The World's Oldest Car Event Is A Celebration Of Going Slow


However, keeping track of the time is very important.

For many, the answer to the question, "What's the oldest continuing car event in the world?" will be the Indy 500. Or maybe Pikes Peak or the Shelshey Walsh Hill Climb, if the person knows a bit of automotive history. The true answer to that question, though, is the UK's annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which has been hosted on-and-off since 1896, a decade after Herr Benz assembled his Patent-Motorwagen and just one year after the world's oldest motoring magazine (known since 1917 as "Automotive Industries") was born.

Considering the cars involved are at least 111 years old, date back to a time where the world's fastest machines still hadn't cracked the 100 mph barrier and in some cases don't even make it to the finish, you'd be wondering why on earth the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run would need an official time keeper. That position is now being filled in by new event partner and Swiss watchmaker Chopard, by the way. But why is Chopard even needed? Because staying on top of the time sheets does tie in to an interesting mechanic of the event. Instead of timing them from start to finish, the entrants estimate what their average speed will be over the 60-mile course, with the most accurate prediction being the overall winner.

It sounds fairly unconventional and confusing, but the idea is a novel one. Not only does it reduce the risk of these fragile vehicles being pushed too hard, but it can be interesting to see how accurately the drivers can predict their average speed. For instance, last year's winning estimate was made by a 1900 Georges Richard owner, with the average speed guess of 10 miles per hour being almost bang on. The car's actual average speed was 9.99 miles per hour. Such a focus on details isn't necessary to enjoy the event. However, for many, simply seeing these ancient cars head down to the British coast is enough to make the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run one of the greatest "time trials" of its type in the world.

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