Škoda Marks 20 Years of Supplying the Tour de France “Red Car” ​

The Tour de France Red Car eads a pack of cyclists in the French countryside

Škoda has used the Tour de France as the ultimate showcase for its cars since 2004 by both supplying the command car used by the race director (known as Direction Generale car number 1) and more than 200 other support vehicles for members of the organising team and event management.

Most people will recognise the race director’s car as it has a starring role at the front of the field and is known simply as the “red car” by fans of the event. It is essentially the office of the race director and a communications hub via which race officials and management teams can control and monitor the race.

In total, Škoda race direction cars have started 399 stages and covered more than 41,000 miles since Škoda have started partnering with the Tour de France. By the end of this year’s event, the total will be 420 stages.

2020 saw the introduction of the first fully-electric “red car” to the Tour de France in the form of an Enyaq, the brand’s first purpose built electric car. It made its debut in the fifth stage of the event before being used on two further stages later in the event.

Prototype builders Best Modell converted a standard Enyaq Sportline under the supervision of Škoda engineers and the conversion itself included the addition of a sunroof above the rear seats and rising the height of the standard roof bars to make them easier to hold onto. They also had to design and source a new centre console and cooling cabinet for the traditional bottle of champagne.

To make sure that these conversions didn’t affect the driving range, two 75 ampere batteries were installed into the boot floor and the design was made complete by new champagne flute holders which were designed and 3D printed in-house by Best Modell.

Škoda’s commitment to the Tour de France extends beyond the high-profile command car seen leading the peloton. As the official main and vehicle partner, it supplies 200 vehicles to the organisers and race management, as well as service and support vehicles. Alongside the Enyaq, the fleet also includes Octavia and Superb models.

The brand, that started life as a small bicycle workshop in 1895, has also designed the crystal trophy for the winner for the past 12 years and has sponsored the green jersey for the leader of the points standings since 2015.