British motorsport and engineering group Prodrive has been around since 1984 and over the years has built numerous successful race and rally cars. We're talking the Porsche 911 SC RS of the 1980s, Subaru Impreza WRX World Rally cars of the 1990s and 2000s, and an assortment of GT cars for Aston Martin and other teams. Now it's turning its attention toward the grueling Dakar rally.
Together with Bahrain, more specifically the country's Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund, which also owns McLaren, Prodrive will establish the new subsidiary Prodrive International whose task is to design and manufacture a bespoke off-roader for the Dakar rally.
A computer-generated image of the vehicle was released on Wednesday along with confirmation that the Prodrive-developed off-roader will be ready in time for the 2021 Dakar rally. The event will once again run in Saudi Arabia which hosted the 2020 rally, where the Bahrain-sponsored JCW X-Raid team claimed victory thanks to the efforts of Carlos Sainz, Sr. and Lucas Cruz.
Prodrive and Bahrain will have a jointly run team that will field two of the off-roaders in the 2021 Dakar's premier T1 class. Prodrive is also willing to build additional examples for any interested customer teams.
“It has been a long-held ambition of mine and Prodrive to compete in the Dakar rally,” said David Richards, Prodrive chairman and founder. “To be able to do so with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat, and in Saudi Arabia, makes the prospect even more special as the Middle East is where Prodrive started its motorsport journey in 1984.”