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What holds back American Teams for the Dakar?

Suhaib Kiani

Well-Known Member
What is it that has been preventing a significant presence of US offroad teams at the Dakar in South America? Is it the budget, is it awareness, is it the 16 days, is it RG (one way or the other), is it the cuisine (based on what BJ said on landing back home), is it the inability to drive down there or not knowing just where to start? Its probably a combo, but would be good to know from people who might have given it some serious thought or discussed it with others.
 

just_a_fan

Well-Known Member
in order for anyone to be good in this style of sport you need to do other cross country rallies and race against the other teams and drivers..and yes it's the money as most of the other cross country rallies take place outside the US soil..you cant just test and show up and expect to have a good result..the 2016 will be my 9th Dakar and i have been to every cross country rally all over the world not as a racer but as a person representing a brand that has been in the sport..USA Based teams need to race for a non USA team who has the right funding with a whole lot of testing..the Dakar is more like the Olympics of off-road racing and in the Olympics you compete all year long against the same people you will be fighting with....i can only wish to see an American win the Dakar but they can't just show up and expect a good result with out doing other events other than the Baja style events..
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
I think that the money is a huge factor, but it also requires a skill set (navigation, no-prerunning) that is very different from Baja. If you are a successful TT driver it is probably tough to pay what it would cost to campaign a TT for a season to go be a backmarker at Dakar (at least for the first couple of years). People on here think that their favorite TT driver would dominate but that is fantasy.


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just_a_fan

Well-Known Member
to run a full season of off-road rallies would cost you about 2 million + Dakar with a starting price of about 600k Euro's to 1.2 Million Euro's as a driver of course you could do it for less but then you get less.. 2 Car team in Dakar is what a small team would need..if you do it yourself then that cost goes way up...
 

harleys dad

Well-Known Member
A first grader can figure this out, MFG MONEY or should I say MFG teams are not there from the USA/ Look at Mini Peugeot Vw was there, Robby and his small team cant compete against that. A odd stage win is all he can hope for. The big 3 have no interest and Robbys half cocked effort doesnt stand a chance and has been a fine example of pissing money away.. Unless one is Donald Trump the average TT racer cant spend or have money to throw away like the MFGs have, the MFG can hire the very best, from drivers to broom pushers the best are there, not hoping some c or b driver ponies up just enough to get the 2nd car in the race at the last minute with shoddy support at best . I personally think Robby would be a many time winner had he stayed with the factory teams but to think his little team will beat a factory effort forget it, it just will not happen nor will any other team like his from the USA.
 

ace_photo

GET SOME
I think that the money is a huge factor, but it also requires a skill set (navigation, no-prerunning) that is very different from Baja. If you are a successful TT driver it is probably tough to pay what it would cost to campaign a TT for a season to go be a backmarker at Dakar (at least for the first couple of years). People on here think that their favorite TT driver would dominate but that is fantasy.
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The price isn't that far off from what it costs for two races in a competitive TT. You are spot on, no TT driver will go there and dominate. More likely get smoked. If they were smart they'd go low key and learn.

to run a full season of off-road rallies would cost you about 2 million + Dakar with a starting price of about 600k Euro's to 1.2 Million Euro's as a driver of course you could do it for less but then you get less.. 2 Car team in Dakar is what a small team would need..if you do it yourself then that cost goes way up...
This is around the same budget at top TT's run for a season now. Multi car team is a must from what I saw.

