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What do you get if you cross a BMW X6 with a Dakar racer?
You get the Zarooq Motors Sand Racer, the UAE's new road-legal dune smasher
The Sand Racer is built in the UAE, and designed by Anthony Jannarelly, the man behind the unmistakeable Lykan Hypersport. It has a 3.5-litre V6 mounted in the middle, feeding an amount of power through an auto gearbox to the rear wheels.
How much power? Well, in standard trim, the Sand Racer – apparently named for the fastest snake in the desert, no less – makes 300bhp, though we’re told it can be bumped up as high as 500bhp if you so desire.
In a car weighing just over 1000kg, that should spell some pretty lively performance. No official figures have been released, but expect an on-road 0-62mph time well under four seconds for the hi-po versions.
But though the Sand Racer will be road legal, it has really been designed – as its name suggests – for smashing around dunes. Rear-drive might seem an odd choice for something dedicated to life away from tarmac, but it’s the configuration used by many proper Dakar racers. With up to 45cm of suspension travel, the Sand Racer should be able to handle some pretty sizeable yumps, too.
Zarooq Motors says it’s planning a one-make, off-road race series for the Sand Racer, a series we suspect might result in the replacement of many, many fibreglass panels.
“The initial idea revolved on how to promote UAE motor racing,” explains Zarooq. “Where do you find them [the future champions] today? Not on a track but in the desert.
“This talent can only be unleashed with a proper tool, with proper racing cars made for the desert. We want to offer the people of the UAE a car they can be proud of.”
If and when it reaches production, that is: Zarooq plans to show a finished version early next year, with prices expected to start around £60,000.
So what do you reckon, people of the UAE? Is this a car you can be proud of?