogen (HFEV); and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) – up to 110g/km CO2 emission fuelled by any legal means.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony in Regent Street, Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee, said: ‘Once again this has been an excellent event and I want to thank all the drivers and entrants and the many companies who put so much effort into making it a success.
‘It attracted a huge crowd along the route and here at the finish and has once again brought the future of motoring to the attention of the public.’
Overall winner was former Formula One designer Gordon Murray and his T.27.
Murray was thrilled. ‘It is the first time we have showcased the T.27 on the UK roads. This is the only event in the world that demonstrates real cars, in real conditions, that is measured independently and in the public eye. It’s a fantastic showcase for technology and the RAC should be proud of the event.
‘Last year we won with our petrol car the T.25 entry and this year our electric car the T.27. Both of which clearly demonstrates that lightweight is the biggest tool we have for reducing emissions. To win this event is truly special.’
The public choice award was presented by Sir David Prosser, Chairman Royal Automobile Club, along with Sally Boazman (aka Sally Traffic) from BBC Radio 2 to Delta Motorsport and their stylish Delta E-4 Coupe.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘This fantastic event captures the nostalgia and romance of UK’s motoring history, giving it relevance to the challenges of today.’