HE HAS already driven around the world once and at the age of 77 could be forgiven for wanting to rest on his laurels.

But retired Hampshire businessman Les Carvall is planning to get back behind the wheel and encircle the globe again – not once but twice.

He and fellow members of his expedition aim to set a new world record by completing two circuits of the planet in 255 days.

They are planning to set out on March 31, 2018 – exactly five years after embarking on the first trip.

Dubbed the Ultimate Challenge, Les and the other drivers – all in their seventies –were waved off by BBC Radio Solent presenter Julian Clegg swinging a huge Union Flag.

They crossed 16 countries and three continents, clocking up 17,000 miles in five incredible months.

The new venture – Ultimate Challenge 2 – will cover 24 countries and 35,000 miles and aims to raise vital funds for the Food for Africa appeal.

Les, of Everton, near Lymington, said: “The first trip was a complete success.

“A year ago or so I thought ‘why don’t I do another one?’ It will probably be my last big journey so I might as well make it a good one.”

The first stage will see the team drive through Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Japan before travelling by sea to Vancouver in Canada.

They will then head to Prudhoe Bay, north of the Arctic Circle, for the start of stage two. After driving south through Canada, USA and Mexico they will enter South America and make their way to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina’s most southern city.

During the third stage they will return to Mexico and then drive north-east to New York – their final destination.

Les said: “We learned an awful lot from the first project. Ultimate Challenge 2 will be big and a lot of people will be involved – young and old.”

The adventurers are planning to make the marathon journey in two Suzuki Vitaras supplied by Suzuki GB in Totton.

Referring to his wife Vi, Les joked: “She did say that if I could get an en-suite bathroom in the back of a Suzuki she might come with me.”

Following the first expedition Les wrote a book with a title that reflects his silver spirit – Heaven Can Wait I’m Busy.

He will be signing copies at the Lymington branch of Waterstones on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. His fans will also be able to buy an accompanying DVD called Ultimate Challenge.