Panda time ...

Record Run time clock

Panda tracks ...

Yellowbrick tracker

Follow the Panda's progress on the map page. The on-board Yellowbrick GPS tracker is sending updates every 30 minutes.

Click the map

Press & Media Coverage

...An excellent two-page piece in Autocar, published 20th Feb 2013

...Octane devotes five pages to the Africa Record Run story in their April 2013 edition

...the Daily Mail published this 'morning after' article on 12th February

Daily Express ...
...this article was published on 4th February as the Panda Pair crossed the equator on their journey north

Setting the Scene ...
...Philip looks forward from the Mount Nelson Hotel

Sunday Telegraph ...
...a road trip not for the faint-hearted is the headline to this half-page Sunday Telegraph article

Honest John ...
...introduces our Fiat Panda world record attempt and plans to publish daily updates when the run begins

Radio 5-Live ...
Philip took time out during his recent trip to Africa for this 5-Live Radio Interview

Daily Telegraph ...
The first national news paper article was published at the end of November

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Driving Cape Town to London in Record Time

New World Record Set by Philip Young & Paul Brace

Record Breakers, Philip Young and Paul Brace

Philip Young and Paul Brace

At 5.28pm on Monday February 11th 2013 Philip Young and Paul Brace drove their Fiat Panda under Marble Arch at the end of their gruelling 10,000 mile drive from Cape Town to London shaving over a day off the previous best time ever achieved.

10 Days, 13 Hours, 28 Minutes

The Panda Pair break two earlier world records.
Cape Town to London – 14 days, 19 hrs, 26 mins – Set in 1983 by Brigadier John Hemsley & his wife Dr. Lucy Hemsley driving a Range Rover V8.
London – Cape Town (either direction) – 11 days, 14 hrs, 11 mins – Set in 2010 by Mac MacKenney, Chris Rawlings & Steve MacKenney driving a Land Rover Td5.

Making the news...

In the record run follow up the Panda crew returned for a second interview on ITV's Meridian Tonight, who used some excellent clips of the Panda struggling against the battering of the North Kenya desert tracks. Autocar have carried two pages of Gerard Brown's photos and Octane have a five-page feature on the background and history of the trans-Africa record-breakers along with a summary of the Panda Pair's achievements. This follows on from various national newspaper reports including The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Star, The Daily Express and The Times who all reported on the Panda's success. (links in Press & Media, right)

What next for the Panda? Steve Cropley became the first journalist to drive the Panda on its return and will be featuring the car in a forthcoming issue of Autocar. Fiat UK have expressed keen interest to see the car tour various Fiat dealers around the country and Lord Montagu's National Motor Museum at Beaulieu have also expressed keen interest to see the car in their forthcoming exhbition, The Record Breakers, hoping the Panda can be parked alongside the land-speed record-break Bluebird.

Latest record run news ...

Marble ArchLondon - 11th Feb 17:30:00 GMT

Runnning like clockwork and timed to the minute Philip Young and Paul Brace drove their Fiat Panda under Marble Arch at precisely 17:28 GMT to claim two new World Records at the end of their epic 10,000 mile drive that started in Cape Town just 10 long days ago.

FolkstoneUnited Kingdom - 11th Feb 16:00 GMT

The Panda has Landed. It was bound to happen... The channel tunnel trains were running late so the Panda Pair had to endure another delay before popping out of the tunnel in Folkstone at 16:05 GMT. All that remains is the final dash through the rush hour traffic to Marble Arch.

DijonFrance - 11th Feb 10:00 GMT

It was a long and difficult night with snow in southern Italy causing a diversion to the east coast, and there was heavier snow around Geneva but the Panda Pair made it through and are on their final push towards Calais and Marble Arch. Philip has sent an update ...


Approaching MONT BLANCMont Blanc - 11th Feb 05:00 GMT

The Panda pair made excellent progress through the night and are now back on the original planned route, close to the Mont Blanc tunnel. They are ahead of their original schedule and coping well with some light snow cover.

