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Racing driver weaves his way to slalom record on airport runway

By Echo Zhan

Racing driver Jia Qiang's latest speed adventure has led to him setting a new Guinness World Records title at the wheel of his Chevrolet Camaro RS.

He achieved the fastest vehicle slalom in a time of 48.114 seconds in Shaoguan, Guangdong, China, on 16 December 2018, weaving his vehicle between 50 markers spaced 15.05 m apart.


His achievement has helped launch this year's Guinness World Records (GWR) Day in China. GWR Day takes place in November and is a time for people around the world to attempt records, with this year's event adopting the theme Spirit of Adventure, encouraging people to push themselves as they go for a record-breaking challenge.

Jia Qiang, who is captain of Guangdong Shaoguan Car Club, already had one title to his name; the longest duration on side wheels in a car within a confined space, with a final time of 51.44 seconds, and spoke to GWR about his first driving experiences.

"When I first got my driver's license, my parents would not let me drive," he recalled.

"So I had to get up at four in the morning, took the car key and go out to run around, until dawn when my parents were not awake, and then returned the car."

His time to beat for the vehicle slalom was 54.82 seconds, 

Due to the nature of the record, it was not easy to find a road long enough for the attempt. Needing a stretch of road at least 750 m long, Jia and his team initially conducted tests on a shorter 400-m road with 20 poles. From there they measured the average speeds after each pole to estimate how long it would take him to complete the full 50-pole course. 

However, without a complete test over the full distance they weren't fully confident of breaking the record.

"When I was driving, I couldn't see how far away I was from the pile," explained Jia. "I noticed the problem when I watched video replay, so I have to practice again and again to see if my time is improving."

Finally, the team found an abandoned airport in Shaoguan, Guangdong. The only problem was that there were many potholes and stones on the runway, which had made the attempt more difficult.

The official challenge began in the presence of Guinness World Records official adjudicator Luo Qiong. Prior to this, Jia had not completed the full distance.

Despite this he broke the record on his opening attempt with a time of 53.20 seconds.

"The stones and the pits really had an impact on my challenge. The first time I went into the pit, the whole rear wheel of the car bounced up, and I brake to save the car and get the unstable rear wheel back. The time is much slower than my usual practice."

Despite setting a new record, Jia believed there was room for improvement. Second try, 50.11 seconds.

"On the second attempt, I deliberately collected oil in the pit. Because the first time I put oil in it, I went right through the hole and the car swung back. Maybe it wasn't enough the second time, but the car still swung."

The last challenge, Jia's goal was to get within 50 seconds. After the first two attempts, he had already got some understanding of the road conditions of the challenge leaving him much more confident.

Completing the course in 48.114 seconds, he broke the Guinness World Record title as well as his own limits.

From loving cars to becoming a professional driver, there is a constant spirit of adventure behind the step of pursuing speed.

What will your adventure be?

Feeling inspired to attempt a Guinness World Records title yourself? Discover your Spirit of Adventure by finding out more about GWR Day, including how you can get involved on the day itself (Thursday 14 November). We realise everyone’s adventure is different, so whether it's taking on a new challenge, fulfiling a desire for adrenaline or perfecting your existing skills – there's a record waiting for you.