After the Middle Eastern stage of the 5 Continents Drive Project Asia in February and March is the Indian and Southeast Asian stage. The road conditions in India, Myanmar, and Thailand, the three countries making up the first part of the stage, change every few kilometers. The weather changes dramatically during the day. People and animals cross roads whenever they feel like it. Motorcycles ride down roads the wrong way. Road surface conditions are rough, with potholes too many to count.
When they drive, the team members need to have intense concentration and the ability to respond calmly to whatever happens as well as to clearly signal their intentions. The experience of having to pay full attention to the roads drove home to them the fundamental fact that people place their lives in the hands of a car.
In Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, the countries making up the second part of the stage, the team learned about the unique conditions in each of these countries, from their economies to gridlock traffic and car and motorcycle drivers who at a glance seem to drive without rules. By the time the team arrived in Vietnam, they had built up experience and teamwork that allowed them to readily overcome the difficulties of driving on challenging roads.
The team members are able to learn many things from their conversations with local customers, but only by taking the wheel themselves can they also share many of the sensory experiences. The team members will take the experiences they have gained driving through these eight countries back with them as the seeds for making better cars.
INDIA & SOUTHEAST ASIA
With the beginning of the Asian stage underway, Drive Project has traversed six Middle Eastern nations: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE. As they drive each country, our drivers have been amazed by the various roles cars serve on the region’s roads. In fishing villages, they tug boats. Out in the wilderness, a car’s performance can mean the difference between life and death. Yet there are also places along the Drive Project route where the concept “fun to drive” is well appreciated.
Our team drivers got to experience the roads of the Middle East through intense stimulation of all of senses. A level of perception that would never have been possible on test courses. But Asia is vast. The 5th Continents Drive Project has just begun.