LOS ANGELES: To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the "Greatest Auto Race" of 1908, Rally Partners has tapped LA-based The Rogers Group to handle PR on behalf of the Great Race World 35,000km, an 82-day proving path for the practicality of "green" automotive technology.
The Great Race was charted in 1908 race to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of the then-cutting-edge combustion engine-propelled automobile. The upcoming Great Race is designed to achieve a similar goal, according to Maria Fernanda Bowe, management supervisor at The Rogers Group.
"This event will test and prove the viability of the latest sustainable automotive technology while raising awareness about the increasing need for renewable energy," Bowe said.
Beginning on February 12, 2008, the 22,000-mile New York to Paris race route - the first around-the-world endurance and time competition featuring hybrid- and alternative fuel-powered vehicles, according to The Rogers Group - will run through Russia, China, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland, among other countries. The race is scheduled to end at the Eiffel Tower on May 3, 2008. Private teams, manufacturers, or educational institutions can enter using either "futuristic" or "classic car" alternative-fuel automobiles. Rally Partners will offer a $1 million prize to the technology innovation winner and a $500,000 prize to the winner in the classic car division.
"Typically, our PR is consumer-focused and handled in-house," said Bill Ewing, CEO, Rally Partners, an organization that creates family-friendly classic-car events throughout North America. Faced with the challenges of reaching "a very young, fragmented [business] community," however, Ewing turned to The Rogers Group for b-to-b assistance.
One of the Great Race's initial outreach struggles was conveying that the race was not about a competition between various renewable sources.
"We set out to promote [the race] to [show] there are viable technologies out there that exist [in comparison] to the traditional petroleum engine," Ewing explained.
To achieve this, The Rogers Group has implemented a series of short- and long-lead efforts, from extensive media kits to one-on-one interviews with key industry influencers and trade publications. A consumer marketing program is expected to launch in February 2007. Initial efforts include outreach to private and institutional racing teams and automotive- and energy-industry potential sponsors.
Perhaps the Great Race's most significant challenge, Ewing said, is that "the technologies may not be ready to compete in an around-the-world race."
"We will hold the race," Ewing nonetheless promised. "It's about celebrating automotive history and creating history. We'll see who will meet that challenge."