Land Rover Defender Returns to Dakar in Supporting Role

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

Land Rover Defender 110s are taking on the 2021 Dakar Rally, the 13-day, 12-stage, 4,751-mile all-terrain challenge. One of the toughest sporting events in the world, these production-spec models will support an ambitious new Dakar Rally team, Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) throughout the race.

These Defender 110 4x4s will be tasked with negotiating extreme conditions, traversing desert dunes, mud, camel grass, and rocks as they carry vital supplies, crew, and equipment for the team and drivers. BRX’s driver lineup includes nine-time World Rally Champion, France’s Sébastien Loeb, and two-time Dakar Rally winner, Spain’s Nani Roma. The crew members will camp, eat, and sleep in these SUVs across 12 grueling stages of desert racing.

The Defenders are powered by Land Rover’s 400PS inline-six Ingenium gas engine, featuring mild hybrid electric vehicle technology. Fitted with the Explorer Pack, an expedition roof rack, raised air intake, wheel arch protection, and exterior side-mounted gear carriers are included. In addition, a roof ladder provides easy access to a roof box, which will help BRX carry all their gear.

“Land Rover has a Dakar pedigree in having won the inaugural event in 1979, and the rally remains the ultimate all-terrain endurance test. While we won’t be competing, the Defenders will have a vital role supporting the team as they navigate their way across thousands of miles of punishing desert terrain. The fact these vehicles are unmodified is testimony to Land Rover’s capability and durability,” said Finbar McFall, Jaguar Land Rover Customer Experience Director.

“Our support vehicles must be able to carry all of the gear and can be relied upon to get to the next service location, whatever the conditions. The Defender provides all-terrain performance, rugged practicality, and comfort, a crucial combination for the unpredictable Dakar conditions and after long days behind the wheel,” Prodrive team principal, Paul Howorth said.

Bahrain Raid Xtreme is the vision of Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, HRH The Crown Prince of Bahrain, and Deputy King. The 51-year old Crown Prince is the heir apparent and first deputy prime minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain. He is also the deputy supreme commander of the Bahrain Defense Force.

Team BRX, a platform to showcase the values of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, is managed by Prodrive, the Banbury, UK-based, multiple World Motorsport Championship-winning team, and advanced engineering group. HRH has enlisted Prodrive to contest the 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally, to be held in Saudi Arabia. The competition will be conducted from January 3-15, 2021, in cooperation with the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • Micko4472 Micko4472 on Dec 23, 2020

    One wonders ... Did Land Rover pay someone to allow them to provide these support vehicles? If I were chosing support vehicles, I would choose Toyota Tacoma or 4Runner or Lexus GX460. Maybe you'd need to add better skid plates and/or taller tires, but you have a lot more reliable vehicle. I know of no stock SUV that is more capable than the GX460.

  • NeilM NeilM on Dec 23, 2020

    [Delete]

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
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