Can-Am completely schooled the competition in the most Recent Dakar Rally. Red Bull made news of its own in the 7500-mile torture test with the special Red Bull OT3 Dakar racers it built for the rally. The machines were a secret until just weeks before the rally. Also, the machines weren’t classified as UTVs until they were entered. Details are still fuzzy about what the machines actually are, but we did find out they were powered by Volkswagen’s 1000cc, three-cylinder turbo TSI engine.

Belgium’s Overdrive Racing built the Red Bull Dakar racers for racing only. This will not become a production machine, but companies like Polaris are watching to see how this machine performs.
The car has carbon fiber and Kevlar bodywork but still weighs 1962 pounds. Dakar cars carry lots of spare parts and have a huge fuel cell (over 20 gallons) to get through the long race stages.
The OT3 has a six-speed automotive VW transmission with race car gears. The front and rear diffs are identical.
Red Bull tapped American drivers Mitch Guthrie Jr, Blade Hildebrand and Seth Quintero for this new driver development program. Seth was too young to compete in this year’s Dakar, but he will be in the driver’s seat at other rallies later this year and in Dakar 2021. You can bet that after their multiple stage wins Guthrie and Hildebrand will return as well.

The powerplant is capable of producing 150–200 horsepower, depending on the state of tune. Because of the long race, conservative boost keeps reliability up. This mill mates to a six-speed manual transmission. So the machines can deal with Dakar’s terrain, they have four-wheel drive and A-arms on all four corners.


American drivers Mitch Guthrie Jr., Seth Quintero and former Textron/Speed UTV driver Blade Hildebrand joined veteran Dakar competitor Cyril Despres for the race in Saudi Arabia. Despres was a fill-in driver for Quintero who couldn’t compete in January because he was not 18 yet. Guthrie and Hildebrand both won stages but had issues, costing them an official finish. Cyril failed to finish as well. We will have more on the car and the race in next month’s issue as well as at

VW’s three-cylinder, turbo-charged, 1000cc automotive engine provides the power.
This year’s Dakar Rally took place in Saudi Arabia. While there were lots of sand dunes to navigate, the race course was very similar to areas of the California desert.
This purpose-built car has A-arms for the front and rear suspension. The arms can be swapped from front to back if needed, allowing you to carry fewer spares.

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See how a UTV for Baja compares to the Red Bull UTV here: