Those with a passion for motoring, either in the latest exotic sports car or perhaps in a lovingly restored vintage motor, will always be dreaming of the next trip. But there are a few subtle differences that distinguish a rally from a road trip.

On a rally or a road trip, it’s not about the destination, it’s the pleasure in getting there that’s important. Both involve sightseeing and driving for the sheer adulterated pleasure of handling your prized motor on unknown highways and byways. There’s no defining distance or length of time to mark one from the other, so let’s look at what makes it a rally rather than a road trip.

Road trips – Laid-back and go-as-you-please

If you’re planning an easy-going trip, driving your dream motor through Europe’s pleasant scenery and stopping wherever you fancy, odds are you’ll be doing a road trip. Road trips are to car fanatics what long-distance solo hikes are to walkers. They are journeys by road, taking days or even weeks. They are loosely planned and the main purpose is to enjoy the drive – wherever that may take you.

On a road trip there’s only you (and perhaps your co-pilot/passenger) to think about. You can be spontaneous, turning off to explore a promised waterfall, pretty village, attractive restaurant or other local landmark.  

Rallies – Meticulously planned and sociable

A rally may have the same goals of enjoying the drive, the scenery and the thrill of putting your favourite motor through its paces. However, a rally is dependent upon a third party – a company or person who has mapped out every detail down to the last minutia.

While some rallies may only last a few hours, most are longer experiences. Some rallies have Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) events or conclude with a concourse. Others simply record your data for your own personal interest without it being an actual race, such as the famous Gumball 3000 and our very own Radical Rallies. 

Most amateur leisure rallies include exclusive evenings of wining and dining, taking in the specialty cuisine of the region you are visiting. Look forward to sharing the joys of the day with fun people, exchanging humorous anecdotes, discussing the merits of your motor, and trading tips about other great routes to drive.

What to drive

Rallies bring together like-minded drivers and their particular pride and joy, usually a quality marque or limited edition vehicle designed to turn envious heads as you sweep by. Most rallies are limited to particular brands or types of luxury sports cars. For example, you may find a rally specifically for Tesla users, carefully planned to take into account distances and charging points on each joy-filled leg of the route.

Other rallies may be specific to a brand, such as Porsche. They can include all models from the early rear-engine Porsche 356 coupes to the newest Porsche 911 GT3. These latest models remain unfazed on even the toughest Paris-Dakar Rally, a gruelling off-road endurance event with a coveted trophy, but that’s another story. Most rallies, such as our Sandbanks to Monaco Grand Tour, simply have a participant’s list of eligible wheels.

The route

Rallies involve driving a pre-determined route independently but in the company of other drivers with a similar passion for motoring.The journey will be carefully planned to take in some of the best highlights, scenery and landmarks in the area.

You can expect it to include some exclusive tours and private experiences that money can’t buy. These may be once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as an audience with a motor racing legend or the chance to ogle some priceless motors that have made their mark in racing history. Rally organisers also have the clout to arrange afternoon tea with a local celebrity from the motoring world, a private tour and tasting at an exclusive vineyard, or perhaps the chance to see behind closed doors of a private museum or estate.

Exclusive rally benefits

At the end of each day on a rally, you will be checking into some of the world’s most exclusive hotels and boutique accommodations. Your booking will already have been made and your luggage will be waiting for you in your room. No problem that your Lamborghini Gran Turismo has next-to-no luggage space or you have an awkward Porsche Boxster frunk (that’s front trunk/boot for those from the non-Porsche-speaking world). These supercars were made for driving and enjoying, carrying a few designer shopping bags and a bottle of Moët at most.  

With a rally, all you need to do is read the prospectus, make your booking and dream. Everything else is taken care of. You’ll get a carefully detailed route and all ferry, restaurant and accommodation bookings are included in the price. From the exclusive launch party to the final celebration banquet, a rally is the ultimate road trip with knobs on.  

Image by Marlene Bitzer from Pixabay