As the official vehicle sponsor of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Volkswagen is providing about 3,000 vehicles to the organizing committee. Of those 3,000, however, none are likely to be as visually impressive as the Polar Expedition versions of the Amarok trucks Volkswagen built to conquer the Russian Steppes. Note: Amarok means “Wolf” in the Inuit language.
If boots were made for walkin’, then these trucks were made for schleppin’, for their route—a 9,942 mile haul between the Russian capital of Moscow and the Bering Sea city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky—was only less insane than the timeframe they set to do it in: just 60 days. Sixty days would normally be ample time to cross nearly 10,000 miles if you were traveling on well-paved highways with moderate weather. But when driving over three-feet thick stretches of ice, occasional lakes, and all sorts of what was definitely not asphalt, 60 days is enough to get you into the Guinness Book of World Records, which is exactly what Volkswagen’s team did.
Of course, the team’s destination of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is a long way from Sochi, where the Olympics are being held. But the sense of national pride, which you can read about in their blog, is exactly the type of feeling that Olympics are fantastic at inspiring. The purpose of the group’s record-setting trek was to generate buzz about the games in Sochi.
The trucks themselves are massive hulks equipped with what we can only understatedly describe as “over-sized” tires. If anything, their cartoonish proportions exaggerate the features that make winter tires appropriate during cold months, even in a place like Raleigh, which now looks downright balmy in comparison. Winter tires feature elaborate tread patterns that of course cut through snow, but also excel at gripping against ice, which is a more frequent concern in our region.
In addition, winter tires react against the least visible feature of the season that is the most important when it comes to maintaining proper grip and balance: cold. Temperature itself is a huge factor when it comes to your vehicle’s safety because tires are made from rubber compounds, after all. Using cold-responsive tires will extend the life of your typical all-season tires and help keep the roads safe when temperatures hang out in the 40s.
We’re glad to see Volkswagen’s quality on display at the Winter Olympics this year, and we’ll be rooting for safe travel for everyone. To make sure your vehicle is fit for winter, stop by and see us on Capital Hills Drive.