A first grader can figure this out, MFG MONEY or should I say MFG teams are not there from the USA/ Look at Mini Peugeot Vw was there, Robby and his small team cant compete against that. A odd stage win is all he can hope for. The big 3 have no interest and Robbys half cocked effort doesnt stand a chance and has been a fine example of pissing money away.. Unless one is Donald Trump the average TT racer cant spend or have money to throw away like the MFGs have, the MFG can hire the very best, from drivers to broom pushers the best are there, not hoping some c or b driver ponies up just enough to get the 2nd car in the race at the last minute with shoddy support at best . I personally think Robby would be a many time winner had he stayed with the factory teams but to think his little team will beat a factory effort forget it, it just will not happen nor will any other team like his from the USA.
Mini isn't a factory effort, but it is very well funded. RG does surprisingly well for what he's stacked up against. The truth is he does compete with the factory teams. If he had two more Gordini's running it would be a solid threat. RG is always in the hunt, which is huge compared to all the others who have no chance in hell and basically running the same progam.
 

spalind

Well-Known Member
For an American to win, on his own terms, his own team, his own effort you need to have big money...not just RG money...you need REAL FU money...Nasser money. Enough money you write your own ticket when and how you want. Enough money you can go to a team like Mini and tell them "Look, I know your primary sponsor and my primary sponsor are direct competitors but I'm going to write you a check so big that it doesn't matter and you're going to give me your best vehicle and support and I'm not going to give a damn about any of the rest of your team"

Oh yeah, and have a TON of talent behind the wheel too. With tons of real world practice year round. Not testing in Barstow or Baja but running true Rally-Raid events close to a 1/2 dozen times a year BEFORE getting to Dakar.
 

Bricoop

Well-Known Member
to run a full season of off-road rallies would cost you about 2 million + Dakar with a starting price of about 600k Euro's to 1.2 Million Euro's as a driver of course you could do it for less but then you get less.. 2 Car team in Dakar is what a small team would need..if you do it yourself then that cost goes way up...
Everything that I've read says you need to add a zero to those if you want a shot at winning against a factory car team.
 

Short Bus

Well-Known Member
I would agree that money is the main problem. Cubic money is always the deciding factor in most forms of racing. But the specific problem a U.S. effort faces is that there is little to no interest in Dakar or international rally raid in the U.S. American drivers/teams will have a hard time convincing a U.S. sponsor they will get a return on their (very large) investment by backing a Dakar effort. RG has shown with Toyo that an American can be successful at marketing via Dakar. But RG's personality is as much a reason for that success as is his actual racing program. I think a Euro/Asian/South American brand that markets itself based on "Americana" might be an opportunity for an American team/racer. My other idea is to get a known big name American racer involved (which means someone NASCAR) who would draw eyes and attract a U.S. sponsor. It would also be interesting to see one of the big Nascar teams try to use their resources to build a Dakar program.

It would also be cool if there was an FIA race or two in a North America. I seems like something could be worked out in conjunction with a SCORE or BITD event. It might not be the typical FIA style format, but if it counted toward season FIA points, it would probably attract a few of the top racers and might motivate a few North American teams to build a few T1 or T2 cars.
 

ltr450rider

Well-Known Member
Dakar will never be a big deal to Americans until an American wins it a few times. Example: Tour de France. The American masses never gave a rats azz about cycling until Lance went and dominated a few years in a row, now we have the TdF playing in 3 hour loops on NBC Sports all day and night in July.

I think the same applies to Dakar. If Robby or any other American wins it, there will be some quick Sports Center clips about it and some people will get interested. If they win it 2 or more years in a row, then it will start to garner an American following.

American manufactures are only throwing their big sponsorship money at the most watched, highest rated racing on TV in America, which is NASCAR. Why would they start throwing millions into a Dakar effort if no one in America watches it? Win on Sunday, sell on Monday only works if the targeted consumer market is watching.

With that said, if someone put Jimmy Johnson in a Dakar ride, American interest would skyrocket for a few months. If he did well for 2 or 3 years, then Dakar would have an American fan base.
 

just_a_fan

Well-Known Member
The Pugs and MINI's are running on a budget of more than 50Million Euro's with a 3 Car Effort the number i threw out there are just for renting a TOP Car from a TOP Team and PUG's are not for Rent..only the Toyota's and MINI's from the TOP 3 Team have programs that will allow you to Rent a Ride..Nasser rented a Ride as he is smart...if we all recall he did try his own team but failed and went back to renting a ride..then he won again..
 

