A British rally team is wasting no time putting the new 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque to work. Excite Rally Raid, Britain’s first professional Dakar rally team, is preparing to race the new Rover in the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America.
The new Rover may have good looks, but it’s also a highly capable off-roader in stock form. Excite Rally Raid is working with RaBe Race Cars to increase the Evoque’s off-road cred by swapping in a 3.0-liter, 271-hp, turbocharged diesel engine from BMW and mating it to a ZF-sourced, six-speed automatic transmission. Other features include BF Goodrich desert tires, a Reiger coilover suspension, and a 69-gallon fuel tank. The company will produce three vehicles for the race.
“We’ve been working on this project for a long time,” said Excite Rally Raid business manager David Jones. “We were approached by a manufacturer, RaBe Race Cars, whose staff has been around the sport for a long time. Seeing our professional approach, they asked if we could work together. We have goals we can assist each other with, so we have now set our sights a bit higher.”
Three British drivers — Martin Rowe, Andrew Coley, and John Hardy — will pilot the rally-ready Evoques for the 14-day, 5,600- mile Dakar race in January.