Poole-based Excite Rallye Raid Team driver and team Principal John Hardy recently took delivery of the new Desert Warrior 3 off-road race car in satin black, just ahead of Bonfire Night.  There were certainly fireworks as the team put the new car through its paces during a 2-day shakedown in Holland over the weekend.

Initial feedback was all very positive, ranging from comments of “she’s beautiful” to “what a beast!”

John Hardy said: “I’m really pleased with the new car.  Sometimes manufacturers lose something between the initial concept and the real-world, finished version.  Not this time!  The vehicle has a real presence.  It’s very well put-together, it’s strong and it’s rugged.  And it looks the business!  The thought and attention to detail in the design is mind-blowing: all the dials are at eye level, all the switches are where they need to be and the space in the cockpit will be critical as we’ll be spending hours strapped in!  In the hands of someone like Martin Rowe, it’s potentially a race-winning vehicle.  Now the whole Excite team is itching to get racing and prove to the world that Britain still produces championship-winning cars and world-class drivers!”

David Jones, Excite Rallye Raid’s team manager, said: “Things may have been a little quiet for the team for a while as the new vehicle was under development, but with this fantastic car now in our armoury, we’re definitely back and ready to make a lot of noise!  Congratulations to RaBe Race Cars for producing such a stunning piece of automotive engineering!”

Mike Jones of RaBe Race Cars (manufacturer of the Desert Warrior 3), said: “The Desert Warrior 3 is designed to meet the new T3 FIA regulations.  Therefore, it must run an engine from a car eligible for homologation as a T2 production car for FIA Rally Raid events.  It runs a 3 litre twin turbo diesel capable of 350 BHP when unrestricted.  The engine is all alloy and weighs an amazing 135kg.  This is mated to a 6-speed sequential box.  The car has a bespoke chassis made from T45 tubes, all designed in-house and tested over the last three Dakars.  The car is built with comfort in mind, although not quite the comfort of something like a road-going Range Rover Sport or Evoque.  It is very roomy, even for big people, as fatigue can be a killer on the Dakar.  The fuel tank is 260 litres, which gives us a range of 1,200 kilometres.  The Dakar organisers specify 880 kilometres, but we know the Dakar and sometimes you drive much further than people believe is possible in one day, especially off road!  We have worked hard to get the handling and reliability perfect but also keeping fantastic dune-driving ability, which is all too easily lost when designing such cars.  Just about everything on the car is bespoke, but of the OEM parts we do use, a very high proportion are from Land Rover.  It took Volkswagen hundreds of millions of Euros and 5 years to win the Dakar, but being British we will do things our own way.  Mark my words: we have produced a winning car!”

Excite Rallye Raid Team has secured a certain amount of financial backing, but is still keen to bring on board a title sponsor.

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