ITALY UPDATEItaly - 10th Feb 20:00 GMT

During the last 24 hours snow has hit Italy all the way south to below Naples. To avoid higher roads we had a plan to divert to the Adriatic coast. Our hand was forced when the police closed the A3 and diverted all traffic to the east. This route is a little longer but hopefully will see the 3P's near Milan very early tomorrow. From their position at 20:00 GMT it is 900kms to Milan

Approaching PalermoMediterranean - 10th Feb 09:30 GMT

Delayed by the knock on effect of recent troubles in Tunisia and after the usual document dramas the Panda Pair set sail for Palermo. Looking for breakfast and eager to continue their driving epic, Philip has sent an update ...


All at SeaMediterranean - 10th Feb 02:00 GMT

There was a nervous wait for those watching the Yellowbrick tracker as the due sailing time passed and the Panda appeared to be on and off the ferry. But, eventually the 3P's were on their way to Sicily. ETA Palermo is likely to be around 11:00 GMT

Out of AfricaTunisia - 9th Feb 11:30 GMT

At Tunis the 3P’s have driven 13,554kms in 197hrs 45m at an average of 68.54 kph... that’s 8,418 miles in 8 days 5hrs 45m at 42mph. Before falling asleep for a few precious hours waiting for the ferry to Sicily, Philip has sent an update ...


Into TunisiaRas Ajdir, Border - 9th Feb 03:00 GMT

It took the Panda Pair a few minutes less than 18 hours to cover the 1,550kms through Libya and just 60 minutes to complete the border formalities to see them on the road in Tunisia for the final African leg of their epic drive. A mere 600kms remain before the ferry to Europe.

Libya RoadtripMisrata - 8th Feb 21:00 GMT

Thirteen hours on the road in Libya and the Panda Pair see the consequences of war and experience the natural friendliness of the local people. Occasional road blocks briefly interrupt their progress so they save time by eating on the run ...


Into Libya!Amsaad Border - 8th Feb 05:00 GMT

At 6.45am local time Philip, Paul and the Panda arrived at the Egypt - Libya border to confront their greatest hurdle... could this be the end of their odyssey? There were warm smiles all round and after three hours nervous waiting they were on their way ...


Cairo UpdateCairo - 7th Feb 19:30 GMT

In Cairo the 3P's have driven over 10,700 kms from Cape Town and over 1,200 kms since entering Egypt at dawn this morning. They have been doing a little car maintenance and coping with an unwanted drama. Ahead lies a different challenge ...


LUXOR PIT STOPLuxor - 7th Feb 11:30 GMT

The crossing into Egypt went flawlessly (see new Gallery pictures), so the three P's had time for a tyre-shop pit stop on the outskirts of Luxor. A corner of the straw roof is held up by a pile of old tyres and more are piled on top to hold it down in a sandstorm. The worn front tyres are being swapped around using the spare and they hope to change the rear shocks at same time.

MAKING HISTORYLake Nasser - 7th Feb 05:00 GMT

In the early morning light, on a barge heading across Lake Nasser watched over by the ancient Pharaohs the Panda Pair are making history as the first users of the new border crossing between Sudan and Egypt. This is the culmination of many months planning ...


SUDAN IN A DAYWadi Halfa - 7th Feb 00:00 GMT

A few minutes before midnight the Panda Pair arrived in Wadi Halfa ready for their historic crossing into Egypt very early tomorrow morning. Since leaving Cape Town 5 days & 20 hours ago Philip and Paul have driven the remarkable Fiat Panda 9,500 kilometres.

North along the NileKhartoum - 6th Feb 15:00 GMT

The fuel tanks are full and they have food in their stomachs as the Panda Pair head north along the Nile to the next great challenge on their journey. Will their plans for a historic crossing into Egypt come together ...


RUNNING ON EMPTYMetema, Sudan - 6th Feb 08:00 GMT

With the fuel guage hovering on zero the Panda Pair's nerves were tested to the limit during their all night drive towards the border between Ethiopia and Sudan at Metema. Philip's latest news update paints the picture ...


