FIRST LOOK: Sébastien Loeb’s Prodrive BRX Hunter Dakar Rally Truck

FIRST LOOK: Sébastien Loeb’s Prodrive BRX Hunter Dakar Rally Truck


Meet the latest ground-up creation from three-time WRC champions Prodrive; the BRX Hunter. Designed to take on the toughest motorsport event on the planet – the 10,000km slog across deserts and dunes known as the Dakar Rally – this thing should be totally unstoppable. So let Magazine’s Ollie Marriage take you for a tour of the truck that’ll be piloted by nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb. Series 29: Geneva Online Motor Show: First Look: Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here.Want to share your views with the team?

i guarantee you’ve never seen anything quite like this before it’s called the brx hunter and the best way to think of it is part world rally car park tank are you ready let there be light what we have here is a two-ton four-wheel drive off-roader that can go 100 miles an hour across pretty much anything in front of it i’m guessing this is a bit bigger than you expected so you might be wondering what it’s for well it’s clearly a tough truck so it’s going to do the toughest race on the planet the dakar a three-week long 10 000 kilometer epic across mountains deserts dunes rocks and anything else the organizers can find to punish the car or the crew inside it it’s been built by motorsports specialist pro drive and when the race starts in saudi arabia in january covered fingers crossed one of its drivers will be sebastian loeb yet nine times world rally champion sebastian loeb he’s fairly handy behind the wheel so it’s safe to say it’s unlikely this is going to be tugging around at the back of the pack wild looking thing isn’t it and that’s something that’s actually encouraged by the regulations because if you look at a formula one car the technical documentation for that is 160 pages long for this the cross country class just 16 pages that’s it and actually half of it’s in french so it’s maybe only half of that what it basically says is have a crack see how you get on try something different and this is different as prodrive isn’t linked to an existing brand it didn’t need to look like a road car but if you’re thinking the shape and angle of that rear deck looks familiar maybe a bit jaguar-esque that’s because this has been done by jaguar’s ex-head of design ian callum the man behind the f-type the i-pace and the crazy cx-75 concept car welcome to the hardest working bit of the car now you regularly see these things several meters in the air and you’d imagine that when they fall down they’d have loads of lovely suspension travel to catch them but no actually it’s about that much a wrc car has more wheel travel than that so they’ve got massive double wishbone suspension and huge ryga twin dampers in there to cope but these are not light wheels they’re 13 kilos each and the tyres are another 25 kilos you also need to be able to carry at least two spares and they live under here now if you’re anything like me when i first saw pictures of the car i assumed this was an intake but no you can sort of see from the shape that it’s a spare wheel carried nice and low from the center of gravity and one on either side and also the option of carrying a third one under here you’re not allowed to come any closer because what happens under here apparently is top secret however watch this it’s um mostly just empty space i can’t see what all the fuss is about right up top rear wing not for downforce apparently but only for high speed stability however it does have one amazing party trick if the car were to end up upside down in the desert they can use the rear wing as a lever to turn it back over no no they can’t that’s a lie time to talk about the engine which it turns out isn’t under here i thought it was initially or i just assumed it was but no and nor is it under the stubby bonnet up front in fact it’s almost entirely underneath the windscreen in here it’s a familiar engine though it’s ford’s three and a half liter twin turbo v6 ecoboost engine that you’ve seen in the f-150 pickup and the gt supercar amongst other things and it develops around 400 horsepower and 500 pounds of torque here the interesting thing though is that this is the first time they’ve allowed a turbo petrol car into dakar until now you’ve either had to have a turbo diesel or a natural aspirated petrol so what they’ve said is that so this doesn’t have too much of an advantage it has to mimic the power curve of a naturally aspirated v8 go figure time to go and have a look inside look aston martin door handle look another aston door handle in here but very kindly they’ve recessed the exhaust back under the side here so that seb doesn’t burn his legs when he’s getting in and out now getting in uh right um that’s solid that’s solid that’s solid right foot leg leg shuffle down we’re in right very high side here and i’m guessing just an engine just in here somewhere speaking of which prodrive is very happy with the packaging they’ve achieved getting all the heaviest bits as sort of central and low down in the car as they can and the other thing they’re really happy about is being able to see out because it’s really important in the desert to see what’s the other side of the dune or what you’re about to crash into or land on in fact as the chief engineer put it he said think of it like a plane it’s important you have good visibility while you’re in the air i kid you not but it’s actually quite a mechanical and relatively simple car to operate once you’re inside you’re not even allowed to have paddle shifts behind the steering wheel i’ve got a clutch in the footwell and it helps you operate the um big six-speed sequential manual here then you’ve got lovely little hydraulic handbrake here but the only other hydraulics you’ve got on the car are the built-in jacks underneath it’s snug in here and there’s a lot of switches but you’re not allowed any dynamic adjustments from the cockpit if you want to adjust suspension or anti-roll bars out you get there are no active differentials or active suspension in the hunter either we’ve got a bank of switches here for the driver and some more over there for the co-driver so the drivers will got control of engine maps and lights and things and over here looks like the co-drivers got control of the speed limiter this is the central screen you’ve got 500 liters of fuel in things it can’t be used as a sat nav no saturn have in here instead there is gps on the car but that is only to be used by the organizers for checking your speed because it’s 180 kilometers an hour speed limit which is about 112 miles an hour and also they’re helping to come and find you if you stick it on its roof in the desert on the dakar navigation is done the old way with a road book and maps for the first time this year you can have a road book on a tablet but listen mr co-driver no netflix or candy crush for you you need to help the driver get where he’s going so what’s the plan after dakar well pro drive has set up a new brand brx to build the hunter and they think they’ll be able to assemble about five a year initially for customer racing but beyond that they think they might be able to have a role as a military application as an frv that’s a fast reconnaissance vehicle looking even further into the future however they think they might be able to turn it into an srv that’s a school run vehicle yep they really are talking about turning this into a road legal production car we don’t need to hear any more sign us up now you

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