Classic Outback Trial a step into automotive history

The desert plains of Australia’s Red Centre will come alive this weekend when 40 crews from all over Australia, plus a few internationals, set off from Alice Springs to conquer one of Australia’s longest and most grueling gravel rallies – the 2018 Lasseters Classic Outback Trial (COT) on 18-25 August.

Designed for both classic and modern competition vehicles, the field is a step through automotive history featuring vehicles such as American muscle cars like the Ford Mustang, 1970s rallying icons such as the Ford Escort and numerous iterations from the Datsun family plus European classics from Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Volvo.

Run as a series of loops in and out of Alice Springs each day, the rally is a true test of man and machine. Over seven days, competitors will cover 2,400 kilometres, including almost 900 competitive kilometres over 32 special stages. The terrain includes fast flat cattle roads, dry creek beds and rugged mountainous tracks.

Perceived as Australia’s version of the world famous East African Safari Rally, the event has attracted interest from overseas in recent years.

Welsh team Viking Motorsport return after dropping out of a strong second place in the 2016 event. The experienced Argentine pairing of Jorge Perez Companc and Jose Volta will pilot a Group 4 Ford Escort RS1800. Historic racing team Tuthill Porsche has entered one car while Belgian squad Silver Arrows Racing has brought the brutal sounding Mercedes 500 SLC.

Run by the Endurance Rally Club of Australia, the Lasseters COT will also host a non-speed, regularity event. A field of 17 vehicles will tackle the trial, including a rare 1929 Bentley Special Speed 8 from Belgium along with a range of classic Australian cars such as EH and HK Holden’s.

A prologue stage on Saturday 18 August at the Finke Desert Race facility to the south of Alice Springs will kickoff proceedings before competitors embark on seven challenging days of competition.

To follow the event, visit