Currently reading: Production-ready Zarooq Sand Racer 500 GT revealed
Rear-wheel drive Emirati off-road supercar is powered by a 518bhp V8 and costs around £350,000

This is the new Zarooq Sand Racer 500 GT, the latest iteration of the Emirati off-road, street-legal supercar.

We first saw the Sand Racer two years ago when it was planned to be a competition and street-legal car, powered by a V6 engine.

Development has continued since then, with Zarooq saying that customer expectations have led it to fit a General Motors LT1 naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 engine with 518bhp and 487lb ft. Top speed is 137mph, and drive is sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed sequential manual gearbox.

The hot off-roader is claimed to weigh just 1300kg.

Zarooq is a mostly UAE-based conglomerate but has a multinational flavour. It was founded by Mohammed Al Qadi (former COO of Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina F1 circuit) and French former F3 driver Bruno Laffite, among others.

The Sand Racer 500 GT's chassis, which has a built-in roll cage, was designed by Spanish racing operation Campos. The composite body will be made in Belgium and the leather interior put together by Mansory in Germany. Zarooq says it will have assembly bases in the UAE and Monaco. 

Although rear-wheel-drive is rare for roadgoing SUVs, it’s fairly common on sand rail buggies and Dakar rally cars. The Sand Racer’s suspension travel is up to 45cm thanks to Dakar-spec Intrax dampers, and there are two height settings: road and sand.

Inside, the car will have two seats, a digital dashboard, climate control and an infotainment system.

Zarooq plans to make 35 Sand Racers in 500 GT specification, priced at the equivalent of £350,000 plus local taxes, as well as options; the company is open to bespoke customisation.

Zarooq says production of the first five 500 GTs has begun, with pre-orders taken for most of the rest; beyond these, there are plans to fit different variations with different powertrains, and for a one-make rally series.

First deliveries of the 500 GT will commence at the end of this year.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Peter Cavellini 11 July 2017

Don't worry.........!?

It won't come here,it's a Desert Car,and global warming hasn't turned Britain into Desert yet!
eseaton 10 July 2017

Well before you complain,

Well before you complain, what would be better and more fun if you happened to live by the sand?
Bob Cholmondeley 10 July 2017

Zarooq must have the world's most persuasive salesman.

How on earth did they persuade anyone to pay £350,000 + options and taxes, for something that looks like an exceptionally bad kit car.