When asked for a description of the difficulty of the Peking to Paris 10,000 mile trek, a participant from the 2013 race responded with this very eye-opening and insightful overview.
The Peking to Paris (P2P) is the most difficult and rewarding vintage car rally in the world. It’s dangerous, it’s expensive, it’s punishing (to both man and machine) and it’s worthwhile. It will change your life forever once you’ve done it. But make no mistake, if you’re not prepared, it will bite you in the butt!
Your car must be built to sustain a severe beating. You must constantly remind yourself that this is an endurance rally; not a race! Slow(er) and steady will increase your chances of getting there. Those who get caught-up in the enthusiasm of the moment and who race ahead, dramatically increase the chances of breaking their car and possibly not finishing. I speak from experience in this regard as we broke down (badly) in the middle of Mongolia and damn near missed the group border crossing into Siberia. (We arrived on the back of a truck with an hour to spare after having driven at a breakneck speed for about two days non-stop!)
You better have the best computer you can get; and you better know how to use it – it could save your life. Mongolia kills cars and it’s so desolate that, if you break down there alone (like we did), you could walk 50 miles on any compass bearing and not encounter another human being – or find any water. You may need to be able to pinpoint your location via GPS in order to be rescued – and you better have a functioning satellite phone if/when that happens or you’ll be able to know exactly where you’re going to die but you won’t be able to tell anyone in the outside world. (Ours was broken when we needed it most – but that’s another story.)
We used a Garmin 78s GPS and, although both of us had assigned roles (driver/navigator), we found that we needed to be cross-trained for both. Use whatever GPS the ERA is currently recommending. When it comes time to have all your coordinates entered it’s much easier if you’re using the same machine that everyone else is using – especially if you accidentally wipe-out your coordinates en-route to your next destination! (It happens!)
Make absolutely 100% certain that BOTH of you are competent operators of your navigational equipment! Train on it ahead of time. You may need to spend months of time doing this in order to become proficient. Do it! And when you’re in the car, the driver drives and the navigator navigates. The driver must never (NEVER!) countermand the navigator and must never touch the navigator’s equipment. You must learn to work as a team and to trust each other 100%. Failure to do so will lead to a lot of conflict and a massive amount of unnecessary stress within the car over the next 30 days.