Share this article

print logo

9-day, 2,300-mile Great Race sets off from Buffalo this weekend

Some of the most rare and vintage automobiles in the world are about to descend on Buffalo.

They're coming for the 2018 Great Race, which will bring more than 120 antique cars and possibly tens of thousands of onlookers to the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum on June 23.

It's there, at the corner of Seneca and Michigan streets, that the 2,300-mile Great Race will start.

"Hosting the starting line for the Great Race is very prestigious," said James Sandoro, who runs the museum at 263 Michigan Ave., with his wife, Maryann. "The race has been promoted nationally and even internationally for the last year."

Buffalo was a stop for the race in 2012, and another time in the 1980s, but this is the first time it is hosting the start of the event.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Thomas Flyer automobile, which George Schuster of Buffalo drove to win the 1908 New York to Paris race.

From Buffalo, the cars will head to Rochester, and eventually finish the race in Nova Scotia, Canada, on July 1, to complete the nine-day, 2,300-mile journey.

Teams and cars from England, Germany, Japan, Canada and all over the United States, will line up at 7 a.m. Saturday.

After opening ceremonies around 9:30 a.m., the staggered start will get underway at the rate of a car a minute at 10 a.m., Sandoro said. Seneca, Myrtle and Carroll streets will be closed for the event.

The cars – each with a driver and navigator – compete against a computer-calculated time for the route, but must stay within the speed limit. Navigators can use stopwatches, but not cellphones or a GPS.

Each car is scored at secret check points along the way, and penalized one second for each second that they're either early or late. Only cars built in 1972 and earlier are eligible.

Keeping with the competition, the routes are kept secret until right before the start of the race.

There are $150,000 in prizes.

"I did it once on a test run, and it was really stressful, but a fun kind of stressful," Sandoro said.

The event is presented by Hagerty and Hemmings Motor News. The race began in 1983, taking its name from the 1965 movie, "The Great Race," a comedy that starred Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk.

There are no comments - be the first to comment