To take on the grueling Dakar Rally, you have to have a specially-built vehicle for the event. No standard road-going vehicle is ever likely to survive the event, let alone be competitive. With extreme off-roading competition set to begin in Jaunary 2019, teams have already begun preparing their vehicles. One such team has this: a Nissan Navara built solely for Dakar, as their weapon of choice for the event.
Built by Red-Lined Motoring Adventure in South Africa, the standard Navaras have undergone extensive modifications in order make it ready for the 9,000 km rally. For starters, the Navara's standard diesel engine has been ditched in favor of a VK50 V8 engine mated to a sequential transmission. Underneath, there is a new long travel suspension kit to help it go fast off-road, plus an increased overall ride height. Completing the makeover of the Navara is the menacing bodykit.
For 2019, the team will have three cars on the starting line being driven by teams from Germany, Dubai and South Africa. In previous years, Red-Lined has had 6 cars compete in the rally, five of which have successfully finished the event. Overall, the team has competed in a total of 84 Dakar stages and finished 82 of these stages. The team hopes to add more to this in 2019.
For those wondering, Red-Lined Motoring Adventure is not a typical factory-supported race team. In fact, they are an official marketing partner of Nissan South Africa and provides the automaker with “an experiential marketing platform that brings emotion and excitement to the Nissan brand through corporate events – in addition to the design, development and manufacturing of world-class custom Nissan vehicles”.
"When we go to Dakar and other international races around the world, we go with our customers. As much as we build our T1 Nissan Navara race cars to compete on the international stage, we are a private organization and are by no means a factory team trying to take on the top teams," says Terence Marsh, CEO of Red-Lined .