Interview with Hubert Auriol from 80 Day Race

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You have raced the Dakar 16 times, won 3 times and worked nine years as the race director. But now you are organising a sustainable race around the world. What made you switch to sustainable racing?

“At that time we didn’t know much about cross-country racing, as we were the first to do it. Everybody said it was crazy, because nobody knew what it was and it really became a huge event. I think that’s the same with the 80 Day Race; because it is sustainable it’s a real new adventure, it’s a new way of thinking, with the same spirit as the Dakar.”

Sustainable vehicles are not exactly known for their capability to travel long distances, so why go around the world with these vehicles?

“The challenge of this race is to push engineering to find a solution to go around the world with something new. Today, if you take a car or plane it’s easy, but how can you do it with a different way of thinking? If it works around the world you can imagine that 10 years later it will be normal. For the car industry I think it’s a big challenge, because we have to prove that it’s possible.”

Do you drive a sustainable vehicle yourself?

“Yes, I have a BMW C- evolution scooter. It is perfect for getting around the city. It accelerates so smoothly that it makes driving much more relaxed”

Do you ever feel yourself limited by its range?

“No, I mainly drive my scooter in the city and it easily takes me from one side to the other. But what I do find frustrating sometimes is that the charging-card we have here in Paris is registered to the vehicle and doesn’t allow me to charge another vehicle with it. Which doesn’t make sense in my opinion. Wouldn’t you find it ridiculous if you arrive at a gas station and they will refuse to fill you up because you are driving a different vehicle than you normally do?”

Why do you find it so important to move towards a sustainable way of racing?

 “It’s completely the right moment to initiate something new: going around the world with no common way of using an engine. When you live in a city like Paris you can hear the sound of engines everywhere, the air quality is causing health problems and the buildings turn grey from the exhausts. So, if there is an alternative that will prevent all this it is only logical to make this switch.”

If you would ever be asked to race in a conventional race vehicle again, would you do it?

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the races I have been in, for me it has always been the adventure that caused me to participate again. Now, that adventure is with sustainable mobility. Racing has always been about pushing innovation, now it is time to push towards sustainability that is why I recently participated in the Monte Carlo rally with a hybrid Range Rover.”

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