To say Renee Brinkerhoff is ambitious might be a little bit of an understatement. This winter, she and her Valkyrie Racing Team aim to take her 1956 Porsche 356A out to Antarctica to complete her dream, which she’s been calling the Project 356 World Rally Tour. Essentially, Brinkherhoff is a massive motorhead who’s looking to achieve a goal: to become the first woman to race on all seven continents.
Since there’s not exactly an excess of competition on the Antarctic, Brinkerhoff will aim to complete at least 356 miles on Antarctic ice as a way to make her mark in motorsport history. Her Porsche, too, will be the first classic car to race on all seven continents. That’s not a bad way to go down in history, if I say so myself.
Admittedly, Brinkerhoff has been holding onto this goal for years, with her initial attempt scheduled for December of 2020. The pandemic held her back, Kristin V. Shaw reported for The Drive; travel logistics in Chile were too complex for the whole team to make the trek, so they cancelled the event until 2021.
Most of the other 20,000 miles she’s racked up have come from actual competition. Brinkerhoff is a mainstay in the Peking-to-Paris event, the east African Safari Classic, and the Targa Tasmania. She even became the first woman to win her class in the Carrera Panamericana. She’s been to every other continent — Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania — but she just has this last goal to achieve before she can set her record.
This great clip from Carscoops lays out Brinkerhoff’s mission:
Of course, her Porsche isn’t stock. Already made lighter for competition, it’ll also be outfitted with tracks during her Antarctic adventure. As per The Drive, it’s also been modified in the following ways:
Valkyrie Racing is finessing the Porsche and continuing to train. The car will be fitted with dual-sided, flexible solar panels across the front crevasse bar. The panels are designed to reflect the snow from below and the sun from above and provide extra energy needs; specifically, this will help to power up the load from the alternator. The crevasse bar itself will function as a third ski, of sorts.
Weight management is a challenge to keep the car at an ideal weight of 1,100- 1,200 kilos. Of course, the 356A was never designed for snow, so an engine brace and gearbox brace have been added to make the car safer and stronger. Because who wouldn’t want to ski on a sportscar?
She’ll also be bringing Jason de Carteret as her navigator, who has trekked through both the North and South Poles more times than most humans will visit another continent. They’ll embark on this journey in December of this year.
All that being said, though, Brinkerhoff is using motorsport as a way to draw attention to the fight against human trafficking. She uses her cross-continent adventures to raise money for Valkyrie Gives, the non-profit arm of her racing team that Brinkerhoff runs with her daughter. They’ve already raised more than $400,000, and the goal is to get to $1 million — which they’re achieving by rewarding anyone who donates $356 to the Antarctic Ice Challenge with their name signed on the inside of the Porsche’s hood.