OVER THE BLUE NILEEthiopia - 6th Feb 00:30 GMT

The Panda Pair have had a very long and hard day in Ethiopia where the roads have been slower than expected and petrol has been hard to find. At midnight they have slipped a little behind the ideal schedule. Philip has sent an update from the Blue Nile Gorge ...


IN SEARCH OF FUELEthiopia - 5th Feb 15:00 GMT

Yesterday the Three P's conquered the notorious road from Mars. Early this morning they continued into Ethiopia where their biggest problem has been finding petrol supplies. Philip's latest blog update has just arrived ...

A new batch of photos is in the Gallery


With Time To SpareMoyale - 5th Feb 02:30 GMT

The Panda Pair pulled into Moyale two hours sooner than the predicted 12 hrs. Philip texted... "Track ten times worse than last year. Car even surprised us, churning through deep sand with many troughs carved up by trucks". We also hear from Marsabit that the word on the street after they left was that they would never make it... They don't know Philip, Paul and the Panda.

Marsabit to MoyaleMarsabit - 4th Feb 16:00 GMT

The crew took time out at Marsabit to have a mechanic check the car. They have also recruited an armed guard and a mechanic to escort them 250kms through the night to Moyale. Their escorts have said it will take 12 hours (that's 13mph). We wish them well ...

BREAKFAST AT BARNEY'SNanyuki - 4th Feb 08:00 GMT

The Panda crew stopped for breakfast at Barney's Bar a few kms south of the equator this morning. They also found time to send us some new pictures. Check out the photo gallery. Ahead lies the Marsabit hell-road section. Philip has sent a brief update from Barney's and there is a link to pre-start video in the Press & Media Coverage panel ...


NAVIGATING NAIROBINairobi - 4th Feb 05:00 GMT

Three days in and 5,500kms behind them. A rapid passage through the border into Kenya had the Panda crew on the way to a Nairobi rendezvous with friends who helped them find a quick way through the regular morning traffic snarl-up.

A LONG HARD NIGHTTanzania - 3rd Feb 20:00 GMT

The Panda crew have a long hard night ahead of them, coping with Tanzania’s speed bump infested roads where every few kms there are multiple vicious, unmarked bumps that are almost impossible to distinguish from shadows or tarmac colour changes. We have just received a text update from Philip ...


Border dramaTunduma - 3rd Feb 09:00 GMT

Four hour delay in today's schedule after hassles at Tanzania border. Had to return for a missing stamp after 100 k and meeting a checkpoint. Had looked like another breeze through frontier formalities as Panda Pair had passports stamped in minutes all before the official opening time. Customs less helpful. Now running four hours late - our first real setback.

NIGHT DRIVINGNorthern Zambia - 3rd Feb 03:30 GMT

The crew snatched a few hours sleep in Mpika before returning to their relentless drive, aiming for the Tanzania border by 6am. The road is much harder now with potholes, broken trucks and dancing shadows that conspire to confuse the brain ...


TROPICAL THUNDEROn the road to Mpika - 2nd Feb 17:00 GMT

It's been another good day but Africa is becoming more challenging now. The Panda crew kept a lunch date before Lusaka but since then they've had to cope with heavy traffic, potholes and a tropical thunderstorm ...


Crossing the ZambeziLivingstone - 2nd Feb 06:00 GMT

As dawn broke on Day Two the Panda crew reached the ferry crossing over the mighty Zambezi after their first all night drive. The crew's concern was whether all the advanced planning would have the pontoon ferry standing by for a speedy crossing...


Approaching BotswanaMafeking - 1st Feb 17:00 GMT

Eagle eyed Yellowbrick followers will notice that Philip and Paul have found time for a meal stop at KFC in Mafeking. They have made good time on day one but their first long night now lies ahead. Philip has also sent a blog update ...


