Philip Young and Paul Brace
At 5.28pm on Monday February 11th 2013 Philip Young and Paul Brace drove their Fiat Panda under Marble Arch at the end of their gruelling 10,000 mile drive from Cape Town to London shaving over a day off the previous best time ever achieved.10 Days, 13 Hours, 28 Minutes
The Panda Pair break two earlier world records.
Cape Town to London – 14 days, 19 hrs, 26 mins – Set in 1983 by Brigadier John Hemsley & his wife Dr. Lucy Hemsley driving a Range Rover V8.
London – Cape Town (either direction) – 11 days, 14 hrs, 11 mins – Set in 2010 by Mac MacKenney, Chris Rawlings & Steve MacKenney driving a Land Rover Td5.
In the record run follow up the Panda crew returned for a second interview on ITV's Meridian Tonight, who used some excellent clips of the Panda struggling against the battering of the North Kenya desert tracks. Autocar have carried two pages of Gerard Brown's photos and Octane have a five-page feature on the background and history of the trans-Africa record-breakers along with a summary of the Panda Pair's achievements. This follows on from various national newspaper reports including The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Star, The Daily Express and The Times who all reported on the Panda's success. (links in Press & Media, right)
What next for the Panda? Steve Cropley became the first journalist to drive the Panda on its return and will be featuring the car in a forthcoming issue of Autocar. Fiat UK have expressed keen interest to see the car tour various Fiat dealers around the country and Lord Montagu's National Motor Museum at Beaulieu have also expressed keen interest to see the car in their forthcoming exhbition, The Record Breakers, hoping the Panda can be parked alongside the land-speed record-break Bluebird.
Runnning like clockwork and timed to the minute Philip Young and Paul Brace drove their Fiat Panda under Marble Arch at precisely 17:28 GMT to claim two new World Records at the end of their epic 10,000 mile drive that started in Cape Town just 10 long days ago.
The Panda has Landed. It was bound to happen... The channel tunnel trains were running late so the Panda Pair had to endure another delay before popping out of the tunnel in Folkstone at 16:05 GMT. All that remains is the final dash through the rush hour traffic to Marble Arch.
It was a long and difficult night with snow in southern Italy causing a diversion to the east coast, and there was heavier snow around Geneva but the Panda Pair made it through and are on their final push towards Calais and Marble Arch. Philip has sent an update ...READ MORE ..
The Panda pair made excellent progress through the night and are now back on the original planned route, close to the Mont Blanc tunnel. They are ahead of their original schedule and coping well with some light snow cover.
During the last 24 hours snow has hit Italy all the way south to below Naples. To avoid higher roads we had a plan to divert to the Adriatic coast. Our hand was forced when the police closed the A3 and diverted all traffic to the east. This route is a little longer but hopefully will see the 3P's near Milan very early tomorrow. From their position at 20:00 GMT it is 900kms to Milan
Delayed by the knock on effect of recent troubles in Tunisia and after the usual document dramas the Panda Pair set sail for Palermo. Looking for breakfast and eager to continue their driving epic, Philip has sent an update ...READ MORE ..
There was a nervous wait for those watching the Yellowbrick tracker as the due sailing time passed and the Panda appeared to be on and off the ferry. But, eventually the 3P's were on their way to Sicily. ETA Palermo is likely to be around 11:00 GMT
At Tunis the 3P’s have driven 13,554kms in 197hrs 45m at an average of 68.54 kph... that’s 8,418 miles in 8 days 5hrs 45m at 42mph. Before falling asleep for a few precious hours waiting for the ferry to Sicily, Philip has sent an update ...READ MORE ..
It took the Panda Pair a few minutes less than 18 hours to cover the 1,550kms through Libya and just 60 minutes to complete the border formalities to see them on the road in Tunisia for the final African leg of their epic drive. A mere 600kms remain before the ferry to Europe.
Thirteen hours on the road in Libya and the Panda Pair see the consequences of war and experience the natural friendliness of the local people. Occasional road blocks briefly interrupt their progress so they save time by eating on the run ...READ MORE ..
