All systems are go for the Great Race 2013 which will make a pit stop for lunch in Downtown Washington Tuesday.

The race is an antique, vintage and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally on public highways.

It gets under way Saturday and will take participants through 10 states in nine days for a total of 2,100 miles.

Washington Tourism Director Mary Beth Rettke said the first car should arrive here Tuesday at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Rettke said a pre-arrival ceremony is planned and an archway will be set up at Jefferson and Main, in front of the H&R Block office, to welcome the drivers.

Rettke said the cars will come in one-minute intervals. The drivers will park on the north side on Main, at an angle, and then walk down to the market for lunch.

As drivers finish eating, they will head back to their cars, be available to answer questions from visitors and then will leave to make room for the other cars.

“Each car will be here at least an hour on Main Street for viewing by the public,” Rettke said. “Main Street will be closed from Jefferson to Cedar so residents can walk down the street and check out the cars and meet the drivers.”

Nearly 100 cars from the early 1900s to 1968 are participating.

Rettke said race officials expect several thousand people to turn out to view the cars.

“We invite everyone to come downtown for this free event,” she said. It’s during the lunch hour so we hope business people will spend their lunchtime here and kids will be out of school so it’s a great event for families too.”

After lunch, the race participants will continue on to Cape Girardeau for an overnight stop.

The Great Race is not a test of top speed. It is a test of a driver/navigator team’s ability to follow precise course instructions and the cars and team’s ability to endure on a cross-country trip. The course instructions require the competing teams to drive at or below the posted speed limits at all times.

Each day the driver and navigator team receives a set of course instructions that indicate every turn, speed change, stop, and start that the team must make throughout the day — usually 220 to 250 such instructions per day.

Along the course route there will be from four to seven checkpoints recording the exact time that the team passes that point. The objective is to arrive at each checkpoint at the correct time, not the fastest.

The race began in St. Paul, Minn., and the finish line is in Mobile, Ala.