What’s the story?
Even though this thing’s called Desert Warrior 3, and been built to compete in the Dakar rally, the rain-sodden terrain of the Pro-Trax test track doesn’t seem like the ideal proving ground for a bright yellow, muscle-bound, 285bhp rally raider with oodles of Land Rover DNA. But boy does it prove me wrong. It glides across ruts with disdain and blasts through puddles like a rampaging warthog. Then, as you floor it up an incline – WHOOSH! – we’re airborne. It’s ridiculously good fun.
Ready to take on the big-budget factory teams at the 2014 Dakar in South America in January, Rally Raid’s latest offering, Desert Warrior 3, has been developed with the serious amateur in mind – the type who requires top-level performance and reliability while still staying relatively affordable. RallyRaid do that by using off-the-shelf parts from existing production vehicles or competition component manufacturers, saving thousands in development, build costs, spares and servicing.
Our Favourite bit?
Fed properly the Td6 offers V8 performance, if not better, while drinking less than half as much fuel as a petrol engine. It allows a smaller fuel tank to be fitted, translating into a 100kg-300kg weight saving. A smaller tank also results in less variation in vehicle weight, making it easier to fine-tune the suspension and meaning it’s even quicker across the ground.
The RallyRaid team opted for a single-turbo variant of the engine, limited to 285bhp and 800Nm (590lb ft), as per FIA requirements for the race. However, it can be upgraded to two turbos, 350bhp and tuned to a supercar-beating 1290lb ft torque.
And the verdict from LRO writer Jérôme André?
I start to wonder what a racing driver will do with this most perfect of tools at the Dakar, where every ounce of its potential can be explored all day long. Today’s test clearly proves that David, Paul and the team should aspire to a top 20 finish at Valparaiso. At the very least, it’s going to be fun watching them try.
Engine BMW 3.0-Litre Td6 Power 275bhp Torque 590 lb ft Gearbox Manual six-speed ZF from a Discovery 3 Suspension Double-wishbone with twin Reiger coil-over dampers per corner Exterior Range Rover Evoque-inspired Kevlar composite panels