- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
The rally started back in 1978 and was originally called the Paris-Dakar rally due to its geographic location. However, due to safety concerns, the event was moved to South America in 2009, where it has remained to this day. The event is now simply called the Dakar rally, and for the 2012 event will cover 8000-kilometers (4968-miles). The route for the 2012 event will start from the Atlantic coast in Argentina to across South America and ending the event in Peru.
The president of Mitsubishi, Osamu Masuko, is “very interested” in producing electric Formula 1 cars, with an eye to mutually compatible technology with their road cars. The governing body of Formula 1, the Federation Internationale de lÀutomobile, announced this month that it is working with representatives of the European Commission to develop a racing series for electric vehicles.
While MINI‘s WRC aspirations have garnered a lot of attention among fans of the automaker and racing enthusiasts, the British brand’s off-road ambitions won’t be limited to just one series. The German off-road X-raid Team has just announced it will run the new MINI All4 Racing car in the annual Dakar Rally, which now runs in South America, rather than on the traditional continent of Africa, due to security concerns.
The Dakar rally doesn’t get a lot of love in North America, but some of the machinery used in it is extremely badass, and the Volkswagen Race Touraeg 3 is no exception.
Looking like a Touraeg’s homicidal cousin, the Race Touraeg 3 is build for racing on sand dunes and features the appropriate jacked-up bodywork, special BF Goodrich tires and a 2.5L TDI engine making 296 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The Race Touraeg can sprint to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, not bad for a massive truck.
With 10,000 km of testing behind it, the Race Touraeg 3 should be competent enough to give Volkswagen yet another Dakar title in 2011.
Gallery: Volkswagen Race Touraeg
Hit the jump to read the official press release
With the demise of Mitsubishi’s Dakar rally program, Volkswagen has stepped in to fill the void left by the iconic Pajero rally truck. The Race Touraeg has performed admirably, but Volkswagen driver Carlos Sainz demanded that the Race Touraeg 3 be a significant step forward from previous iterations.
While the Race Touraeg 2 was mechanically sound, the third generation car will sport serious improvements to the aerodynamics. Spy photos taken in the Alps show the car looking downright mean when devoid of any sponsorship liveries, but we’re at a loss to explain what any of the aesthetic details also double as aerodynamics aides.
The Race Touraeg 3 is expected to make its competition debut in the Silk Way Rally in Russia starting in September, 2010, after which it will enter the Dakar rally in January.
Hit the jump to see the full press release
“Is that hashish in your race suit, or are you happy to see us?” was probably what Spanish police said to drug smugglers at the helm of a fake Dakar rally truck. The graphics-laden and off-road prepared truck had blended in with support trucks along an official rally route, in hope of delivering its load to the Spanish island of Ibiza in time for the summer party season.
Just what did police find? More than 1,760 lbs (800 kg) of cocaine, 15,000 ecstasy pills, marijuana, guns, and $64,000 U.S. in cash.
“The vehicle had been totally transformed to adapt it to its supposed participation in the competition as a support truck, with publicity and logos of the event painted on its side,” read a police statement.
Its drivers were fully kitted out in race suits, with official-looking route maps and race documents to hide their motives. In total, seven suspects have been arrested, all from Spain.
Since we have no footage of the criminals in action, after the jump we’ve placed a video of a Kamaz Dakar truck hooning in the snow with ex-F1 driver David Coulthard at the wheel.
*Note: the above image is of a Dakar support truck, not the actual one used in the case.
As a brand, Hummer’s time in the spotlight is pretty much over, although if there is something that can save the brand it might be a core group of enthusiasts and a strong motorsports background. While Hummers are best known for being excessive street machines, unlike a lot of SUVs, they are actually incredibly capable off-roaders.