Adventurer Rainer Zietlow and his Challenge4 team departed Melbourne's Town Hall in their Volkswagen Touareg TDI, hoping to arrive a record-breaking 16 days later at their destination of St Petersburg, Russia.
Zietlow and his team will travel 23,000km on their adventure and pass through nine countries: Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, Kazakhstan and Russia.
The team will be looking to their Touareg to carry them through the most extreme climates and road conditions, including the Australian desert, the rainforests of Sumatra and Java, the Himalayas and the Kazakh Veldt.
The team of three will drive five-hour shifts in rotation, 24 hours a day. They will carry enough provisions for the entire trip and will stop only to refuel in order to keep to their punishing schedule.
The only times the Touareg will be at a standstill will be during transport across water.
The Challenge4 team are no strangers to endurance driving and have already achieved several world records behind the wheels of Volkswagens. Most recently Zietlow and his team set a world record for driving the Panamericana road from Argentina to Alaska.
They took just 11 days and 17 hours to reach their goal, and did it all in the same Touareg that will be used in their latest record attempt.
Zietlow, says: "It feels great to be getting on the road again for this, our latest adventure. Nine countries and 23,000km in 16 days is a tall order, but thanks to our supporters we have a robust vehicle outfitted with everything we need to get us to St Petersburg!"
The world record journey is also a goodwill effort. Zietlow will donate 10 eurocents for each kilometre driven to Plan International, a charity organisation operating a children's rights project in Laos.
Zietlow and the Challenge4 team have chosen the Touareg V6 TDI for its durability, high-performance and long-range fuel efficiency. Its turbo-charged 3.0l V6 TDI engine delivers 180kw at 4000rpm and a maximum 550Nm of torque at 2000rpm and is designed to perform in rugged terrain and mixed road surfaces at varying altitudes.
The vehicle has been equipped with larger tyres, heavy duty suspension and an enlarged fuel tank, but apart from that the vehicle is mechanically standard.