Throughout my childhood a burgeoning passion for all things automotive wasn’t simply fuelled by attending glitzy motor shows and poring over the mountain of brochures I collected at them, it was ignited by tales of long drives that filled the pages of my regular magazine fixes. Epic journeys across countries and continents encapsulated a sense of adventure that seemed a world away for a school boy from Lincoln.
Despite my desire being fired by those drive stories it was only during summer 2011 that I finally took the plunge and embarked on a driving adventure – Banger Does Britain. Visiting the four compass point extremities of mainland Britain, driving a car bought with a meagre £500 budget, in a sub-24 hour time, it became a real battle against the clock.
But rather than satisfy that desire, the drive merely inflamed it and immediately I began formulating a plan for a follow-up adventure but on a larger, more challenging scale. With the help of Toyota, that plan has finally come to fruition: this is Fast And Frugal.
Fast And Frugal – The Challenge
This challenge also has to be completed in less than 24 hours but rather than visiting the British coast at the four compass points, it’s an internal loop of the mainland, combining not just challenging, winding roads but also swathes of the motorway network and city centre environments too.
Fast And Frugal will take place on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 August departing Westminster, London at 12:00 noon, arriving at Silverstone motor racing circuit just under 24 hours later.
An average speed of 52.91mph will need to be at least maintained to cover a journey of approximately 1270 miles, visiting the capitals and highest peaks of England, Scotland and Wales before reaching its conclusion at the home of British motor racing, coinciding with Toyota’s participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship with its TS030 Hybrid LMP1 competitor.
Who knows, there might even be an opportunity to compare notes with one of the works Toyota drivers, themselves veterans of epic 24 hour drives, albeit in much faster machinery.
Naturally, whilst en route we’ll be Tweeting (let’s see if we can get #FastAndFrugal trending), Facebooking, photographing and filming to keep you all up to date with progress as well as sharing the experience both in real time and in a post-drive blog.
Fast And Frugal – The Cars
Toyota is a manufacturer synonymous with offering a broad model range, satisfying the requirements of car buyers the world over. This is after all the world’s largest car manufacturer.
Convenient then that then that Fast And Frugal will showcase the talents of not one but two of its most recently launched models, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid and the GT86 sports coupe.
For a sports coupe such as the GT86 to enjoy such critical acclaim is extraordinary in today’s marketplace with a wealth of performance cars to choose from. It’s a testament to Toyota’s engineering prowess that the GT86 handles so brilliantly; the chassis is honed to maximise fun and enjoyment. Those winding mountain roads in Scotland and Wales will never have felt so good.
The Plug-in Hybrid is the new flagship of the third generation of Prius models. Like others in the range it is powered by both a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor but the Plug-in feature allows this Prius to run up to 15.5 miles in purely electric mode, perfect for escaping Westminster and heading north onto the motorway.
So there you have it: the fast of the GT86 and the frugal of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
Fast And Frugal – Getting Involved
The whole Fast And Frugal team would love for you to get involved with what we’re doing, not just by clicking ‘Like’ on our upcoming Facebook page, following us on Twitter and bombarding us with comments and questions whilst the event’s going on (although doing both of those things would be great), we want you to get involved beforehand and afterwards too.
There’s bound to be things you want to know and opinions you want to share, so get in touch before the drive sets off.
What do you think of the route? Are there any roads that have sneakily tight corners that catch out the unwary? Do we pass an amazing lay-by cafe that we can’t afford to miss for a sausage sarnie? What else should we consume to stay awake and maintain stamina? What should we listen to? Where’s great for photographs along the route? Do we go past your house and if so can you supply us with tea and coffee?
These are all things we need to know. Doubtless there’ll be hundreds of other things you’ll want to share too, so drop us a line.
If you’re free over the days of the drive and want to wave support as we whizz by or even join us in convoy for a stint, that’d be fantastic. Look at how Team GB have been spurred along by that vocal home support.
And afterwards, the blog will be filled with our experiences from the 24 hours in word, picture and video forms, along with driving impressions of both the GT86 and Prius Plug-in.
What are you waiting for? Rattle those keyboards into action.
In the next Fast And Frugal Preview the drivers and the route will be revealed.