Posts Tagged ‘The Great Race’

New Great Race US-only auto tour announced

July 8, 2008

Great Race Sports, planning to celebrate the centennial of The Great Race from New York to Paris with a commemorative re-run this summer, had to delay the event after the Chinese government revoked travel permits for foreigners following demonstrations in Tibet and along the Olympic Torch Run. New dates are April 25 – June 28, 2009. But scheduled for later this year is an event that will follow much of the Lincoln Highway.

“The Great Auto Race Celebration Tour” will retrace almost the exact route driven by George Schuster and the winning team aboard the 1907 Thomas Flyer a century ago. The 3,700-mile cross-country event will start in New York City on October 18, 2008, and finish in Los Angeles on November 1. It is meant to be a fun and relaxing event with short optional rally sections. Enthusiasts are welcome to join anywhere along the route for 3, 5, 7 or 15 days for an entry fee of $100/day.

Cars of any era are eligible to participate, and teams can travel at their own speeds while previewing next year’s route before it becomes a competitive event. Here’s the tentative schedule of overnight stops — much of the route covers the Lincoln Highway from Indiana through Nevada.

Sat 10/18 Albany, New York – 184 miles
Sun 10/19 Buffalo, New York – 317 miles
Mon 10/20 Cleveland, Ohio – 215 miles
Tue 10/21 Auburn, Indiana – 185 miles
Wed 10/22 Joliet, Illinois – 323 miles
Thu 10/23 Cedar Rapids, Iowa – 292 miles
Fri 10/24 Omaha, Nebraska – 286 miles
Sat 10/25 North Platte, Nebraska – 308 miles
Sun 10/26 Cheyenne, Wyoming – 244 miles
Mon 10/27 Rock Springs, Wyoming – 228 miles
Tue 10/28 Provo, Utah – 220 miles
Wed 10/29 Ely, Nevada – 270 miles
Thu., 10/30 Beatty, Nevada 310 miles
Fri., 10/31 Riverside, California 283 miles
Sat., 11/1 Los Angeles, California 65 miles

Visit The Great Race site for more information.

Centennial of Great Race Honored with Exhibit

February 17, 2008

February 12 marked 100 years since the launch of the longest and perhaps craziest auto race ever – around the world from New York to Paris. Six cars (seven more never showed up) departed Times Square, at times following the future Lincoln Highway to San Francisco. The American entry, a 1907 4-cylinder Thomas Flyer roadster, would win, driven most of the way by George Schuster, who would later write about his adventures in The Longest Auto Race. The 1965 comedy The Great Race (Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtiss, Natalie Wood, Peter Falk), loosely based on the race, barely touched on the hardships faced by the real racers.


The 1908 race has been honored with a 14-month exhibit at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada, a few blocks off the Lincoln Highway. Through next January, visitors can see the 1,400-pound trophy, the American flag carried the whole way, and most impressively, the restored Thomas Flyer (seen above, in a photo courtesy the museum). Then starting May 30, up to 40 teams will again depart New York City for Paris, covering 22,000 miles, though only half of that driven. A summary of the race and exhibit can be found in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Schuster Book

Another group is rebuilding a 1908 White and plans to retrace the route and pffering educational programs, but their hopes to launch the February 12 have been delayed.

Schuster never did get paid the $10,000 (he thought was proper for a half-year’s work) by the Thomas company – they said the race had cost them too much already. And The New York Times delayed paying him the $1,000 prize for 60 years. Schuster, then 95, was appreciative but noted that a grand was not worth nearly as much in 1968 as in 1908.