Prodrive Hunter launched as road-going version of Dakar racer | CAR Magazine

Prodrive Hunter launched as road-going version of Dakar racer

Published: 16 March 2022 Updated: 16 March 2022
  • Powered by 600bhp 3.5-litre V6 engine
  • 0–62mph time of around four seconds
  • Slightly more comfortable interior

In 2021, Prodrive unveiled the Hunter T1+. It’s a heavily updated version of the company’s off-road racer, that’s scheduled to compete in the 2022 Dakar rally with nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb at the helm. 

Prodrive’s engineers must have been frustrated with boredom after completing the project, though, as the company has just launched a road-legal version of the same car. And, as it doesn’t need to conform to any racing regulations, it’s even faster than the dune-ready T1+.

Prodrive Hunter rear three quarter

It’s called simply the Hunter, and it’s powered by the same twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine as Loeb’s desert-bashing racer. However, where the Dakar car produces 400bhp, this road-legal model has 600bhp which Prodrive says is enough for a 0–62mph time of less than four seconds and a top speed of “almost 300km/h” (186mph).

Surely that can’t be everything that’s changed?

You’d be surprised, actually. The road-going Hunter’s suspension, brakes and space frame chassis are near-enough identical to the race car. However, Prodrive did swap out the T1+’s six-speed manual sequential gearbox for a paddle-shift unit to make it easier to drive.

Prodrive has also changed the road car’s dampers. It gets a new set of twin adjustable units which increase its suspension travel to 400mm, which is a 50mm increase over the Dakar car’s. However, the racer’s double wishbone setup has been retained, as have its six-pot brake callipers, enormous ventilated discs and FIA-compliant roll cage.

Prodrive Hunter suspension

Dave Richards, the company’s chairman, said: “We took the deliberate decision to keep the Hunter Hypercar as close to the original as possible. It’s about giving owners the opportunity to experience what it is like to drive Loeb’s Dakar car across the desert, but with all the comforts of a road car and the ability to drive it from your home, through a city, to any destination of your choice.”

Comforts? It doesn’t look very comfortable to me

Well, I suppose that depends on the context. Compared to a Range Rover, the Hunter looks about as comfortable as falling down a flight of stairs. However, Richards’ claims start to make more sense once you park the off-roader next to its rally-ready sister.

You get such luxuries as a dashboard and a centre console complete with an infotainment system. You’re still strapped into fixed-back racing seats by six-point harnesses, although you do get a new digital display which should be a little easier to read than the race-spec dash.

Prodrive Hunter interior

That extra suspension travel means you should be able to rag the road-going Hunter over rougher terrain than the race-ready version, and it’ll be the car that takes the punishment rather than your spine.

Go on. How much does it cost?

A lot. Enough to fill a garage with common-or-garden supercars, in fact. Prodrive says prices will start from £1.25 million – and that’s before tax. Those well-heeled enough to afford one still have some time to wait before taking delivery, though, as the car is still being pushed through its prototyping phases.

Richards said: “The first development vehicle is currently touring the Middle East where customers are being offered the opportunity of driving the Hunter and confirming their personal specification for production vehicles to be delivered later this year.”

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Deputy Editor of Parkers. Unhealthy obsession with classic Minis and old Alfas. Impenetrable Cumbrian accent