In a team where two women are leading the 2024 Dakar, the big news from the Astara team is the 02 concept and its commitment to 100% carbon neutral synthetic fuel.
More than just an evolution of last year’s car, this ’02 Concept has undergone an almost complete redesign that begins with the replacement of the 7.0-liter V8 with a more efficient, smaller and lighter twin-turbo 2.9 V6. The focus continues on e-fuel.
Team Astara’s commitment to the Dakar is justified by the media coverage that a race of this type provides, but also by the image of adventure, toughness, resilience and perpetual challenge that everyone associates with the Dakar. The numbers speak for themselves: 37 million viewers on TV and 4.5 million followers on social media.
In this case, the race being held for the fifth time in Saudi Arabia, between 5 and 19 January 2024, is proving to be the ideal laboratory to test new solutions, starting with the “e-fuel” fuel used by the Astara team. Which meets the sustainable mobility growth strategy that the Group (and the brands it integrates) champions at a global level.
This synthetic fuel, which is 100% carbon neutral, will be used to power the Astara 02 Concept, a car that will compete in the T1 (Ultimate) two-wheel drive class.
Unlike last year’s model, the 01 Concept, which used a massive 7.0-litre V8, this one uses a twin-turbo 2.9 V6 (from Audi) that delivers around 300 kilowatts of power and, more importantly, contributes to the exceptionally low weight of the package (1,590 kg in regulation) and lower the center of gravity by 15cm (yes, it’s really 150mm).
The combination of lower weight and lower center of gravity also led to changes in the suspension, chassis, and even wheel and tire size. The 6-speed gearbox is provided by Sadev.
However, one of last year’s advantages, the high top speed (which reached 200 km/h when the competition was running at 185 to 190 km/h) was negated by regulations stipulating a top speed of 170 km/h per car. Security reasons.
Two pilots at the wheel
There will be two pilots at the wheel of the Astara 02 Concept, Laia Sanz (piloted by Maurizio Guerini, with whom she already collaborated last year) and newcomer to the team Patricia Petta, whose navigator will be the experienced Paolo Bugloni.
In a conversation with Negócios, Laia Sanz describes her transition from motorcycles (where she achieved an enviable record, including in Dakar) to cars. “Participating in the Dakar on a motorcycle is very physically demanding, and as we get older, we lose our energy, but above all, we look at the risks of racing with different eyes.”
“When I stopped getting excited about riding a motorcycle, I had the opportunity to switch to cars, and now, to be integrated into a professional and competitive structure like this (Astara Team), I am very happy.”
“My goal is to contribute to an excellent result for the team and fight for driving positions between the two driving wheels, but this 46th edition of the Dakar is 5,000 kilometers long and consists of 12 stages on the sands of Saudi Arabia, so flexibility, strength and reliability are crucial. In other words We have to manage the test very intelligently and evaluate each stage separately.
Astara Group, formerly known as Bergé Auto, represents the Aiways, Fuso, Isuzu, Maxus, Mitsubishi, Kia and Piaggio Comercial brands in Portugal.
* In Madrid at the invitation of Astara
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