Valkyrie Racing Completes 356-Mile Antarctica Trek in Porsche 356
The Porsche 356 has always been known as small but mighty
On December 10, 2021, racing driver Renée Brinkerhoff’s Valkyrie Racing Team completed a 356-mile Antarctic journey in a modified 1956 Porsche 356A, an accomplishment the team had been building towards since the 2017 La Carrera Panamericana. In a race that has a reputation for being risky, Valkyrie’s best in class victory drew global attention to their quest to win a race on every continent – all for a good cause.
The charity arm of Valkyrie Racing, Valkyrie Gives, has made it their mission to end child trafficking worldwide and raise awareness through the success of the Project 356 World Rally Tour. “We are all responsible for these children,” Brinkerhoff noted following the Antarctica trek, while vowing to continue raising money past the $556,000 sum the organization has achieved thus far.
Of course, nothing calls attention to a good cause like an unlikely success story, and the Polar Porsche was quite the underdog. Traveling in subzero temperatures with punishing winds, the car had to be able to maintain its operating temperature while traversing ultra-slippery polar ice. To ensure that the car would be ready, the Valkyrie team relied on Polar explorer and chassis design engineer Kieron Bradley, who outfitted the Porsche with specially designed skis, survival gear, and a dual solar panel to reflect the sun and snow. According to Bradley, the ski system was designed to do “40-50 percent of the work,” ensuring that the car wouldn’t tread too heavily on the light, treacherous snow.
The final leg of the journey was the hardest for the Polar Porsche, which struggled to hold onto the bolt connected to the hub of the ski. Freezing cold air stymied the engine and made it difficult for Brinkerhoff to stay warm enough to operate the vehicle. Finishing the trek at the projected distance of 356 miles was never a guarantee, and an attempt to break the land speed record was scrapped entirely. But in the end, the nearly impossible conditions of the drive made Valkyrie’s victory that much sweeter.
So, what’s next for Valkyrie Racing and Valkyrie Gives? Now that their quest to conquer every continent is complete, they are still finding ways to raise money to end child trafficking, including by giving away a $200,000 Porsche 356A restoration. And their accomplishment may lead the way for future adventures in Polar motorsports: after completing a 27-day test expedition in 2016, the celebrity-sponsored Zero South Project is aiming to be the first to traverse the South Pole in zero-emissions vehicles. It seems like an unlikely goal for sure, but then again, so is visiting the Pole in a Porsche 356.
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