BRITAIN'S ALL-PROFESSIONAL DAKAR RALLY TEAM IS BACK ON TRACK(S)...
The Excite Rallye Raid Team has announced its driver and equipment line up for 2012 and also for the 2013 Dakar Rally: the team will be running 3 vehicles specially commissioned from RaBe Race Cars, driven by Martin Rowe, John Hardy and Andrew Coley. (Driver biographies are detailed below in Editor's notes).
Poole-based Excite Rallye Raid is the only professional, all-British Dakar Rally team to beentering the gruelling Dakar Rally in 2013.
In fact, Excite Rallye Raid Team is the first professional, all-British team to ever set itssights on the Dakar Rally.
The team combines world class drivers with an experienced management, marketing and support crew, working with the tough and reliable RaBe Race Cars vehicle to fly the flag for Great Britain in the spirit of all the great British explorers and adventurers from history.
Business Manager David Jones says: "We've been working on this project for a long time; we haven't disappeared, but we have had to change our approach due to the economic climate everyone is working in. We looked at the level of media coverage for rally raid events, and recognised that if we wanted to secure the necessary backing, we first needed to secure the coverage, across all forms of media - and with some really unique ideas, we're confident we've now done that.
We were approached by a manufacturer, RaBe Race Cars, whose staff have been around the sport for a long time. They've been monitoring our progress for a couple of years and on seeing our professional approach, they asked if we could work together. We have goals that we would like to achieve which we can each assist the other with, so we have now set our sights a bit higher. Of course, this fits perfectly with our other goal of achieving the right level of financial backing."
Mike Jones of RaBe Race Cars says: "RaBe Race Cars has years of off-road motorsport experience at every level, from club to International works teams. In fact we have a family motorsport tree that is celebrating its 100th Anniversary of continuous motorsport involvement in 2012. The last 15 years have been devoted to Desert racing and achieving not just a finish but top honours at Dakar. Little known outside of the bivouac of Dakar, we have built cars for many other teams who race under their own colours and logos.
The partnership with the Excite Rally Raid Team is part of our desire to push our skills to the top of our sport.
The road to developing a serious car has been as tough as the race itself. After 4 years of testing and development, we now have a car that can stand up against any of its peers. The five prototypes have already competed at three different Dakars, achieving a mechanical finish reliability rate of 100%. With this reliability and the knowledge gained from testing in Morocco, we will be able to focus on the fine tuning of the D4_WN5 production version to leap into the world rally raid spotlight. This is a very serious Dakar car, and we are very pleased to combine our skills with the Excite Rally Raid Team for a serious attempt at Dakar.
The Excite rally team bring all the extra pieces together to help us move forward and have a serious all-British attempt at a podium finish and ultimately a world championship crown. We very much like the skills that the Excite team are bringing from a wide range of other motorsports and all the key members of the combined effort bring something very unique to the wider team. The 2012 season will be a great year for the Excite rally team and UK motorsport fans will see a lot more of a massive global sport that they all know and love.... the Dakar Rally."
Team Principal and Driver John Hardy says: "This is the best chance an independent manufacturer team has had to perform at the top level in a long time. We hope that we may be able to work towards a very good result on the Dakar in 2013 and then, next time around, why not shoot for overall honours?! We have always intended, and still intend, to give it our very best shot!"
The Excite team's preparations and training programme are ongoing at the present time and the next significant target is to participate in several off-road rallies in 2012 to help with the car's development and to build up time in the new vehicle before taking on the Dakar Rally in 2013.
Excite Rallye Raid is currently in partnership talks with several global brands, but the team would love to be backed by a British sponsor to round off the all-British package.
All in all, it's a very exciting time for Team Excite!
The Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally is internationally recognised as the world's most challenging motorsport event, followed by millions globally on TV and throughout the media.
On the event, hundreds of competitors cover in excess of 9,000 km in 14 days over some of the most hostile environmental conditions found anywhere in the world.
Many of the leading vehicle manufacturers enter the event as it is a unique opportunity to market their products to a global audience. Equally, a large number of entries come from private, entrepreneurial teams who are driven to compete in this prestigious event.
Driver profiles: Martin Rowe, Andrew Coley and John Hardy
Ex British, Chinese and World Rally Championship winning driver, Martin Rowe, brings a wealth of success and experience only comparable to a few other ‘works' FIA Off Road Championship/Dakar teams. Martin's list of achievements is impressive, with works drives for Peugeot, Renault, Ford and Porsche. Plus testing and development roles within both the Ford and Subaru works teams just add to his profile.
