We can imagine a lot of things to do with a Classic 356 Porsche. Most would keep it as a weekend car or as a centrepiece in a garage. But in the hands of Valkyrie Racing, they’ve found another use for the classic automobile.
At the hands of engineers, the 1956 Porsche 356A vintage car has been transformed into a vehicular beast to tackle the snow. It’s task? To traverse 356 miles of ice in Antarctica. Audacious, yes, but the adventurous trek being put together by Valkyrie Racing is for a good cause.
‘Project 356 World Rally’ is both an expedition and a humanitarian effort. Set to flag off in December 2021, the challenge completes the ultimate endeavour by one woman, one car and one global mission to end child trafficking.
Up For The Challenge
Denver-based racer and philanthropist Renee Brinkerhoff is the incredibly tenacious woman behind-the-wheel of this reengineered 356 Porsche. Thus far, she has traverse nearly 20,000 miles over all seven continents – primarily while partaking in globally recognized endurance rallies such as Peking-to-Paris and the East African Safari rally.
The rallies have helped showcase her cause and charitable foundation Valkyrie Gives. However, the frigid ice of Antarctica requires a different sort of preparation and mindset to conquer the extreme environmental and weather conditions. Fortunately there is a pool of talent to help her with her new challenge.
Senior Chassis Design Engineer Kieron Bradley, a UK-based extreme explorer, has spent the past 18+ months re-engineering Valkyrie Racing’s classic vehicle mascot. He’s also ensured that the car itself remains both safe and carbon positive to complete the team’s long-awaited adventure.
Bradley’s own background as a polar explorer and three times world record holder provides the perfect synergy for the engineering aspects he can offer for this specific venture. He has transformed the classic Porsche into a snow going beast capable of conquering Antarctica.
Learning How To Ski In A 356
Engineering a vehicle for such a challenge comes with its own set of problems. For instance, if a pair of skis are only attached at the hub points on the vehicle, the hubs and attaching suspension system would potentially be over stressed and compromised, even under light use. Therefore, Bradley’s solution attached the ski brace bar to the ski leg, transmitting the load away from the hub points and attaching the suspension system.
Not only do the aesthetics of the skis look great, but they were also specifically designed to be supported by all the other components and to make less of an impact on the snow than a footprint. Bradley discounted the use of any tire and proposed the skis and track combination, increasing the flotation by as much as 300 percent when compared to Antarctic 4×4 support vehicles on 42” tires – the 356 will be gliding and leading the tracks throughout the entire journey.
Other significant retrofits of the car include a Crevasse bar that supports dual-sided solar panel (reflecting both sun and snow) and twin solar panels to produce a minimum of 150W at peek saturation. The vehicle itself is rated for an operational temperature range of between -50°C to +55°C, it boasts a recommended speed for component durability at 40 mph.
Sitting shotgun with Brinkerhoff is navigator, Jason de Carteret, a world-record holder in polar exploration and has led more than fifty expeditions including those to both the North and South Pole. Following the 356-mile endeavour, Brinkerhoff and De Carteret will attempt to set a land speed record on a blue ice runway in Union Glacier.
Will they succeed? You can follow the developments of Valkyrie Racing via the official website to find out.
(Images: Valkyrie Racing)