Britain’s first professional Dakar team, Excite Rally Raid, will use the recently-launched Range Rover Evoque to launch its assault on the gruelling 14-day event.
Three desert racers – commissioned by RaBe Race Cars – will take part, piloted by Brits Martin Rowe, Andrew Coley and John Hardy.
Despite the car’s Evoque body, however, power comes courtesy of a BMW-sourced, 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six diesel unit, producing 271bhp and 480lb ft of torque.
The 1900kg racer uses a ZF six-speed automatic transmission, which delivers drive to all four BF Goodrich-clad desert tires.
Other special features include Reiger coilover suspension and a 260-litre fuel tank for the 5600-mile race distance.
Excite Rally Raid business manager David Jones said: “We’ve been working on this project for a long time”.
“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,” Jones added.
The 2013 Dakar Rally will take place in South America.