If you’ve won the World Rally Championship more times than anyone else in history, you don’t enter any race without a pretty good chance of winning. So when Sebastien Loeb says he’s going to Dakar with a new off-roader built by Prodrive, it’s worth paying attention.
Top Gear has managed to get the BRX Hunter into the studio for an in depth look at the beast, and it certainly impresses.
Starting under the hood–or, under the windshield–the Hunter is powered by Ford’s mighty twin-turbo Ecoboost V6. Making around 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, it’s the same engine that Ford uses in the F-150 Raptor and the GT.
That’s not the only reason it’s noteworthy, though. It’s the first turbocharged gas engine allowed in the class that Prodrive hopes to contest in, so its torque has had to be designed to mimic that of a naturally aspirated V8 to eliminate any advantages it might have.The engine is hooked up to a six-speed sequential gearbox (Dakar doesn’t allow flappy paddles), but the rest of the driveline is actually quite simple by today’s standards.
Like any race car, the driver has a real plastic menagerie of buttons to pick engine maps and the built-in jacks, but you aren’t allowed any dynamic adjustments from the cockpit.
Any suspension or differential adjustments you want to make have to be done from under the car. At least you get a button to jack it up.
On top of all that, though, the video does a good job of pointing out the little things you might not notice from photos. Like the fact that the dark patches in front of the rear wheel arches aren’t vents, they’re actually spare tires. The exhausts are also recessed under the door to that Loeb doesn’t burn his leg when he’s getting in and out.
And usability might come in handy someday. The team thinks that the Hunter could have uses outside of Dakar. As you might expect, outdoor rescue is being looked at, but according to the video, the team is also thinking about making a version of the BRX street legal for regular people. And with its design by Ian Callum, it should look just as at home on the high street as it does flying high above the dunes.