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15 October, 2008 - 09:09 By Staff Reporter

Essex firm designs and develops new class of rally car

Braintree company McRae Enduro Ltd has designed and developed a new class of off-road rally car to compete in the world’s toughest endurance event – the Dakar Rally. Funding support for the development is being provided through the Chelmsford office of RBS.

McRae Enduro Limited was established in 2005 by Christopher Bibb, Barry Reynolds, Colin Pharaoh and rally ace Alistair McRae whose objective was to develop a new rally car concept targeting top amateur drivers. 

“The McRae Enduro is a clean-sheet design,” said McRae. “From the start our emphasis has been to deliver an extremely strong and reliable vehicle that is fun and rewarding to drive. 

“It combines a lightweight spaceframe chassis, normally only found in the expensive prototype class, with a modern production turbo-diesel engine and driveline.

This combination offers new levels of performance and safety with affordable purchase and maintenance costs.”

Five customer cars are now being built for the 2009 Dakar, to be held, for the first time in its 30-year history, in South America.

{mosimage}Famous for strength-sapping sand dunes and extreme terrain, the organisers promise more of the same in Argentina and Chile – plus high altitude.  

The event starts on January 2 in Buenos Aires on Argentina’s Atlantic coast. It then loops south into Patagonia and across to, and over, the Andes Mountains.

In Chile, it follows the Pacific coastline, heading north, and finally returns to Buenos Aires via Argentina’s Atacama Desert and the town of Cordoba. In all, it’s a gruelling 6,000 miles over 16 days and some of the world’s highest and most demanding tracks and in high mid-summer temperatures.

Development of the McRae Enduro will continue throughout 2008 in readiness for participation in Dakar 2009 and later this summer the team’s schedule takes them to Morocco for the final ‘desert’ test session.

RBS is providing ongoing working capital support to the company to help fund the development and ongoing testing of the vehicle.

Christopher Bibb, commercial director at McRae Enduro said: “When we started the company we really wanted to create a vehicle that was special and different to anything else in the market.

“We feel we have now reached the stage where the car is really coming into its own. Testing is proving positive and we are really looking forward to see its potential in real competition. “The financial support from RBS is invaluable as it allows us to invest in R & D and create the best car that we possibly can.”

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