Sometimes back I read about the Great Driving Challenge by Mitsubishi Motors (Hindustan Motors Limited) and was thinking about it. Have received several requests by participants seeking votes to qualify for next stage which ensured that I didn't forget this event and eventually made me blog about it. First time I heard about the event I was excited and was even thinking of giving it a try. But after I read the specifics, I was disappointed. The whole event looks like an on road version of a reality show or 4 wheeler version of MTV roadies, than having anything to do with driving skills and racing. Participants get to try their hands on wheels only in the last stage-till then it is only about personality and voting. Most of the energy and efforts are spent in mobilizing your friends and contacts to vote for you and impress the judges with your attitude and compatibility etc, all of these having nothing to do with driving skills.
Shortlisting of top 100 pairs (phase 3) happen purely based on number of votes received and how interesting couple's profile looks. Only in final phase-phase 6, just 3 couples will get to actually drive. (More details on selection process here) So best of drivers are very much unlikely to qualify unless they have good looks and large public support.
Also early registrants will have more time to gather votes- a disadvantage for those who register late. Would have been fair to let everyone register first, then keep the voting counter open for a specific duration, so that visitors can compare all pairs and vote for the best. (being fair to all participants doesn't seem to be the intent- hidden agenda is to let people promote the event as much as possible while making an attempt to get votes)
It is a great PR exercise by Mitsubushi. Media publicity, publicity given by participants desparate for votes and google juice received through all those links (promoted to garner votes) is going to boost their online position. Adding a poll is a very clever thing contest organizers can d0-desparate participants will unknowingly promote the event at their own expense, time and efforts trying to gather votes.
Anyway I do not have any rights to criticize them, just that my idea of driving challenge was different. Mitsubishi is trying something different and executing it very well. Let us see how well it goes. All the best to all participants. Some people I know (some of them virtually only, haven't met)- Kenney Jacob Harsha Koda and Siva are competing. You may visit their blogs for details and vote for them if you wish. Anita Bora has also blogged about this and has expressed her interest-not sure if she's found a partner and has registered. (Update: Looks like Anita isn't participating, Harsha Koda has made it to top 100)
In case you're keen to participate or wish to vote, you've just 2 more days to act. I don't have a partner and didn't quite like the selection procedure, hence it is ruled out for me.
Logo from competition website. Car image from Kenney's blog.
21 July 2009 Update: Rupesh who identified himself as from Great driving challenge campaign team has commented on this post and has made an effort to clarify few things- his comment can be found here and my response next to it.
Also another friend of mine commented offline that this will be a great bonding exercise for participating couples. Agree on that. It will bring them closer.
Rally for the blind * Credibility of online contests * Self drive car rentals * Predict trajectory of this accident * Mission aborted: Himalayan 4x4 Jeep safari * Forgotten factor: Safe braking distance * Tata Nano Superdrive * Ford Figo Discover Smart Drive * Ford Endeavour TDCi MT review *