Beirut. Porsche Centre Lebanon s.a.l is giving its backing to two bold local drivers set to take on one of the most gruelling motor races in the world, driving a classic Porsche 356, a car forever remembered as an era-defining model for automobiles.
Passionate Porsche owners and members of the Porsche Classics Club, Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha, will fly the Lebanese flag and be the first Middle East representatives at the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2016. Starting from the Great Wall outside Beijing on June 12th, the 13,695km race concludes with a drive into Paris and the finish line at Place Vendome on July 17th.
Transporting the duo across Asia, Russia and Europe will be one of the most legendary sports cars ever built, the Porsche 356 C. An all-spark Porsche model, from which the segment leading 911 originated, the 356 is the embodiment of the Stuttgart-based manufacturer’s motorsport heritage and performance DNA. A landmark car in the history of motoring, the 356 set new standards when the first units rolled off the production line in 1956, and now in 2016, is set to further showcase how Porsche engineering withstands the test of time.
The particular model which will be driven by the team was originally built in 1964 and has been gradually restored since its purchase at a police auction in California three years ago.
Speaking ahead of the car being shipped to the start line, Assaad Raphael, Chairman of Porsche Centre Lebanon, said: “We are delighted to give our support to Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha as they embark on what would be a dream trip for any driver. While the event carries its own history, our two drivers who will be representing Lebanon, will traverse almost half the Earth in one of the most legendary cars ever built; the Porsche 356 C. As members of the Porsche Classics Club, Mr Habib and Mr Samaha are well aware of the Porsche legacy and it is exciting to see them extend the life of this legendary car. We wish them all the best in what is one of endurance racing’s ultimate challenges.”
Originally transported to its first owner on the 21st of January 1964, the Porsche 356 C in which the duo will race is powered by a 1600C engine with manual transmission and a power displacement of 75 hp (55 kW). At the time of delivery the car had a top speed of 175 km/h, produced a maximum torque of 123 Nm at 3600 rpm and achieved a 0-100 kp/h time of 14 seconds.
The car will now be part of a 120-group of registered challenger motors for the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, featuring drivers from more than 25 countries. 46 year old civil engineer Charbel Habib and 38 year old mechanical engineer Walid Samaha are the only Middle Eastern participants competing in the sixth edition of the rally since its inception in 1907.
For the 2016 outing, participants will travel a course which encompasses the most adventurous region of Mongolia after their start point in Beijing, China. The racers will then cross into Russia and on to the Republic of Belarus before taking in an exciting new route across Europe with closed-road mountain climbs into the Alps.