They are on their wayCape Town - 1st Feb 04:00 GMT

At 6.0am, a few minutes before sunrise in Cape Town, Philip and Paul began their epic drive. Today they follow the N1 & N12 through Kimberley and Mafeking to Ramatlabama then through Botswana to the Kazungula ferry. Good luck guys and stay safe...

TV & RADIO StardomCape Town - 31st Jan 11:00

This morning was a very early start to reach the studios of Expresso TV for their breakfast show then on for a Heart Radio interview before retiring to the Mount Nelson for a few hours rest and relaxation. Let's get on with the Record Run...


A Busy DayCape Town - 30th Jan 18:00

After a few tense moments bringing the Panda back to life in Cape Town's docklands the boys have had a busy day of last minute preparation. There's been car washing, and eating, and shopping, and packing, all the usual last minute activities...


The Team AssemblesCape Town - 30th Jan 12:00

The boys and Panda are at the Mount Nelson hotel where the car is receiving a scrub up after its long sea trip. Click the image to enlarge. Check out the map page to see where they are. The Yellowbrick tracker will be tracing their progress from 6am (04:00 GMT) on Friday.

Car collection dayCape Town - 30th Jan

Philip has been in Cape Town since Tuesday and Paul flies in early this morning. Their first job is to clear the Panda through customs and make it back to the Mount Nelson Hotel. Keep coming back, we'll post more updates whenever they find time to send us news.

The best laid plans

Less than a week to go before our start from the Greek column gateway of the Mount Nelson hotel. Now it's almost time to catch the plane to Cape Town we get to thinking about the months of preparation and everything that might go wrong.


Africa Record Run Gallery

There are more captioned photos in  Paul's Facebook Album ...

Video Gallery

Our Mission

Our Cape Town to London Route

Is this the ultimate test-drive for a reasonably-priced car?

In February Philip Young and Paul Brace are attempting to establish a new world record by driving nearly 1,000 miles a day for 10 days from Cape Town to London ...and they are driving a Fiat Panda, one of the smallest-engined cars you'll find on sale today.

The records in our sights... the British Army's, Guiness Book of Records, driving record has stood for 30 years, taking 14 days from Cape Town to London ...and it might just be possible to beat the outright World Record snatched two years ago by a three-man crew in a Land Rover Discovery as the best ever, 11½ day, drive from London to Cape Town. Can we do it?

We're also keen to leave some lasting benefit in our wheeltracks by raising lots of money for Farm Africa. We can't be sure to beat the record but please help us on the way by making a donation to Farm Africa. READ MORE ..

Some History

January 2013 is the 80th anniversary of the first record-run between London and Cape Town when a young Yorkshireman, Alan Gilg, set out to drive Africa from top to toe, the first drive down the length of Africa in a small car. For his epic adventure Gilg chose a baby Morris 8 with an engine capacity of just 900cc. With a nod to Gilg and to prove the ability of a modern city car we are using the lastest highly acclaimed Fiat Panda Twin-Air powered by a tiny 875cc engine.

There's a long and illustrious history of Africa motoring pioneers and record breakers. We look forward to adding another chapter to the story...


A Panda for Africa – the Preparation

Our Twin Air Panda at Tony Fowkes North London Workshop

The Fiat Panda was never designed to take on a non-stop drive through Africa where even the main roads can be rougher than rough. Vehicle strength and reliability with maximum crew comfort will be essential if we are going to break the record.

With this in our thoughts car preparation needed someone who could understand what we're attempting, so we called on Tony Fowkes Automobiles, in Park Royal North London.

Tony knows a thing or two about long distance rallying. As a Mercedes works-driver he came second to Andrew Cowan on the 1977 London to Sydney Marathon and enjoyed many other top results. As well as finishing 3rd-overall on the 1975 Lombard RAC Rally in a self built Ford Escort, Tony is a five time Paris-Dakar veteran, twice on motorcycles.

Taking the Panda to Tony's workshop seemed the right place to go, and he was keen to be involved...

More preparation ..