For some drivers, it isn’t enough that their cars perform at their peak, they have to be firing on all cylinders, at optimum levels, in the most extreme conditions imaginable. This need for speed has inspired some truly extreme and outrageous car races the world over.

At Prestone we’re all about excelling in extremes, and there’s nothing more thrilling than a crazy car race. Hats off to any and all of the drivers who competed in the below five death-defying, completely insane races –  the drivers and teams all pushed themselves beyond extreme. Strap yourself in, it’s about to get bumpy.

1. Rainforest Challenge 

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We’ll start off with a light and easy one. Only joking. The motto of Malaysia’s Rainforest Challenge is ‘survival of the fittest’, a none-too-subtle hint at the danger that lies ahead.

Cheekily scheduled to coincide with monsoon season just to make things extra unfair, drivers have to contend with a six-day race peppered with water-slicked hills, dense foliage, endless mud, and the snake-ridden surroundings of the jungle along the way. Oh yeah, landslides occur frequently too, rendering plenty of drivers immobile and unable to finish.

2. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

 

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Image credit: Flicker CC Drive eO

A go-for-broke, high-speed race to the top of Colorado’s highest mountain, the certifiably insane Pikes Peak Hill Climb has been holding its supremely dangerous fun run since 1916. Also known as ‘The Race to the Clouds’, the rocky road to the finish was paved with, well, gravel until 2011, when organisers decided to properly surface the track in the interest of health and safety. No such luck: it’s somehow considered to be more dangerous than ever before.

Comparatively short at just 12 miles long, the 156 turns and steady climb put paid to any notion that is an easy one.

3. East African Safari Rally

East African Safari Rally credit Geoff Bell

Image credit: Geoff Bell (East African Safari Classic Rally) 

A rough and ready jaunt across the African safari that’s considered by many to be one of the toughest races in the world, the East African Safari Rally involves over 600 miles of timed stages, with each stage consisting of more than 40 miles in length.

Throw temperatures upwards of 50 degrees into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for many an overcooked car. Long and torturous, traversing jungles and arid plains are all part of this deranged, driver-stranding endurance race.

4. The Dakar Rally

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Image source: Flickr CC landrovermena

You know your race has gone overboard on the danger when it has to be moved to another location to try and reduce the madness. Previously the Paris-Dakar, the Dakar Rally is now held in South America, where it is the off-road endurance race par excellence.

Danger looms large here. Drivers have to deal with 5,600 miles of unpredictable terrain, rocks, caverns, mud and all sorts of other off-road ephemera. Upping the insanity levels considerably, drivers’ hearts have been known to conk out while taking part, while some competitors have flat out disappeared. Most famously, Margaret Thatcher’s son, Mark, who went missing for six years while competing in 1982.

5. The Baja 1000

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Image credit: Flickr CC fasteddy 760

So far, all the other races’ extremity has come from the wrath of Mother Nature (along with the drivers’ questionable decision-making). The Baja 1000, a 1,000-mile off-road race through the Mexican desert, however, takes the cake for the most extreme race ever.

A race of that distance in that amount of heat sounds hard enough, but then there’s this: spectators are allowed to booby trap the course. Previous instances of sabotage have included pits, fake diversions and hidden obstacles that take drivers both by surprise and to the nearest hospital. Ramps are commonly set up, and oh yeah, hostage-taking occurs too, just in case all that other stuff wasn’t insane enough.

Less an endurance race and more a real-life re-enactment of Mad Max 2.

Prestone products are put through their paces in the most extreme conditions, so they’re guaranteed to offer brilliant performance and protection. For more information, click here to visit the Prestone homepage.