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Laffite G-Tec X-Road: Dakar racer with street legal approval

Laffite Supercars /Olivier Pojzman
Laffite G-Tec X-Road (2020)
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E s there Moments when déjà vu situations come together. The encounter with the Laffite G-Tec X-Road is one of those. First of all, the brand name triggers that “that sounds familiar” feeling. The French Jacques Laffite drove successfully in Formula 1 in the seventies and eighties and celebrated six Grand Prix victories. His nephew Bruno, who used to be a professional racing driver himself, and his wife Laetitia have now become a car manufacturer, which leads us to the next déjà vu. Because we already know this Laffite G-Tec X-Road by a different name.

Born in 2015 as Zarooq Sand Racer

In December 2015, Zarooq Motors from the United Arab Emirates introduced the Sand Racer 500GT at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The desert racer planned for a new brand cup to be created should produce up to 500 hp. In the summer of 2017, the car seemed to be ready. From then on, 35 copies of the extroverted two-seater were to be built. That never happened, the project - which was managed by Bruno Laffite, among others - came to nothing. Until it was reactivated by the Laffite couple under their own name.

Visually, the metamorphosis from the Zarooq Sand Racer to the Laffite G-Tec X-Road has changed little. The “All-Terrain Supercar” has different lights and a less massive bumper at the front and slightly more discreet tailpipes at the rear. At the rear, however, a powerful diffuser is still a visual exclamation point. The diffuser on the Zarooq could be removed for use in difficult terrain. Unfortunately, it is not known whether this also applies to the Laffite.

Almost half a meter of suspension travel

Technical details of the road-legal Dakar racer (at least in California) are still rare. According to Laffite Supercars, Philippe Gautheron, an engineer recognized in European motorsport and well known with his teams G-Tec and Virage, was responsible for the final technical development. It is likely that he transferred a large part of the Zarooq developments to the Laffite. This should also apply to the tubular frame made of chrome-molybdenum steel that forms the skeleton of the 4.29 meter long, 2.14 meter wide and 1.52 meter high buggy. The wheelbase of the carbon body should remain unchanged at 2.82 meters, the overhangs at the front and rear are extremely tight, while the angle of approach and departure is large.In addition, the Sand Racer competed with a ground clearance of 31.5 centimeters. The photos suggest that the Laffite can at least reproduce this value.

Laffite Supercars /Olivier Pojzman
Lots of leather, carbon and metal in the interior of the Laffite G-Tec X-Road.

The spring travel of the G-Tec X-Road is a respectable 43 centimeters. Coarse off-road tires from BF Goodrich should provide plenty of traction. Inside, Laffite combines leather with plenty of carbon. The driver commands the buggy with metal pedals and a square-shaped valance, with which other functions can be commanded via colored buttons. Behind it are the shift paddles that operate the five or six-speed gearbox. There is a wide-format screen on the passenger side, while metal toggle switches placed on the roof and on the center console perform other functions. The bucket seats are equipped with harness belts.

Rear-wheel drive in the desert sand

Laffite has not shaken the basic layout with mid-engine and rear-wheel drive. A 3.5-liter V6 was originally intended for the Zarooq, which then gave way to a 6.2-liter V8 with 525 hp and a maximum torque of 660 Newton meters. One of these is also installed in the G-Tec X-Road. The LS3 engine from the General Motors shelf known from the Corvette, among other things, generates either 477 hp as a naturally aspirated engine or up to 730 hp if the customer chooses the optional supercharger. The up to 230 km /h fast package could provide a lot of dynamism in the desert, after all, the G-Tec X-Road should weigh just 1.3 tons.

Laffite offers the one in Los Angeles finally assembled G-Tec for at least $ 465,000 (just under 420,000 euros) and limited the series to 30 copies. Deliveries are scheduled to start at the end of 2020. In addition to the V8 car, a purely electric version is planned, which will cost $ 545,000 (about 490,000 euros). Their data: 350 kW /476 PS, a top speed of 220 km /h and an unladen weight of 1,630 kilograms. The 60 kilowatt hour battery with lithium-ion technology should guarantee a range of 322 kilometers. A stronger version is said to be even upto deliver 597 kW /811 PS. The delivery time of the Laffite G-Tec X-Road is between ten and eleven months.

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