Mitsubishi Motors has announced that it will enter a new prototype racing SUV in the 2019 Dakar Rally.
Called the Eclipse Cross T1, the race vehicle shares little with the road-going Eclipse Cross from which it gets a name a body shape. Underneath the body, the T1 is made up of a steel space frame chassis, supporting carbon fiber bodywork.
Power comes from a turbo diesel making 340 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed sequential racing gearbox and full-time four-wheel drive with mechanical locking front, rear and center differentials.
Suspending the race machine are Ohlins shocks and stopping power is provided by four-piston AP racing brakes.
Mitsubishi has a long history in the Dakar rally, with the Pajero Evolution still holding the title as the winningest vehicle in the races history. Between 1985 and 2007, Mitsubishi won the race a dozen times, seven of which were in a row.
Driving for Mitsubishi in 2019 will be 26-year-old Cristina Gutierrez and her co-driver Pablo Huete. Gutierrez raced in 2018 and was the fastest woman at the Dakar Rally, finishing 38th overall and second in her class.
“For me, it is a big step ahead compared to the previous years,” said Gutierrez. “You can go very fast with it, while it is easier to drive and has greater offroad capabilities. It’s the most spectacular car I’ve ever driven and attracts a lot of attention!”
The 2019 Dakar Rally will take place solely in Peru in 2019 and will begin on January 7.