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David Richards: mounting the Dakar challenge

21 July 2020

Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) – the newly launched team to enter the Dakar Rally 2021 – has big ambitions for next year’s race. Speaking after the team’s launch announcement, team director David Richards has divulged details on the team’s motivations, the design and build of the new car and what the Dakar Rally means for him, personally.

The team – born out of a joint venture between British motorsport manufacturers Prodrive and the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Bahrain – is Bahrain’s latest foray into the world of motorsport. The project will include the building of a bespoke BRX vehicle see https://www.racetechmag.com/2020/06/prodrives-dakar-brx-t1-revealed/ that will compete in the top-level T1 class of the Dakar Rally.

The vehicle – which is currently being built out of the Prodrive HQ in Banbury– is over two years in the making and will be “the perfect car for Dakar”, says Richards. The Dakar Rally – with its extreme desert terrain and challenging courses – is among the world’s greatest sporting events, according to Richards.

“When you look at sport and you look at those famous events, whether it’s the Superbowl in America, the World Cup Final in football, there are some that stand out above all others. In motorsport, I’d say the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, the Le Mans 24-hour race, but I’d also say Dakar.”

It is a challenge, he says, that spikes the interest of many great drivers, including Fernando Alonso, who will return to Formula 1 with Renault in 2021.

“It is quite interesting, you look at drivers like Alonso, potentially one of the greatest drivers of his era who has won at Monaco, at Le Mans and he’s tried to win Indianapolis, and he still wants to win Dakar. So that rather speaks for itself.”

This could be Richards’ final project in motorsport, with a career spanning over 50 years and he admits it’s one of the biggest challenges in motorsport that has alluded him to date.

“There is one challenge we [Prodrive] have never attempted. A challenge that everyone says is one of the most difficult ones – and that’s Dakar. And that’s still to come.”

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