Johannesburg, South Africa
There are four famous vehicle racing events in the world, including F1, 24 Hours of Le Mans, WRC, and the most grueling race, the Dakar Rally. Also called the “game for the brave”, Dakar Rally is extremely challenging to both vehicles and athletes alike. Africa there January will see the launch of Dakar Rally 2022. The BAIC ORV (Off-Road Vehicle) team will be sent to the hell-like racing field in Dakar for the second time as the only Chinese automotive brand. Thanks to its solid strength, the BAIC ORV fleet pocketed the first three places of the newcomer group in Dakar Rally 2021, and will fight for higher rankings in Dakar Rally 2022.Still beginning in Saudi Arabia, the Dakar Rally 2022 is much more difficult with a full course of 8,375km, now 729km longer than in the previous session, and resembles a “bloody battlefield” where the performance and endurance of racing cars are tested.
In previous Dakar Rally races, racing vehicles were required to undergo complex and tough road conditions like vast expanses of desert, rugged terrain and even muddy marshes. Each leg involves hidden difficulties beyond imagination, and dangers may arise at any time. Dakar Rally 2022 with a higher level of difficulty surely will become the most grueling off-road journey in history. Dakar Rally 2022 initial track information has been released. A total of 12 legs are involved, with a full course of 8,375 km from Khail through Riyadh to Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. The course includes one more day of race, and thus a top test for both cars and athletes. Besides a longer course, the geographical environment the vehicles pass through are also harsher.
Take the first half of the course, for example. Most probably, participating fleets will drive through the extension of the Serrate Mountains to Ad-Dahna in the east. This leg features rugged terrain and changing landforms. Moreover, driving on sand and rocks is undoubtedly a huge test for vehicle performance as well as the resistance to high temperature and capability of engines. The second half is filled with even more challenges than the first half. In the latter half, participating fleets will pass through the desert on the Arabian highland, which is a harsh and dangerous environment characterized by intense heat, drought and widespread sand and rocks. Apparently, the tough desert conditions are a test to the chassis, suspension, engine, gearbox and 4WD system of any racing vehicle.
As a flagship off-road vehicle brand in China, the BAIC ORV enjoys advantages stronger than peers in both technology and manufacturing experience. Even in the hell-like event of Dakar Rally, the BAIC ORV fleet is as confident as ever. The “marathon leg” is the best-known part of Dakar Rally, in which athletes will have no more supplies. The leg is not only challenging to the absolute power of the racing vehicle, but also highly demanding to range as any minor error will lead to the exit from the race due to the lack of oil. So, participating cars are required to have excellent power and range performance, which is a must for both racing cars and high-level passenger off-road vehicles as well.
The B40 is created with the experience accumulated after participation in major rallies and rally technology. Thanks to strong resistance to heat, the powertrain system will not overheat, even in a hot desert. In addition, with a low rotational speed and robust torque, the diesel engine better meets the demand of off-road drivers.The harsh driving environment is most challenging to the body structure, in addition to the powertrain system. The Dakar Rally mainly sees rough unpaved roads consisting of desert, gravel and hills. As the vehicles run at a speed of close to 200km/h, the body structure is required to be very strong. Most racing cars have steel bodies, which are both lightweight and highly safe.
The B40 is designed in the same way. It incorporated the multi-closed-loop structure as early as a decade ago, and equipped with the only anti-roll frame seen in the homemade vehicles of the same level, which improves body strength and maximizes safety in off-road driving, well protecting drivers and passengers even in vehicle roll. The non-load body structure and the introduction of five ring safety structures respectively in the double wishbone fingerboard, anti-roll frame and body frame ensures the body strength. Meanwhile, the surrounding front fingerboard can effectively transmit the impact force to the body, scattering the impact power across the body, protecting both passengers and the body and thus greatly improving driving safety.
Meanwhile, the B40 introduces the special off-road chassis with a big beam, something necessary for a rally race. The biggest benefit of a big beam is strength. In a tough environment like a Dakar Rally race, road surfaces will have huge impact on the chassis, but the big beam will be strong enough to absorb all the impact power and thus avoid body distortion. Moreover, a Dakar Rally course mainly consists of desert, as well as gravel roads and soft sand dunes formed by wind, where cars are easily sunk. That imposes a tough requirement on the passing capacity of racing cars. In fact, passing capacity is also crucial to a real off-road vehicle. With a high passing angle, part-time 4WD and “three locks”, the B40 can easily handle the demanding conditions like the “shell holes” and “hero slopes” frequently mentioned by off-road driving lovers.
It’s because of the belief in its strength that BAIC ORV has the confidence to participate in the more challenging and difficult Dakar Rally 2022. As the featured product of BAIC ORV, the B40 is not only synonymous with passion, but also a representative of strength, inheriting the DNA of off-road vehicles that are powerful enough to overcome every extreme sports event. There are plans for the mass-produced 2022 B40 Taklimakan Champion version to be launched in China in the near future, but we may have to wait a while to see if this model will challenge the South African terrain too.
After 63 years of unremitting development, BAIC Automotive Group Co., Ltd. (BAIC Group) has become one of the five largest automotive groups in China. With its headquarters located in Beijing and at the Turin Styling Centre in Italy and production bases all over China, BAIC Group currently has around 130,000 employees. It is one of the automotive groups in China with the most comprehensive portfolio of products, covering the full range from passenger to commercial vehicles.In 2018, BAIC Group achieved the promising results of 2,402,000 sold units, making BAIC Group No. 5 in China’s automotive sector in terms of income and profit, and No.3 in terms of brand value. Today, BAIC Group is124th in the Fortune Global 500 and has been on the Fortune 500 list for the past 9 years.
BAIC International Development Co., Ltd. (BAIC INTL) is a wholly-funded subsidiary of the BAIC Group. BAIC INTL is expanding its cross-border businesses with the aim of building “Global BAIC”. This visionary project will give birth to networks in the main regions of the world: the Middle East, West Asia, Central Asia, Africa, South America and several other regions. It will thus enable the BAIC Group to reach its strategic objectives and achieve internationalisation in terms of talents, markets, products, brand recognition, and management. In order to solidify its global presence, BAIC INTL focuses on five main activities: export of finished vehicles and individual components; import of technologies; equipment and finished vehicles; product improvements; overseas investment; international cooperation.
BAIC INTL’s core business is the development of reliable commercial, passenger, electronic and other types of vehicles. The implementation of BAIC INTL’s strategy is based on two main focal points:
BAIC INTL is committed to becoming a trendsetter, not only in terms of automobile design, but also by delivering a dynamic, stylish and tasteful lifestyle. BAIC INTL aims to offer vehicles equipped with user-friendly features that meet the standards of the international automotive market and fulfill customer expectations globally. Under the motto “Faster, Leaner, Smarter,” BAIC INTL will use the powerful combination of its innovative spirit and its strong research and development capabilities in order to achieve the top position in technology advancement, out-of-the-box business development and global resources integration.
The BAIC South Africa plant project was officially launched in December 2015. The factory construction kicked off in August 2016. The first production units of SKD vehicles came off the assembly plant floor in July 2018.BAIC reiterates their plan to become a household name in South Africa and a bigger part of the economy from an employment and skills development perspective. BAIC vehicles are set to become a popular sight on our streets, giving much needed independence and mobility to an up-and-coming market.