Tech by VICE

We're Sponsoring a Rally Car in the 'Greatest Race in the World'

Seriously. Here's why.

by MOTHERBOARD STAFF
Jul 8 2015, 3:00pm

Image: The Mad Bombers

The Mongol Rally is a sprawling Eurasian car race that turns the traditional car rally on its head. It has been described as "the greatest race in the world," and this year there's a car literally with Motherboard's name on it.

We're excited to announce that we'll be sponsoring a team in this year's Rally, which kicks off outside London on July 19. Over the course of our team's journey, which should run about 10 weeks, we'll be featuring a slate of exclusive editorial and photo dispatches from the road as they make their way from London to Germany, the Czech Republic, Kosovo, Romania, and Turkey, and on into the heart of Siberia.

About the team: They call themselves The Mad Bombers. They're all former members of US military bomb squads. On Motherboard we've looked at explosive ordnance disposal before as a way into a bigger discussion about the human-robot interaction taken to the extreme, like remotely defusing a roadside bomb with a small ground robot, something all three members of our rally team did while serving in the Middle East.

This is a nice way to follow that thread, especially considering the first of only three official Rally ground rules is that a team car "must be small and rubbish." (In other words, every car in the race is bound to hit technical difficulties along the way. If our team's car breaks down, that's the point.) This is really a story about the value of taking on a difficult, grueling challenge, and about using busted tech—stuff that fails—on purpose as a way to gain that experience.

Our team's car, just after it was purchased. Photo: Tyler Reiser/Mad Bombers

One of the other rules is that teams must donate a certain amount of their funding to charity—in The Mad Bombers' case, a foundation that supports former EOD technicians. Throwing our support behind something like that is simply a no-brainer for us.

So buckle in, and stayed tuned. This will be a wild ride.

-Brian Anderson, features editor