80 Day Race may not look like a race organisation, act like a race organisation, or think like a race organisation, but that is because we never started this to just set up another motorsport competition. We started 80 Day Race because we wanted to make a difference.
80 Day Race originated from its founders’ passion for adventure and new technology. Frank Manders, the CEO of 80 Day Race, is never shy to step into the unknown, curious to learn about new technology and quick to recognise the opportunities these create. This, in combination with his generous, attentive, always happy to help – kind of character gets him into places most people can only dream of.
As an expert in sourcing for multinationals he saw how decisions are always made to create cost savings without ever considering the environmental consequences. However, that never stopped him from trying to make a case for smarter sourcing and new technologies that would save costs as well as the environment. Still he felt he could do more and started to organise fundraiser rallies on used chip fat to raise awareness about the value of what some people regard as waste products. This is where he met Jenny Berlo, an ecologist and sociologist, an outdoor lover wanting to make a difference.
Together they came up with the idea to create a race around the world referring to the Jules Verne novel “Around the wold in 80 days”. At the time this novel was written, in 1873, new technology, fossil fuel-based technology, for the first time enabled one to travel around the world within 80 days. A bold wager resulted in this great adventure that still inspires many adventurers today. Now, a hundred forty-five year later, we are at a new tipping point in mobility where technology for the first time allows us to travel around the world in 80 days without using fossil fuel. A good time for a new adventure.
Starting a new motorsport competition from scratch isn’t easy especially in a time when motorsport is still all about roaring motors and the smell of rubber and gasoline. We soon realized that as a newcomer in this industry we would need others, more renowned people, to support and share our message. Reaching out to people who would also get excited by a new, sustainable adventure we created a global network of ambassadors and people keen to help this race become reality.
Now, after years of planning, overcoming set-backs, and celebrating new opportunities, we are anxious and excited to open the registration for participants for the first edition of 80 Day Race.
Frank Manders: “As a child I was a great fan of the Dakar rally, sneaking down stairs in the middle of the night to watch the race on television. I want future generations to be able to enjoy this same kind of excitement from racing adventures and I am determined to make this race one that will inspire their dreams of sustainable adventures. Sustainable development should not be perceived as a limitation but as an exciting opportunity, opening a whole world of new adventures”
When it comes to rallying, racing and organising, Frenchman Hubert Auriol is a real legend. He was first to win the Dakar Rally in both the bike and car division, and won three times in total. He joined the Dakar organisation, working nine years as the series’ director and now he wants to use his expertise to move racing towards a more sustainable future.
“When I first heard about 80 Day Race, I had the same feeling as 30 years ago when Thierry Sabine announced he would organise a new race between Paris and Dakar. A crazy thought at first, but it happened and it’s still alive! At that time, I knew I had to participate and I did. It changed my life. 80 Day Race represents the same adventurous challenge, but it’s updated to what concerns us all today and that’s the climate change. The event will be a great race with the aim to accelerate clean technology. The winner, who first arrives back in Paris, will leave an ever lasting legacy by proving that e-mobility holds the future of transportation, the future for our and the next generations.”