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New Dakar-proven off-roader promises to leave Ford Ranger Raptor in its dust

Prodrive will turn its Dakar Rally BRX Hunter into a road-legal off-roader.

It will tackle sand dunes at 160km/h, has been tested in the toughest car race on earth and has been styled by Jaguar’s former chief designer. The Prodrive Hunter is unlike anything you’ve seen before and you could soon be able to park it in your garage.

Ford changed the game for off-road fans when it launched the Ranger Raptor - Australia’s first performance vehicles for outback adventures at high speeds. Now it’s set to look pedestrian with the launch of the all-new Prodrive Hunter, a road-legal version of the famous British rally team’s Dakar Rally prototype.

According to a report in Britain’s Autocar, Prodrive is working to create a limited run of road-going versions of the bespoke Dakar Rally machine, calling it the “Ferrari of the desert” thanks to its combination of performance, capability and exclusivity.

While it will be made in small numbers, as each example will have to be hand-built, and carry a price tag of more than $1 million it’s bound to find a local audience given Australia’s passion for performance and adventures in the outback.

“Nobody’s ever done a car like it before,” Prodrive founder David Richards told Autocar. “Imagine a road car capable of going across the sand dunes at 100mph (160km/h) – and keep doing it for 300-miles (482km) because the fuel tank is so big. It’s going to be quite exciting.”

The Hunter is a joint-venture between Prodrive (who masterminded Subaru’s World Rally dominance in the 1990s and 2000s) and the Kingdom of Bahrain, so little expense was spared. The vehicle’s shape was created by Ian Callum, the former head of Jaguar and Aston Martin design, giving it a look unlike any of its rivals. According to the report, Callum and his team will tweak the body for the road car, po

The engine is based on the Ford 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol unit used in the GT supercar and will actually boast more power in road-legal trim than race-spec, as Dakar rally regulations restrict performance. The road-going Hunter is expected to punch out 370kW of power and more than 670Nm of torque.

All that grunt will be channelled to the road via a custom-built all-wheel drive system that has been designed to cope with anything the gruelling two-week rally through Saudi Arabian desert can throw at a vehicle - so tearing up your local sand dunes should be a breeze.

The road-legal Hunter will naturally get a more comfortable cabin than the spartan, race-ready version.

Prodrive is aiming to have a prototype of the road-going version up and running by the end of 2021, whilst simultaneously preparing to tackle the 2022 Dakar Rally in January with an upgraded version of the racing Hunter.