Nineteen year old Parker Liautaud has just set a speed record for skiing from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole, followed by a beastly Toyota Hilux 6x6 to manage communications and collect data pertaining to climate change.
The "Willis Resilience" Expedition set out to collect meteorological and environmental information from Antarctica, I think the "ski record" elaboration was added to give it some more sexiness.
The effort was sponsored by a company called Willis, a "global risk adviser" and insurance broker looking for some interesting publicity. The truck was built by Arctic Trucks of Iceland, which have been putting vehicles together for extreme-cold conditions since 1990. Yes, they also built the bright-red Hilux you might remember from Top Gear's epic race to the Magnetic North Pole.
Arctic Trucks workshop manager Eyjólfur Már Teitsson joined Willis' expedition as driver and mechanic of the truck that provided logistical support to the scientific and survey phases of the expedition. The vehicle was also used to stream live video and data back to the mainland during the trip.
Liautaud completed his ski in a swift 18 days, 4 hours, 43 minutes smashing the standing record of 24 days, 1 hour, 13 minutes, set by 35 year old Norwegian Christian Eide two years ago. The entire expedition took about 40 days.
Get a little more of the story straight from Liautaud, as he goes over the truck in Finland:
Images: Arctic Trucks, Willis Resilience