Dakar racer for the road breaks cover

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Prodrive has revealed the Hunter, a 600bhp, four-wheel drive all-terrain adventure vehicle based on its Dakar racer of the same name. However, unconstrained by regulations, the off-road machine has 50% more power from its 3.5-liter V6 twin turbo engine and greater suspension travel.

But while the car is even faster and more capable than the race car, it has also been refined. Ian Callum, who styled the exterior of the original competition car, has returned to the project to create a new interior more in keeping with everyday use than racing. A digital display gives the driver all the important information they need, while the center console houses the more traditional controls found on a road car.

Prodrive chairman David Richards said, “There are numerous hypercars on the market, however they all need good roads or even racetracks to show their performance. We identified that in certain parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, there are vast expanses still to be explored that go way beyond the access provided by asphalt roads. Therefore why not create a vehicle that gives the opportunity to explore these regions with performance way beyond that offered by any off-road vehicle before.”

The Hunter retains the Dakar competition car’s engine, drivetrain and suspension, but to improve drivability, the manual sequential gear box has been replaced by a 6-speed paddle shift. The V6 has been refined and retuned on Prodrive’s advanced transient dyno in Banbury, UK to produce over 600bhp and 700Nm of torque while making its power delivery smoother and easier to drive. Meanwhile, the double wishbone suspension with twin adjustable dampers on each corner has 400mm of travel – an increase from 350mm on the competition car.

Richards added, “We took the deliberate decision to keep the Hunter Hypercar as close to the original as possible. It’s about giving owners the opportunity to experience what it is like to drive Loeb’s Dakar car across the desert, but with all the comforts of a road car and the ability to drive it from your home, through a city, to any destination of your choice.

“The first development vehicle is currently touring the Middle East where customers are being offered the opportunity of driving the Hunter and confirming their personal specification for production vehicles to be delivered later this year.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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