The Dakar Rally is undoubtedly one of the most grueling motorsport events in the world. The 14-day program pits competitors – in cars and bikes – up against stages that can last as long as 560 miles (901 kilometers). Prodrive is looking to sell a road-legal version of its Hunter, which competed in this year’s installment of the landmark event.
Unlike many race cars ported into the road market, the Prodrive Hunter will have largely the same dimensions, suspension, and structure as its competition compatriot. While the exterior largely remains untouched, the interior is a very different story, with plans to add a more pedestrian aesthetic and feel; the bar is set pretty low with the standard race car cockpit, but we’d wager that it will be a welcome improvement.
Contrary to the common ethos of detuning these vehicles for the road, the British outfit opted to add power. As the BRX Hunter’s Ford-sourced twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost was restricted to 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) – per Dakar regulations – finding more power wasn’t all that difficult. After extensive development on the Prodrive dyno, the same V6 is now capable of cranking out roughly 500 hp (373 kW).
“Nobody’s ever done a car like it before,” said Prodrive founder and CEO Dave Richards. “Imagine a road car capable of going across the sand dunes at 100 mph – and keep doing it for 300 miles because the fuel tank is so big.”
While the race team struggled quite a bit during this year’s installment of the race, it not only bodes well for future attempts but also key areas to focus on with the road car. Along with navigation, a lot of the teams struggled with tires that were small and weak – an issue that forced WRC legend Sébastian Loeb to DNF after running out of tires.
As ever, Prodrive is already looking forward to next year with promising exploits in road and racing markets. When all is said and done, the final vehicle will come with a price tag of around £1 million ($1.38 million at current exchange rates).