At 6.45am local time Philip, Paul and the Panda arrived at the Egypt - Libya border to confront their greatest hurdle... could this be the end of their odyssey? There were warm smiles all round and after three hours nervous waiting they were on their way ...READ MORE ..
In Cairo the 3P's have driven over 10,700 kms from Cape Town and over 1,200 kms since entering Egypt at dawn this morning. They have been doing a little car maintenance and coping with an unwanted drama. Ahead lies a different challenge ...READ MORE ..
The crossing into Egypt went flawlessly (see new Gallery pictures), so the three P's had time for a tyre-shop pit stop on the outskirts of Luxor. A corner of the straw roof is held up by a pile of old tyres and more are piled on top to hold it down in a sandstorm. The worn front tyres are being swapped around using the spare and they hope to change the rear shocks at same time.
In the early morning light, on a barge heading across Lake Nasser watched over by the ancient Pharaohs the Panda Pair are making history as the first users of the new border crossing between Sudan and Egypt. This is the culmination of many months planning ...READ MORE ..
A few minutes before midnight the Panda Pair arrived in Wadi Halfa ready for their historic crossing into Egypt very early tomorrow morning. Since leaving Cape Town 5 days & 20 hours ago Philip and Paul have driven the remarkable Fiat Panda 9,500 kilometres.
The fuel tanks are full and they have food in their stomachs as the Panda Pair head north along the Nile to the next great challenge on their journey. Will their plans for a historic crossing into Egypt come together ...READ MORE ..
With the fuel guage hovering on zero the Panda Pair's nerves were tested to the limit during their all night drive towards the border between Ethiopia and Sudan at Metema. Philip's latest news update paints the picture ...READ MORE ..
The Panda Pair have had a very long and hard day in Ethiopia where the roads have been slower than expected and petrol has been hard to find. At midnight they have slipped a little behind the ideal schedule. Philip has sent an update from the Blue Nile Gorge ...READ MORE ..
Yesterday the Three P's conquered the notorious road from Mars. Early this morning they continued into Ethiopia where their biggest problem has been finding petrol supplies. Philip's latest blog update has just arrived ...
A new batch of photos is in the GalleryREAD MORE ..
The Panda Pair pulled into Moyale two hours sooner than the predicted 12 hrs. Philip texted... "Track ten times worse than last year. Car even surprised us, churning through deep sand with many troughs carved up by trucks". We also hear from Marsabit that the word on the street after they left was that they would never make it... They don't know Philip, Paul and the Panda.
The crew took time out at Marsabit to have a mechanic check the car. They have also recruited an armed guard and a mechanic to escort them 250kms through the night to Moyale. Their escorts have said it will take 12 hours (that's 13mph). We wish them well ...
The Panda crew stopped for breakfast at Barney's Bar a few kms south of the equator this morning. They also found time to send us some new pictures. Check out the photo gallery. Ahead lies the Marsabit hell-road section. Philip has sent a brief update from Barney's and there is a link to pre-start video in the Press & Media Coverage panel ...READ MORE ..
Three days in and 5,500kms behind them. A rapid passage through the border into Kenya had the Panda crew on the way to a Nairobi rendezvous with friends who helped them find a quick way through the regular morning traffic snarl-up.
The Panda crew have a long hard night ahead of them, coping with Tanzania’s speed bump infested roads where every few kms there are multiple vicious, unmarked bumps that are almost impossible to distinguish from shadows or tarmac colour changes. We have just received a text update from Philip ...READ MORE ..
Four hour delay in today's schedule after hassles at Tanzania border. Had to return for a missing stamp after 100 k and meeting a checkpoint. Had looked like another breeze through frontier formalities as Panda Pair had passports stamped in minutes all before the official opening time. Customs less helpful. Now running four hours late - our first real setback.
The crew snatched a few hours sleep in Mpika before returning to their relentless drive, aiming for the Tanzania border by 6am. The road is much harder now with potholes, broken trucks and dancing shadows that conspire to confuse the brain ...READ MORE ..
