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Zarooq Sand Racer revealed. Image by Zarooq.

Zarooq Sand Racer revealed
UAE-based outfit Zarooq Motors builds dune-focused competition car called the Sand Racer.


News homepage -> Zarooq news

What's all this about?

It's the Zarooq Sand Racer (ZSR). It's named after a snake, don't you know?

I'm going to ask the obvious: why?

Because it is a United Arab Emirates-built machine designed specifically to race up sand dunes better than anything else. Zarooq - the Emirati for the fastest and most agile snake of the desert, the Schockari Sand Racer - is the company formed by three motorsport and business professionals: Mohammed Al Qadi, Bruno Lafitte and Iannis Mardell. They were frustrated that nothing was quite right for thrashing up and down the endless sands of the Sinai Peninsula.

But I've seen 4x4s and the like racing there, haven't I?

You might have, but allow Al Qadi, the former senior director of operations for Yas Marina Circuit and a man who has organised national and international motorsport events in the UAE for 15 years, to explain: "The UAE is famous for amazing deserts, extreme safari motorsport and dune racing, but the performance of US and Japanese cars just wasn't good enough. So we decided to assemble a team to design and build the car we have all dreamed about, specifically made to race in the desert. There's a huge demand today for a potent sand racer, tailored for our conditions. We have everything we need in the UAE to build the ultimate high-performance desert racing car and make it an international success."

Bullish talk. What's the spec of this thing like?

It has a mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 engine, capable of anything between 300- and 500hp, and long suspension travel like a Dakar entrant - this can range from 350- to 450mm of movement, to allow for stable landing after the ZSR gets big air over the crest of a dune. It'll weigh just 950kg, has an interior swathed in carbon fibre and a closed cockpit with air conditioning; vital for racing around in 40-degree heat.

Who is building it - Zarooq?

Yes, with some help from key outfits. Each car will be hand-built in workshops in Dubai thanks to the assistance of JJ Special, with the design coming from Anthony Jannarelly, the man behind the star car in Fast And Furious 7 (it was called the Lykan Hypersport). Campos Racing GP2, the team that won the Formula E World Championships, had input into the chassis.

But what will the ZSR compete in?

A dedicated single-make championship held in the UAE, with maintenance and racing packages available, will be organised by the trio behind Zarooq Motors. The company is also creating an off-road racing circuit in Dubai so people can trial the car before buying: "The track will allow UAE residents and companies, as well as foreign visitors, to try the Zarooq Sand racer for themselves," Mardell explains. "There will be 'arrive-and-drive' offers as well as corporate event facilities and we will also be launching an off-road racing school."

And how much is all this sand-based lunacy?

Pre-orders are being taken now and each ZSR can be fully bespoke, given its hand-built nature. Deliveries will commence in early 2016, with the first 20 cars sold being Special Inaugural Editions. The cost will be between $80,000 and $160,000 and the ZSR will have an official launch at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.

Matt Robinson - 24 Oct 2015

2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.

2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.2016 Zarooq Sand Racer. Image by Zarooq.

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