Dubai: The 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 spoke on the team’s motivations, the design and build of the new car and what the Dakar Rally means personally for him.
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 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,” Richards said.
The chairman of Prodrive and the chairman of Motorsport UK while being the former chairman of Aston Martin, Richards is also a former team principal of the BAR and Benetton Formula One motor racing teams and as a co-driver, the World Rally Champion, in 1981.
However, it is the challenge that spikes the interest of many great drivers, including that of former F1 world champion Fernando Alonso, who is scheduled to make a 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 – he’s won at Monaco, he’s won at Le Mans and he’s tried to win Indianapolis, and he still wants to win Dakar. So that rather speaks for itself,” Richards noted.
This could be Richards’ final project in motorsport, with a glittering career spanning over 50 years and the Team Director admits it is 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,” Richards promised.