According to director Jeff Stump, the event is a navigational test instead of a racing one. Drivers and their partners need to follow a precise course and meet the timed requirements.
Each day drivers receive a set of instructions that indicate speed limits, various turns on the route and stops and restarts along the way. Cars depart one minute apart with checkpoints monitoring them and recording the car’s progress and exact times.
The goal is to arrive at the checkpoints at the correct time, not the fastest time. Drivers are awarded points for the closest finishes for each day’s travel. There are often breakdowns along the way and owners must find ingenious ways to get their cars back into the race or drop out.
Several races are conducted each year in various parts of the country. The current one began in Jacksonville, Fla., with 120 teams and will end in Traverse City, Mich. Organizers held a stopover and cruise-in at the Franklin, Ind., square June 27.
All cars must be from 1973 or earlier with the only modifications permitted to the transmission and updates to the hydraulic brakes and fuel systems.
The first Great Race was in 1984, and portions of it have passed through Indiana many times in the past. Car owners are donating 1 cent per mile to the Alzheimer’s Association. Hemmings Motor News and Hagerty Insurance are the primary sponsors.
Until next time, happy cruisin’!