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Argentina to Alaska in a VW TDI

Rainer Zietlow leads a team of drivers that will take a Volkswagen Touareg TDI from Argentina to Alaska, a journey of 16,000 miles, in 14 days.

Volkwagen Touareg TDI
Rainer Zeitlow and team members pose in front of their Touareg TDI. Volkswagen

As a number of Audi TDI LeMans cars get ready to take on the Nurburgring 24-hour race this weekend, another driver has more-ambitious plans. Rainer Zietlow leads a team planning to drive a Volkswagen Touareg TDI from Argentina to Alaska, a journey of 16,000 miles, in 14 days.

The trip will start on June 29 in Ushuaia, Argentina. Fans can follow the progress of the trip on an interactive map on the team's Web site. Four drivers will take five hour shifts, going non-stop, expecting to end up at Deadhorse, Alaska on July 13.

The trip is timed to commemorate 75th anniversary of the Pan-American Highway, the route which the team will drive. Coming up through Central America, the route covers 14 countries, and reaches its highest elevation of 13,600 feet in Chile's Atacama Desert.

The Volkswagen Touareg TDI used by the team has a turbocharged 3-liter V-6 diesel engine, making 225 horsepower and 406 pound feet of torque. The four-wheel-drive Touareg TDI gets 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. At an average of 25 mpg, the car will consume 640 gallons of diesel on the trip.

The Touareg TDI uses an AdBlue system to clean up its emissions. This system uses a 4.5-gallon tank of a solution that leaches nitrogen oxide from the car's exhaust. As the solution in the AdBlue tank needs to be replaced every 6,000 to 10,000 miles, Zeitlow's Touareg will need to undergo at least one tank refill to keep the emissions clean.