Bentley reportedly working on custom EXP 9 F to compete at 2013 Dakar Rally
It goes without saying that in its very short life, the Bentley EXP 9 F has already faced its fair share of criticism, largely revolving around its controversial styling. However, Bentley is not going to let the haters get in the way of its ambitious plans for the new SUV and if a report by CAR turns out to be correct, the British marque may enter next year’s Dakar Rally to help drum up support for the SUV and preview its off-road capabilities.
Rather than developing a handful of custom racers from scratch, Bentley is said to be considering purchasing VW Touareg’s from the various private teams which race the cars in the Dakar Rally and converting them into off-road machines which will resemble the concept version of the EXP 9 F, even if they only share minimal components.
Despite a company spokeswoman quickly confirming that no decisions have been made in regards to this possible entry into the world’s most grueling rally event, we won’t let that stop us from reporting on what could be an extraordinary racer if Bentley borrows enough components from the VW Touareg racers. VW’s entry actually won the event in its category in 2009, 2010, and 2011, before the factory team pulled out to instead focus on its upcoming World Rally Championship entry next WRC season.
If Bentley does decide to do what is being reported, they would strip the interior bare and simply fit it with a couple of bucket seats, while also installing the necessary fuel and water storage for the long and hot stages of the Dakar. Next, they would likely ditch the large 6.0-liter W12 engine which the top of the range EXP 9 F SUV is expected to feature and replace it with a lighter, more efficient and less powerful engine similar to 296HP units fitted to the Touareg’s.