Getting to tour the world competing in high-level rally competitions is something of a dream job for a great many auto enthusiasts, however, globetrotting around the planet also tends to expose travelers to some of the sadder realities of developing nations such as food and water shortages, extreme poverty, and human trafficking. And after learning more about child trafficking, Renee Brinkerhoff has opted to fight back, raising funds and awareness to combat the practice through what the Denver-based racer/philanthropist and the rest of her crew over at Valkyrie Racing have dubbed the “Project 356 World Rally.”
This ambitious initiative will see Brinkerhoff traverse close to 20,000 miles of untamed terrain across seven continents — much of which will be spent campaigning in high-profile rally events like the East African Safari and Peking-to-Paris rallies. Specially prepped by the UK’s Tuthill Porsche, Brinkerhoff — who is a three-time world record holder — will be competing in a heavily modified 1959 Porsche 356A that’s been outfitted with a TIG-welded T45 stainless steel alloy roll cage, a bespoke crevasse bar that supports a dual-sided solar panel arrangement drawing up to 150-watts of power, a rear-engine frame winch point, and a four-tonne bag jack to get the 356A unstuck from the snow. Because the 356A needs to traverse such a diverse variety of terrain types — including the frigid ice of Antarctica — the car has been gifted a custom ski and snow track system that’s mounted to the main chassis via bespoke T45 steel framework. On top of needing to be able to operate in extreme temperatures ranging from -50°C to 55°C, the conversion of the 356 also required that the ski track system be installable by a single person using only basic hand tools, and that it utilizes the Porsche’s original rally-prepared suspension and steering system.
Prior to Brinkerhoff setting off on her adventure, she and the rest of the Valkyrie Racing are drumming up support and financial donors for the cause. This includes slapping the name of each donor onto the side of the vehicle, so long as they make a contribution of at least $356. You can learn more about the car and the project by visiting Valkyrie Racing’s website.
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