BJ Baldwin (left) and Eric Vigouroux out for some practice in the Mojave Desert before the truck was painted.
Hot on the trail of another big win after his huge back-to-back victories in the 2012 and 2013 Baja 1000, BJBaldwin has teamed up with Eric Vigouroux for the 2014 Dakar Rally. The Baldwin name may be more than familiar, as he is a multi-time SCORE Off-Road Racing Champion and a subject of many features on Off Road Xtreme, including this interview. If you have never heard of Vigouroux, we can hardly blame you. Although Vigouroux is quite the competitor himself, he comes from another continent, and a type of racing not all that familiar to most Americans. Hopefully that will all change soon.
Baldwin and Vigouroux have partnered to take on a race that is as challenging, in its own right, as the Baja 1000. During January of 2014, the driving duo will drive a specially prepared Chevrolet Colorado in the 13-day, 9,000-kilometer-long Dakar Rally across the deserts and mountains of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. The famous Dakar Rally, held for decades across the Sahara Desert in north Africa is now in its sixth year being run in South America, but is certainly no less strenuous and has continued to build a reputation as an event that challenges drivers and machines like no other.
The truck the pair will pilot, is built by Jefferies Racing, one of the leading manufacturers of off-road race vehicles for U.S. racing (SCORE, NOHR, BITD and others,) as well as FIA ever since it built two prototypes for Red Bull’s Qatar team for Dakar in 2012. The Chevrolet Colorado bodied vehicle is a mid-engine/rear-wheel drive layout powered by a Corvette LS7 race engine with a 39 mm air restrictor (per rules) that cranks out 350 hp at 3,800 RPM and 479 foot-pounds of torque. It’s backed up by a Fortin six-speed sequential gearbox. The four-wheel-independent suspension design, damped by King coil-over bypass shocks, is set up to run on 35- or 37-inch Toyo tires. Top speed is estimated at 113 MPH.
We wish the boys good luck. The event is said to be getting coverage on NBC Sports in the U.S.; we’ll also keep tabs on it here at Off Road Extreme.