The 2015 Dakar Rally is officially underway this week, getting its start Sunday, January 4th and going till January 17th. The highly competitive off road race is the most challenging endurance race of its kind, pairing four classes of vehicles with a drive route that’s over 2,600 miles long through some of the harshest desert terrain on earth. The 13-stage race takes place in South America and travels through Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia on a coast-to-coast round trip.
The four vehicle categories are bikes, quads, cars, and trucks – each highly modified specifically for this race. Looking like a cross between a Baja 1000 truck and a Rally America racer, the car class has massive shocks, meaty tires, all-wheel-drive, and a full roll cage. The truck class resembles a monster truck rally than a Baja race. Also called the Lorrie class, the trucks are cab-over-engine designs and weight over 7,716 pounds. Think Mercedes Unimog.
Though all four vehicle classes run the same basic race, specific routes are planed out to maximize the challenges specific to each vehicle type. The motorcycle and quads are generally grouped together while the cars and trucks mostly run side by side.
Videos are added daily at the official Dakar website and include race details and results.
Click past the jump for more videos
Ram Trucks has just released the details and photos of its latest and greatest Power Wagon, a refreshed version of the heavy-duty, off-road champ that can handle nearly every strenuous task thrown its way. While the Power Wagon isn’t the only off-road-based truck out there today, it is certainly the only one capable of trudging deep ruts, climbing rocks, and fording 30 inches of water while hauling 1,490 pounds in its bed.
And yes, people actually do that.
While the obvious comparison is with the Ford Raptor, the trucks compete on two different playing fields. Designed as a high-speed desert runner, the Raptor is lighter and more nimble than the Ram while its suspension is designed to absorb jumps and bumps at tremendous speeds. Those Fox racing shocks work very well in those circumstances, but aren’t so great for towing or hauling.
That’s where the Power Wagon picks up. Built on the back of a Ram 2500 Heavy Duty truck, the Power Wagon has the strength of the heavy duty combined with the off-road prowess of a Jeep Wrangler. The fact both the Wrangler and Power Wagon come from the same manufacturer shouldn’t come as a surprise. They actually share some hardware – at least in concept — namely the front axle’s electronic sway bar disconnect. With the push of a button, the massive solid axle is free to twist in full flex, keeping its 33-inch tall tires on the ground no matter how severe the terrain gets.
The list of impressive hardware continues throughout the three-quarter-ton truck as the Ram powers its way through Prius’ nightmares and Raptors’ dreams. Click past the jump for the full run-down.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon.