Our Entry Into The 2017 Great Race

For the past couple of years the field for the Great Race has filled rather quickly.  Therefore in an effort to ensure that the entry would be accepted, Harald von Langsdorff of Caledon, Ontario, Canada, has sent in an entry, which has been accepted for the 2017 Great Race.  I am pleased that I will be Harald’s navigator for the 2017 Great Race.  While Harald and I have competed in several other Time-Speed rallies before, this will be our first time in the Great Race.

For the Great Race we will be in Harald’s recently acquired 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC.  This car is shown below.


Harald’s 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC

For 2017 the Great Race will start in Jacksonville, Florida and end in Traverse City, Michigan.  The rally will start on June 24 and end 9 days later on July 2, 2017.  This event will be quite a challenge.


The Great Race Starts In Jacksonville And Ends In Traverse City

The Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC is a coupe version of the more commonly seen two-seat SL models.  The SLC models were the basis for the Mercedes-Benz factory rally cars in the 1970s that competed in the long distance rallies, mostly in Africa, of that era.  As the World Rally Championship (WRC) focused in on shorter stage events, Mercedes-Benz withdrew from WRC events.


Mercedes-Benz SLC Rally Car In The Mercedes-Benz Museum

Harald’s 350 SLC has a longer wheelbase than the SL models, but this extra space will come in handy during the 9-day Great Race.


The 350 SLC Will Have Lots Of Room For Our Stuff

The challenge with this Mercedes-Benz is that it is the newest car that is allowed to complete in the Great Race.  The Great Race is currently restricted to cars of model year 1972 or older.  This car is a 1972.  As a result, we will get no scoring assist from the scoring system, which favors older cars, so we will have to compete strictly on our ability to get a low score on the road.  That will be our challenge in addition to the challenge of competing in this rally for the first time.  I will have more about this rally as more details emerge.


It’s A Pleasure To Compete In A Mercedes-Benz

I look forward to again competing with Harald in a rally.  We hope to take part in one or two other Time-Speed rallies prior to the 2017 Great Race in order to get some full-scale practice with this car.  Because of the distance between our homes, Harald and I are not in a position to practice together during non-rally periods, but we have developed a professional approach to rallying in which we can meet up at a rally, get a car set up for the event in a short period, and be competitive in the rally.  We also are quite critical and analytical of ourselves and talk through many issues and scenarios, so that we can understand what we are doing right and what were are doing that needs improvement.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, then please leave a comment below or you can contact me by private email at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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6 Responses to Our Entry Into The 2017 Great Race

  1. Mike Young says:

    Steve, are any of my apps allowable on the Great Race? If not, is there a way to modify any one or, if necessary, might a new app be created to suit the navigation requirements of this race? I’d really like to find some solution for rally teams for this style of racing. Thanks.

    • Hi Mike,
      The allowed equipment is an analog speedometer, an analog time-of-day clock, stopwatch (digital or analog), the car’s performance tables, and pencils and papers. No calculators, no wristwatches with stopwatch capability, no cell phones, no lap tops, no computers, no GPS, and no odometers. As you can see this is quite restrictive.
      Steve McKelvie

      • Mike Young says:

        Are controls or CASTs or landmarks along the way identified by distance? If so, the combination of a stopwatch (a computer by definition) and performance tables if they express time per mile for various speeds (adjusted by correction factors) is no different than using a simple computer that combines the two. To make the process even more simple and useful, toggling stopwatches would be preferable. Can you have toggling stopwatches? A toggling stopwatch on an iPhone is technically no different than a pair of allowable digital or analog stopwatches. Couldn’t you swear not to use any other features of the smart phone? After all, the race is run by honorable folks, right?

      • Hi Mike,
        I suggest that you look on my website for the post that I made on May 19, 2016 entitled “Time-Speed Rally Overview”. This has a sample instruction sheet. No distances are provided by the organizers in the instructions. It’s not like the old SCCA New England Region Class C or “No Odo” Class where the “No Odo” Class got the same instructions as the other classes and thus access to distances used by the other classes. At Time-Speed rallies speed change locations are defined only by landmarks or by time.
        Toggling stopwatches would not be allowed as the team can only have one stopwatch.
        And you are right, based on the people that I have met, they all are honorable.
        Steve McKelvie

  2. Mike Young says:

    Bummer. My TSD Rally Split would seem ideal for this type of race. There are two clock faces: one time of day face and one stopwatch face. Both clock faces have analog displays as well as digital displays of the times. I patterned this app after the classic Heuer dual clock set (which, I presume is legal for the Great Race) even using the same names “Master•Time” and “Monte•Carlo.” Those were analog watches while my digital versions mimic those with several extra features for measurement (the Heuer also had both seconds and cents and a window showing whole minutes on the stopwatch), precision, and starting times. If I took off the digital displays and only showed the analog displays, that would seem to get us part way to legitimacy perhaps. We’d still have to get over the anti-computer hurdle, of course.

    • Hi Mike,
      Over the past couple of years I have been helping in a small way with the development of the GaugePilot rally computer with the folks at Hambly Industries in the UK. This is a very powerful and versatile rally computer. The HERO rally folks in the UK have restrictions on the capability of the rally equipment used. Time penalties are added when more capable machines are used. The GaugePilot people approached the HERO organization and got agreement that the GaugePilot could be used as long as there was a technology lock on the GaugePilot capabilities during the rally. I believe that the rally organizers had the key to the technology lock. A similar approach might work for you if you could demonstrate to the Great Race organizers that the capabilities of your app can be restricted in a controlled fashion.
      Steve McKelvie

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