Valkyrie Racing Completes 36-day Peking-to-Paris Rally in Porsche 356
Led by Renee Brinkerhoff, Porsche rally traveled through 12 countries in support of non-profit ‘Valkyrie Gives.’
Colorado-based endurance rally racer Renee Brinkerhoff of Valkyrie Racing may have been one of only four women in a field of more than 100 entrants to participate in and complete the grueling 36-day Peking-to-Paris Motor Challenge 2019. However, she was also the only competitor to lead a separate charge through four countries in her 1956 Porsche 356A that spread the word to stop human trafficking worldwide.
Brinkerhoff’s “Project 356 World Rally“ began in 2016, and since then through her non-profit “Valkyrie Gives,” has been a platform to visually bring attention to the devastating world problem that keeps women and children at risk. During the 2019 Peking-to-Paris event, Renee personally met with organizations and children in Mongolia and China to provide educational and financial support to positively impact the lives of women and children on a global scale.
“Rallying has provided me a world stage that entails so much more than fulfilling my passion to drive,” said Brinkerhoff. “My initial goal was to conquer six races on seven continents so I could give back something important on every continent we drove–and through those efforts we’ve been able to offer local support to orphanages and facilities to make a difference.” This past year alone, her organization has raised more than $100,000 to benefit those in need.
With her cause steadfastly a part of all she does, her 1956 Porsche 356A is the means to show the world the importance of her vision, as well as sponsors; including Porsche Center Oslo, Sierra, Blackriver, and LaLoma all playing a significant role.
This past 36 days brought Renee and her navigator Calvin Cooledge, an experienced rally competitor from Wales that has participated in more than 300 rally events, across varied terrain and swamp roads that covered more than 9,000 miles, 8 time zones and 12 countries; including China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Belgium and finally France. Together, they braved fatigue, weather, mechanical issues and emotional stress, to endure this lifetime achievement.
With less than 1,000 drivers to have ever run the Peking-to-Paris rally, it’s become a bucket list item for many endurance racers that are willing to wait to apply, as the competition is run only every three years. The very first event was in 1907 with only four of the five original entrant teams completing the challenge, and then went on hold for 90 years–until 1997 when it reinstated its own mission–with 2019 being only the seventh time the event has been run and completed.
Having finished the Peking-to-Paris event, Brinkerhoff’s global intentions extend to two additional continents, allowing her access to meet and exceed her goals. Next up will be the East African Safari Classic, beginning November 27, lasting 10 days. Known as one of the most difficult events worldwide due to the tremendous amount of dust, mud, heat and jungle roads found throughout, the event has yet to have a vintage Porsche 356 participate.
For 2020, Brinkerhoff is slated to fulfill her vision of racing on all seven continents when she heads to Antarctica.
After beginning her rally career at the age of 57 in 2013, she was determined to take on her own self-imposed challenge of completing six endurance races in seven continents – and utilize the world stage of endurance racing as a channel to support charitable efforts. By extending her own personal philanthropic mission on a global level through her dedication to fight human trafficking, a cause she has championed throughout her racing involvement within the countries of Mexico, Australia and Peru – and now China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia. Brinkerhoff has spoken at orphanages, engaged hundreds of foreign children and provided education to keep children safe. Later this year, additional contributions will be provided within Europe to organizations in Amsterdam, Paris and Austria.
To follow Brinkerhoff and her travels, give her a follow on Instagram.
Photos: Valkyrie Racing