When: Every 2 years – 2008/09 Challenge Finals to be held sometime in Mid 2009
Where: Various countries around the world – 2009 will be mostly Asia
The event combines off-road driving with outdoor activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, orienteering and rappelling. Participants compete in tests of physical fitness, initiative, strategic thinking and technical driving skills.
A Quick History
The inaugural 2004/05 Land Rover G4 Challenge began in New York City with a novel, four-wheel drive course set up on a six-block stretch of Broadway. It then spent a week traversing snowy New England with the competitors using a variety of adventure skills to accumulate points at various remote locations.
From there the event crossed the ocean to South Africa where, over five days, the competitors drove from Cape Town to the southern most tip of the African continent.
From Africa it was off to the remote Australian outback, then back to American for the final cross-country trek from Las Vegas to southern Utah where Belgian fighter pilot Rudi Thoelen emerged victorious from a cliff hanging finale in the Moab desert.
The 2006/07 Challenge took the original concept and went deeper into rugged and remote locations offering cultural diversity and breathtaking scenery.
It started in front of the Grand Palace in Bangkok then moved into the jungles of Laos. From there, it headed to Brazil for a spectacular urban challenge on the world-famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.
After a treacherous run through the vast salt plains of Salar de Uyuni, the climax took place in the Andes mountains in Bolivia at an altitude of over 4,000m.
Changes for 2008/09
The Land Rover G4 Challenge is making its third appearance in 2008/09 and this year there will be some major changes. Instead of single drivers, each nation will be represented by a pair of drivers – one male, one female – working together as a team.
This time, the Challenge Finals will take place in Asia. The Land Rover G4 Challenge recon teams are currently searching for areas that will provide the kinds of remote and rugged environments that the Challenge requires to ensure the final route will provide stunning scenery, exciting locations and terrain that will test both man and machine.
If you want to keep abreast of developments sign up for email updates on the Official Land Rover G4 Challenge website.
The 2008/09 Land Rover G4 Challenge fleet will involve all vehicles in the Land Rover line-up: the Range Rover Sport, Range Rover, Discovery 3, Freelander 2 and Defender. The competing vehicles will be joined by a dedicated support fleet including high-tech communications vehicles and fully equipped ambulances, all painted in distinctive Tangiers Orange. I’m sure it will be an awe inspiring caravan.
Competitor Selection Process
Unfortunately, not just anyone can run the G4 challenge. There’s a long involved
selection process designed to weed out the unworthy. The 2008/09 Challenge selection process is comprised of three main sections:
The 18 participating nations are:
• Australia • China • Netherlands • Turkey •Austria •France •Norway/Sweden •UK •Belgium/Luxemburg •Germany •Russia •USA •Brazil •Ireland •South Africa •Canada •Italy •Spain
1. Registration – Begins Jan 2008 (deadlines dependant on competing nation)
Members of the public can register their interest at http://www.landroverg4challenge.com. The recruitment process begins with an online entry form allowing potential competitors to enter their details and answer questions on which their suitability will be assessed.
Successful applicants who are mentally and physically fit for the challenge will receive a personal invite to attend National Selections and stand a chance of representing their country in the ultimate adventure.
2. National Selections – May-Dec 2008 (dependant on competing nation arrangements)
National Selections will be run for each competing nation, with the timing dependent on individual countries. Each event will consist of a range of activities which will allow the judges to assess competitors’ capabilities on a variety of different criteria. Four applicants per nation (two male and two female) will then be chosen to progress to International Selections.
3. International Selections – Early 2009
This grueling week of competition will take place at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, UK, in early 2009. The prospective Challenge competitors will be put through a series of tough events similar to those they would experience in the Challenge Finals and every aspect of their skills, fitness, initiative and character will be tested. Each nation will have one male and one female competitor selected to compete in the Challenge Finals.
The bad news is – by the time you read this you will probably have missed the entry deadline. Download the official rules and entry deadline for each country from this page. Americans has already passed (March 3, 2008) as has Belgium’s – so if you live in one of those countries, like I do, you’ll have to wait until Sept, 2009 for the next round of applications.
In the meantime start brushing up on your outdoor skills and If you can’t wait two years try one of these other adventure oriented events to hold you over:
Guilt Free Racing
Unlike most off-road races, the G4 Challenge is designed with careful consideration to the environment at all times. The Challenge will be environmentally sensitive and fully carbon offset through Climate Care. The winning team will be given a Land Rover vehicle to donate to their country’s National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society.