New Saab 9-3 tests real-world performance on 5-day, 5,900-mile record run
NORCROSS, Ga. - Starting in temperatures of 30 below zero, and ending at 80 above, six adventurous travelers will run a gauntlet of unpredictable spring weather and road conditions in an attempt to set a record for traveling non-stop from the northernmost to the southernmost points in the continental United States. Just in time for spring-break festivities, the pair of Saab 9-3s is scheduled to arrive Friday, March 20 in the resort town of Key West, Florida.
Departing Monday, March 16 from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, this grueling 5,900-mile driving marathon will test the resolve and determination of the participants—and the Saabs—24-hours a day, for five days. Their journey will take the two Saabs from well above the Arctic Circle, Alaska, through Canada's Yukon Territory, British Columbia and Alberta Provinces and then into Montana and ten other states including South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Georgia and Florida, directly to the southernmost point at Key West. Clearly, this cross-continent run is not an average spring-break road trip.
"It's a unique driving challenge that no one has conquered before," said event organizer Billy Edwards, who holds a number of cross-country driving records. 'We plan to establish a new endurance driving category and a record in that category for subsequent challengers to attempt. The event will serve as an extreme durability test for the new Saab 9-3 in the harshest of conditions. We chose the Saab because it provides the kind of versatility and performance that this cross-continent adventure will demand."
Each car will have three drivers rotating duties to maintain a fresh set of eyes behind the wheel. Drivers will observe all traffic laws, including speed limits. In addition to testing the drivers, this highway marathon will be the first real-world, long-distance driving challenge for the new 1999 Saab 9-3, which goes on sale May 1, 1998. The Saab 9-3, the replacement for the popular Saab 900, will put its new suspension enhancements to the test on the rugged gravel roads of Alaska. The steep grades of the Canadian Rockies will work the Saab 9-3's potent turbocharged engine as it pulls a load of three occupants and all their gear over the high passes. The Saab 9-3's improved automatic climate control system will keep the occupants comfortable, from Alaska's deep-freeze to balmy Florida. This adventure will prove to be a thorough real- world test of every system and component of the 1999 Saab 9-3.
A full report and photo journal will be posted on the Saab USA web site at the conclusion of the event.