Race2Recovery, which has just finished Wales Rally GB with three of its four Freelanders crossing the line, is using the Defender Challenge to prepare new recruits for their Dakar campaign – which Land Rover is continuing to support – bringing them up to competition standard.
LRO confirmed Land Rover’s support for the Dakar run in our October 2014 issue. Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director, Mark Cameron says: ‘We are delighted to continue our support and association with Race2Recovery. What the team achieved earlier this year was truly remarkable, and perfectly embodies Land Rover's core values of going above and beyond.'
Race2Recovery captured the hearts of a nation (including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) by becoming the first disability team to compete in, and finish, the 5500-mile Dakar Rally in January.
Now a professional motorsport team rather than a registered charity – although still raising funds for Help for Heroes – Race2Recovery Motorsport Ltd has been set up by rally raid experts Ben and Keith Gott and Quin Evans, to continue the work the charity started.
The team fielded four Jaguar 4.0-litre V8-engined Wildcats in the 2013 event, with one – ‘Joy’, crewed by Matt O’Hare and Phillip ‘Barney’ Gillespie – crossing the finish line in Santiago, Chile. For 2014, it’s focusing on getting two Wildcats all the way.
Ben Gott will drive for Gillespie on the Dakar, while Quin Evans navigates for Tony Harris. Harris, Founder of Race2Recovery, says: ‘I am absolutely thrilled with Land Rover's continued support enabling us to compete in next year's Dakar. We learnt an awful lot from this year's race and we will use that learning to continue providing a platform for ex-servicemen to achieve the extraordinary following injury.’
Team manager Andrew ‘Pav’ Taylor told LRO that the importance of preparation is the big thing the team learnt from the 2013 event. As then, in 2014 Race2Recovery will also be supported by Bosch – which is equipping the Wildcats with state-of-the-art electrics to improve reliability.
Beyond 2014 the team is looking at switching to diesel power for the Wildcats, too.
See race2recovery.com for more about the team’s exploits, in Wildcats, Freelanders and the Defender.