Bricoop

Well-Known Member
The Pugs and MINI's are running on a budget of more than 50Million Euro's with a 3 Car Effort the number i threw out there are just for renting a TOP Car from a TOP Team and PUG's are not for Rent..only the Toyota's and MINI's from the TOP 3 Team have programs that will allow you to Rent a Ride..Nasser rented a Ride as he is smart...if we all recall he did try his own team but failed and went back to renting a ride..then he won again..
Agreed on the rental prices...maybe even a little higher.
 

Bricoop

Well-Known Member
Dakar will never be a big deal to Americans until an American wins it a few times. Example: Tour de France. The American masses never gave a rats azz about cycling until Lance went and dominated a few years in a row, now we have the TdF playing in 3 hour loops on NBC Sports all day and night in July.

I think the same applies to Dakar. If Robby or any other American wins it, there will be some quick Sports Center clips about it and some people will get interested. If they win it 2 or more years in a row, then it will start to garner an American following.

American manufactures are only throwing their big sponsorship money at the most watched, highest rated racing on TV in America, which is NASCAR. Why would they start throwing millions into a Dakar effort if no one in America watches it? Win on Sunday, sell on Monday only works if the targeted consumer market is watching.

With that said, if someone put Jimmy Johnson in a Dakar ride, American interest would skyrocket for a few months. If he did well for 2 or 3 years, then Dakar would have an American fan base.
You're spot on. There's not enough media coverage in the US of the event, that's part of the reason RGM is doing their road to Dakar specials.
 

spalind

Well-Known Member
Maybe it's cause I'm old but I do remember the TDF being a big deal before Lance...when Greg Lemond was at his peak it was big here too


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ace_photo

GET SOME
You're spot on. There's not enough media coverage in the US of the event, that's part of the reason RGM is doing their road to Dakar specials.
It doesn't matter if the U.S. Is watching. The world is watching. The U.S. Is just missing the boat. Toyo, monster, red bull and the majority of sponsors there are global.


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trophygoat

Well-Known Member
Well the theme here seems to be money but I wish more people would take advantage of the Dakar challenge (SCORE baja 500 was one of the challenges this year) and if you win they cover entry fee, limited transport, and some other little things (eugenio won this year). That still leaves a ton of money to race a Dakar (and as mentioned, multiple international cross country rallies before) but its a start. With a driver duo like Eugenio and Armin winning the Dakar challenge and a big builder like RPM or RGM I think we would have a chance. Just a top 10 would turn some eyes

*as in a big builder teaming up with rally-capable drivers
 

Suhaib Kiani

Well-Known Member
Curious about what the actual numbers are....

What has been RG's budget number the past few years? I would guess that leaving aside the Gordini development cost, he has ballpart about USD 1.5 to 2 million to spend every year. Fair enough?

What does it take to run the T2 (stock) category in a rented vehicle? I would think that it would be under USD 1 million.

What would be the minimum it would take to say prep your Raptor with 31s and run in the T2 category. Could it be done in under US$500k??

And lastly how much does on a biker or quad guy need to play?
 

JrSyko

Jerry Maguire
If some of the big off-road teams here wanted to take their entire budgets they could put forth a decent Dakar program but it would still pale compared to Mini or Renault. The second biggest impediment is testing, those teams are running races and testing all year long as they gear up for Dakar adding more money to the equation. For an American team to do well they would need a big budget and the time to test and race. Aside from that there is no reason we couldn't win and be competitive, no American team has really tried to do that.
 

Short Bus

Well-Known Member
It seems there are plenty of places that will rent you a ride for Dakar with assistance. Most don't publish their rates, but I came across this outfit - http://www.hardyracingteam.com/en_home.htm They will set you up for under 100k but that does not include the entry fees which are considerable. Not really a competitive car though. If you were to win the Dakar challenge, one of these packages might not be a bad idea to get your feet wet before deciding to go all in with a big budget.
 
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