Zarooq Motors, a startup automaker based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is about to turn its dream of building a high-performance dune buggy into a reality. The company has finalized the design of the SandRacer, its first model, and it’s getting ready to start production.
Zarooq co-founder Mohammed Al Qadi explains he created the SandRacer to fill a niche in the market.
“There’s a huge demand today for a potent sand racer that’s tailored for our desert. You have big 4x4s which are bulky, you have buggies that are open and not the safest or the most practical, and you have recreational ATV-type vehicles that are not initially made for racing,” explains the startup’s top executive.
The SandRacer was penned Anthony Jannarelly, the man who designed the Lykan Hypersport used in Fast and Furious 7, but it looks more like something you’d see in Mad Max. The styling is both rugged and sporty thanks to a tall front end with thin LED lights, rakish A-pillars, an almost fastback-like silhouette, and pronounced wheel arches. A more-than-generous amount of ground clearance and nearly 17 inches of suspension travel allow the coupe to tackle obstacles encountered in the desert with ease.
The 2,600-pound coupe uses a naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V8 engine that provides 525 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. Borrowed from Chevrolet and modified with the help of a German tuner, the mid-mounted eight-cylinder spins the rear wheels through a five-speed sequential gearbox. The chassis was fine-tuned by Spanish company named Campos Racing to ensure the two-seater is as capable on the pavement as it is in the dunes.
Motor Authority reports the first 35 examples of the SandRacer are priced at $450,000 each, a sum that puts them in roughly the same price bracket as a Lamborghini Aventador S. You’d expect early adopters would all hail from the Middle East, but the company has already received orders from collectors in Europe.
Zarooq told Digital Trends pricing for the subsequent variants of the car will vary from model to model; some will be more affordable than the launch version, while others will be more expensive. More details about the project will trickle out over the course of the summer.
“We expect production to ramp up from 10 this year to 50 in 2018 and 100 in 2019,” Al Qadi said in an interview with Forbes. Structured distribution in the United States is tentatively scheduled for next year, the company told us in an email. That’s a world away from the Arabian Desert, but Michigan has some great sand dunes.
Updated 6/28/2017 by Ronan Glon: Added full information about the regular-production model, and U.S. availability.