Back in November, Britain’s Excite Rallye Raid Team took delivery of their new wheels from RaBe Race Cars. We spoke with Team Manager David Jones, right about a year ago, discussing sponsorship and what it takes to make ends meet in professional motorsport these days, and took this opportunity to catch up.
DESERT WARRIOR 3
The Desert Warrior 3 was built by RaBe Race Cars for the FIA T3 world championship. It might look like a kitted-out Land Rover Evoque, but this 4100lb (1900kg) beast would walk all over said garden (party) variety soft-roader. Beneath the satin black bonnet lives a twin-turbocharged, 3.0L diesel pumping out an FIA-restricted 275hp through a 6-speed sequential gearbox. There’s a pair of Reiger coilovers at each corner, keeping the BF Goodrich Race G tires and 16″ Compomotive Atacamas in check. DW3 can go the distance, too, with a 260L (68gal+) fuel tank, good for 1200km (745mi) at race speeds. Holding it all together is a custom chassis hand-crafted from T45 carbon manganese tubing.
What really sets this truck apart are some of the special features from Reiger.
- CCV (Corner Control Valve) This patented system detects cornering loads, stiffening compression damping on the outer wheel(s) to reduce roll, keeping the Desert Warrior flat-out, even when running soft (or no) anti-roll/sway bars.
- LCV (Lateral Control Valve) Another Reiger-patented system, LCV allows for more comfortable, basic damper settings by registering whether or not the suspension load is due to the wheel coming up – or the chassis going down.
- RCV (Rebound Control Valve) When airborne, the RCV softens rebound damping, allowing the wheel to drop more quickly in order to regain traction.
- HPDP (Hydraulic Progressive Double Piston) Talk about smart damper tech! At high speeds, the double piston damping is stiffer and more responsive than at low speeds.
UNDER THE COSH
David says, “We’re very happy with the new car – fantastic all around. Looks and drives great!” He recently got a chance to shake it down in Holland (see picture above). But getting the first all-British team to Dakar isn’t all off-tarmac shenanigans in The Netherlands. “It’s been really hectic here and we’re still a bit under the cosh – bringing in the sponsorship money is still definitely the biggest challenge – and probably always will be. We have a great acquisition agent working on our behalf who has had some very positive meetings with big name companies, but we’re still waiting for the deal to be signed that’s going to secure our racing for the next couple of years.”
When asked what obstacles they’ve had to overcome, Jones laughs, “Obstacles we’ve overcome? We’ve had so many set-backs, I wouldn’t know where to start. One recent challenge was that our website was hacked just after our most recent press release, but we managed to get it back up within less than 24 hours. (Someone managed to get it re-directed to a page that they had set up. Not sure what their point was or what they hoped to achieve).”
They’ve also had to press on regardless, despite having virtually no budget at all. Says, David, “I’d say one of our most significant achievements has been to keep burbling along with virtually no budget at all. Sheer bloody-mindedness is what’s keeping us going!” Definitely appropriate to the type of racing they’re involved in!
Excite will continue to stick with it. They will never give up. They will never surrender. We rallyistas have a saying, press on regardless. David’s wife (who is Japanese) says, Ganbarimasu, which means never give or keep on fighting. I think Churchill would be proud of the first professional, all-British rally raid team.
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Churchill, October 2941
Excite Rallye Raid is currently waiting on responses from a few potential sponsors – will they or won’t they? They’ve secured a certain amount of financial backing at this time, but they’re still hoping to bring on a title sponsor. “Keeping everything crossed!” as David tells me. Their training program is seeing the whole team operating at peak performance whilst their business arm is engaged in partnership – read it again, partnership – talks with several global brand about that title sponsorship goal.
I hope they land a mega British sponsor. Good things come to those who wait, and these lads (and ladies) have been working damned hard while they wait.