Woman racer and philanthropist Renée Brinkerhoff, a 64-year-old Colorado resident, has travelled the world for one cause – to rescue children around the globe from human trafficking. Through her ‘Project 356 World Rally Tour,’ a quest she’s created through her racing and fundraising arms Valkyrie Racing/Valkyrie Gives, she’s conquering six rallies on seven continents and challenging the global community to help make an impact to change the lives of children and women at risk.
“We’re on a million-dollar mission to support anti-human trafficking efforts,” said Renee. “Our rallying endeavors worldwide have been building momentum for our ultimate challenge this coming winter in Antarctica – a final 356 miles on ice that will complete our near 20,000-mile journey in a vintage 356 Porsche – and every mile we drive spreads the word for our cause.”
Since 2013, this American racing driver has not only become the only woman to achieve a class win during a driving debut in the dangerous La Carrera Panamericana rally (an event she’s driven and podiumed four times!), but also earned recognition as leading the only team to ever race and finish the grueling East African Safari Classic Rally in a Porsche 356.
Throughout Renee’s global journey, she’s traversing roads around the world, some as high as 16,000 ft. off-road in the Peruvian Andes, that have never been driven by an iconic 356. AND, during the same timeframes, she provides education, funds and supplies to pre-vetted international organizations, helping women and children at risk. Within these remote villages, she speaks at orphanages, engages hundreds of foreign children and provides education to keep children safe.
Renee’s racing passions weren’t realized until she was 56. She’s now been married more than 40 years, counts her successes of sending her four home-educated children to college with academic scholarships – and brings her family’s support to each and every journey she encounters.
Her vehicle of choice – the 1956 Porsche 356A – specially prepared and engineered for every endurance event at UK’s Tuthill Porsche, the world’s leading Porsche 911 rally workshop.
A year ago, Renée and her 356 completed the 36-day Peking-to-Paris motoring race, covering more than 9,000 miles, 8 time zones and 12 countries. Come January 2021, her final journey for ‘Project 356 World Rally Tour’ will reach an epic crescendo in Antarctica, where her vintage 356 will take on 356 final miles on ice with her navigator Jason de Carteret (a world record holder in polar exploration).
Facing enormous engineering concerns to accommodate the delicate balance necessary to achieve a minimal carbon footprint while limiting the susceptibility of breaking through the ice, Renee’s 356 will not only be light-weighted with among other fitments, a replaced subframe, but the vehicle itself will travel the snow and ice utilizing skis and specially designed tracks.
The momentous finale will come on a blue ice runway at Union Glacier, when the skis and tracks are replaced with snow tires, and Renee attempts to set a land speed record.
Utilising the world stage of endurance racing as a channel to support her charitable efforts, Renée champions her own personal philanthropic mission on a global level through her dedication to fight human trafficking.
Seven continents, 18 countries, 20,000 miles. One Driver. One Porsche 356. www.valkyrieracing.com