1991 Manx Stage Rally Champion
1992 British 1.6 Peugeot Challenge Champion
1994 British Gp N Champion
1998 British Rally Champion
2001 British Formula Rally Champion
2002 6th World Production cup
2003 World Production Cup Champion
2004 Driver coaching/various testing roles
2005 Drove in 4 rounds of the China Rally Championship winning 2 rounds with Team KST Ralliart China.
2006 Chinese Rally Champions with Team KST Ralliart China.
Represented Porsche Cars GB in the Transsyberia Rallye.
2011 / 2012 / 2013 Representing Excite Rallye Raid.
A National champion rally driver, Andrew has experience on tar, gravel, snow, ice and sand dunes! Andrew has over ten years' experience in the motorsport industry, providing TV Commentary and presenting on major international channels / motorsport events including Eurosport (Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), The Race of Champions, Asian Le Mans Series and FiA European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) and Rally Raid amongst others) and Superleague Formula. He has hosted and presented at events on behalf of several major vehicle manufacturers and has acted as Sponsor Host for the SEAT team in the British Touring Car Championship. In addition, he has provided specialised vehicle product training for the car industry and worked on industry DVDs.
1998 Started rallying, participating in 3 events, with 3 mechanical retirements! (He knew nothing about cars but learnt fast!).
1999 Won SE region tar championship 1600 class.
2000 Selected by the UK MSA to be one of 20 young drivers on the ‘Fit to be Champion' scheme (the first MSA elite scheme) and also entered the Roger Clark Award.
2001 Roger Clark Award manager Richard Stoodley secured Andrew a drive with 22 Motorsport (meeting John Hardy on the same team) in the ANCRO National Championship. Andrew finished 2nd in class A7 at the end of his first year in forests.
2002 - 2004 testing for 22 Motorsport, working as a motorsport instructor.
2005 Andrew was selected from 200 European entries to represent the UK in the final 10, for the Dakar Challenge, a competition run by Eurosport, NISMO and BFGoodrich to win a drive on the Dakar Rally. The Semi finals were held at Clermont Ferrand in France, Michelin's test venue. Made the final 5, knocking out JWRC regulars, despite not competing for several years. Final was in Morocco, where Andrew finished a very close 2nd to the Ford WRC team's test driver. Stayed in Morocco for a week to complete NISMO's Dakar training programme and was appointed reserve driver for Dakar 2006.
2007 Andrew could resist the draw of rallying no more, bought a 206 Cup Car, returned to the forests and entered 2 events to get back up to speed.
2008 Entered the MSA National Gravel Rally Championship and won class A6 after a season long battle with a Super1600 car.
2009 Change of career from motorsport instruction to motorsport commentary and TV / event presenting. Currently commentating on IRC Rally and Superleague Formula. Andrew has featured on ESPN, Eurosport, Motors and Bloomberg as a commentator. He has also appeared on BBC3, GMTV, Channel 5, Sky Sports and Eurosport during his rally career.
2011 / 2012 / 2013 Representing Excite Rallye Raid.
With over 20 years' British National Rally Championship experience behind him, John Hardy will provide reliable and highly important support to both Martin and Andrew, while being equally competitive. John has also spent many years working as a rally driving instructor, helping many British Championship drivers with car setup and driver training.
1988 John took part in his first Rally as a co-driver at Festival Rally Exeter, aged 16.
1989 1st National event as co-driver in the Mazda Winter Rally.
1991 Started driving Auto cross and Rally.
1993 1st National Rally as a Driver.
1994 ACSMC Rounds - John achieved a number of top 3 finishes in class.
1999 Testing in EVO 6 for K sport and ACSMC Events.
2000 Landed a drive with K-Sport on Rallye Sunseeker in a Evo 6. This was John's first rally in 4wd turbo car. John's co-driver was a journalist. John was placed 19th overall.
2001 Drove for 22 Motorsport in a Seat Cupra Sport, with Andrew Coley as team mate.
2003 British National Rally Championship competitor. Came 3rd in class in the championship. Worked at a rally school.
2004 Competed in several National rallies and worked at the rally school at Castle Combe.
2005 Drove the 2CR FM rally car with a DJ as co-driver.
2006 Started thinking about doing the Dakar and established Excite team, recruiting a solid core of drivers, co-drivers, motorsport mechanics and support staff.
2009 Worked with TV guys on Rallye Sunseeker.
2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013 Representing Excite Rallye Raid.
RaBe Race Cars D4 WN5 - Built for T3 world championship
Engine: BMW diesel N57 3.0 ltr 275 Hp 650Nm with FIA restrictor.
Transmission: ZF 6 speed / two speed transfer case.
Dampers: 8 x Reiger coil overs.
Wheels: Compomotive Atacama RallyRaid wheel 16".
Tyres: BF Goodrich desert race G series.
Fuel Tank: 260 Litre.
Length: 3.8 m.
Width: 2.0 m.
Height: 1.9 m.
Wheel Base: 2.8 m.
Weight: 1900 Kg.