It's been another good day but Africa is becoming more challenging now. The Panda crew kept a lunch date before Lusaka but since then they've had to cope with heavy traffic, potholes and a tropical thunderstorm ...READ MORE ..
As dawn broke on Day Two the Panda crew reached the ferry crossing over the mighty Zambezi after their first all night drive. The crew's concern was whether all the advanced planning would have the pontoon ferry standing by for a speedy crossing...READ MORE ..
Eagle eyed Yellowbrick followers will notice that Philip and Paul have found time for a meal stop at KFC in Mafeking. They have made good time on day one but their first long night now lies ahead. Philip has also sent a blog update ...READ MORE ..
At 6.0am, a few minutes before sunrise in Cape Town, Philip and Paul began their epic drive. Today they follow the N1 & N12 through Kimberley and Mafeking to Ramatlabama then through Botswana to the Kazungula ferry. Good luck guys and stay safe...
This morning was a very early start to reach the studios of Expresso TV for their breakfast show then on for a Heart Radio interview before retiring to the Mount Nelson for a few hours rest and relaxation. Let's get on with the Record Run...READ MORE ..
After a few tense moments bringing the Panda back to life in Cape Town's docklands the boys have had a busy day of last minute preparation. There's been car washing, and eating, and shopping, and packing, all the usual last minute activities...READ MORE ..
The boys and Panda are at the Mount Nelson hotel where the car is receiving a scrub up after its long sea trip. Click the image to enlarge. Check out the map page to see where they are. The Yellowbrick tracker will be tracing their progress from 6am (04:00 GMT) on Friday.
Philip has been in Cape Town since Tuesday and Paul flies in early this morning. Their first job is to clear the Panda through customs and make it back to the Mount Nelson Hotel. Keep coming back, we'll post more updates whenever they find time to send us news.
Less than a week to go before our start from the Greek column gateway of the Mount Nelson hotel. Now it's almost time to catch the plane to Cape Town we get to thinking about the months of preparation and everything that might go wrong.READ MORE ..
Is this the ultimate test-drive for a reasonably-priced car?
In February Philip Young and Paul Brace are attempting to establish a new world record by driving nearly 1,000 miles a day for 10 days from Cape Town to London ...and they are driving a Fiat Panda, one of the smallest-engined cars you'll find on sale today.
The records in our sights... the British Army's, Guiness Book of Records, driving record has stood for 30 years, taking 14 days from Cape Town to London ...and it might just be possible to beat the outright World Record snatched two years ago by a three-man crew in a Land Rover Discovery as the best ever, 11½ day, drive from London to Cape Town. Can we do it?
We're also keen to leave some lasting benefit in our wheeltracks by raising lots of money for Farm Africa. We can't be sure to beat the record but please help us on the way by making a donation to Farm Africa. READ MORE ..
January 2013 is the 80th anniversary of the first record-run between London and Cape Town when a young Yorkshireman, Alan Gilg, set out to drive Africa from top to toe, the first drive down the length of Africa in a small car. For his epic adventure Gilg chose a baby Morris 8 with an engine capacity of just 900cc. With a nod to Gilg and to prove the ability of a modern city car we are using the lastest highly acclaimed Fiat Panda Twin-Air powered by a tiny 875cc engine.
There's a long and illustrious history of Africa motoring pioneers and record breakers. We look forward to adding another chapter to the story...MORE HISTORY ..
The Fiat Panda was never designed to take on a non-stop drive through Africa where even the main roads can be rougher than rough. Vehicle strength and reliability with maximum crew comfort will be essential if we are going to break the record.
With this in our thoughts car preparation needed someone who could understand what we're attempting, so we called on Tony Fowkes Automobiles, in Park Royal North London.
Tony knows a thing or two about long distance rallying. As a Mercedes works-driver he came second to Andrew Cowan on the 1977 London to Sydney Marathon and enjoyed many other top results. As well as finishing 3rd-overall on the 1975 Lombard RAC Rally in a self built Ford Escort, Tony is a five time Paris-Dakar veteran, twice on motorcycles.
Taking the Panda to Tony's workshop seemed the right place to go, and he was keen to be involved...More preparation ..