Many a racing team and driver has tried and failed to complete the Dakar Rally, a grueling three-week blast across some of the toughest terrain on earth, as quickly as possible. That now includes Prodrive, a three-time World Rally Championship winner with experience in all sorts of motorsports – but never Dakar, until now. Prodrive has built this wild-looking machine, dubbed the BRX Hunter, with an eye toward conquering yet another form of racing. And if looks alone were a predictor of performance, it’s already a winner.
If the exterior of the BRX Hunter looks a bit familiar, that’s because it was created by legendary Jaguar designer Ian Callum. Prodrive wanted the machine to look special, mainly because the long-term goal is to turn BRX into a brand. And perhaps eventually, a road-going production vehicle. But make no mistake – the design is also purposeful.
Take the giant rear wing, for example, which gives the BRX Hunter more high-speed stability and sharper handling at lower speeds. The hood and windshield were purposely designed to maximize visibility, which is critical on long jaunts through the desert. The wild-looking machine is also quite light given the fact that it’s a rugged off-roader, with a curb weight of just over 4,200 pounds.
The Hunter is powered by Ford’s twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6, which produces around 400 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque in this application. It sends that power to all four wheels, with a rugged yet simple suspension setup consisting of double-wishbone and twin dampers at each corner. There are no fancy torque-vectoring differentials or adaptive dampers here.
The BRX Hunter is by no means a groundbreaking machine, but rather, Prodrive sought to make little improvements here and there that will hopefully add up to a win at Dakar. We’ll find out if that approach works when this new machine hits the deserts of Saudi Arabia on January 3rd.