The Dakar rally is one of the longest and most grueling off-road races in the world. This two-week long race stretches as much as 10,000 kilometers through some of the harshest terrain imaginable. That’s basically the equivalent of racing the Baja 500 almost every day for two straight weeks! It’s also one of the most deadly with over 50 fatal accident on record since the rally started back in 1979. Aside from the incredible length, one of the most entertaining aspects of the Dakar is the wide variety of vehicles used in competition. There’s quads, motorcycles, cars, and trucks with a dedicated class for each.
However, the car and truck classes are not the cars and trucks that you’re thinking of. The cars are actually more like what we know as a Trophy Truck, but looks more like an SUV. The class that completely blows my mind is the truck class because they’re actually more like a semi truck than a regular pickup truck. These things are massive, and one of the most popular truck brands in completion is the Russian-made Kamaz. As a matter of fact, this particular Kamaz 4326 driven by Eduard Nikolaev took home the top spot at the 2017 Dakar held earlier this year as well as back in 2013.
Nikolaev also uses this gigantic Kamaz truck to compete in other endurance races like the upcoming Silky Way Rally which is similar to the Dakar. To make sure the 4326 is in top working condition, Nikolaev took his truck out to the Transpolar region of Murmansk for some rigorous extreme weather testing and what happened next was nothing short of spectacular. He proceeded to launch this beast off a jump at roughly 90mph and sailed over 120 feet before landing on flat ground and rolling on to the next obstacle like nothing happened.
That may not seem all that impressive at first, but wait till you know a bit more about this thing. First of all, it weighs in at more than 23,000lbs, stands 10.5ft tall, 23.6ft long, and almost 8 feet wide. Like I said, gigantic! So big in fact that it makes absolutely no sense that this thing manages to fly through the air like it’s no big deal and land with all that weight and not blow out the suspension system. Speaking of which, the suspension system is heavily fortified to handle all that weight landing on flat ground which apparently produced as much as 12g’s of force, but yet still manages to provide almost 12 inches of wheel travel!
In order to get a vehicle of that size and weight moving at 90mph, you need a lot of power on tap. Which is exactly what it has with a 16L Diesel engine that’s good for at least 1,000hp. No torque figures were listed, but considering it’s a diesel and more times than not they produce substantially more torque than they do horsepower, it’s safe to assume there’s plenty on hand.
Watch this short video of Nikolaev launching the truck and prepare to be impressed to the point that you might start following this race series, I know I will.