From Argentina to Alaska on Clean-Diesel

Road Trip

The longest road in the world passes through 14 countries and across 16,000 miles. It passes through previously impenetrable terrain like the Atacama Desert, the 13,600ft high Andean pass, the humid rainforests of Central America and the Arctic tundra of Alaska. The longest road in the world begins in the deep southern hemisphere in Ushuaia, Argentina and ends at one of the farthest inhabitable regions of the northern hemisphere in Deadhorse, Alaska, USA.

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Pan-American Highway has come to epitomize our increasingly globalized world and has brought together many people from many different countries and ways of life. To commemorate this milestone, renowned adventurer and off-road driver Rainer Zietlow will lead a team consisting of photographer/co-driver Marius Biela and technician/other co-driver Juan Carlos Fernandez on a journey that spans most of the western hemisphere - driving the entire Pan-American Highway. Each member of the three person Challenge4 team will share driving duties with alternating 5 hour shifts.

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The goal is to complete their trek in what they hope will be an astonishingly quick 2 weeks. So, what will be these fearless three's weapon of choice for this long expedition: A 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TD Clean Diesel SUV. "We want to celebrate the important role the Pan-American Highway has played in bringing commerce and unity to countries along the route, while demonstrating the power and durability of a clean diesel vehicle. The 75th Anniversary of the Pan-American Highway provides us with a great opportunity to do both," said Zietlow.

The Touareg has a 3.0L turbocharged V6 TDI engine which delivers 225hp and has 406 lb-ft of torque. Designed for high-performance in various rugged terrains, Volkswagen hopes to exhibit in this challenge the durability and fuel-efficiency of their clean-diesel SUV. As part of their eco-friendly "Think Blue" program, VW claims the Touareg consumes 30 percent less fuel and up to 25 percent lower CO2 emissions vs. regular gasoline vehicles. The Challenge4 crew will begin their expedition from Ushuaia, Argentina on June 29th.

They plan on driving a single Touareg TDI all the way north to Deadhorse, Alaska with an expected arrival date of July 13th. For each km driven, Zietlow will donate 10 Euro cents to Plan International, a charity working in 48 developing countries to promote children's rights and help millions of children out of poverty. Photos courtesy of