Into carbon fiber and crazy ATV wheel articulation? The crew at Overdrive Racing has just the ATV for you, as it reveals details on its “OT3 by Overdrive,” a side-by-side prototype that could become the greatest buggy of all time.
According to Overdrive Racing Director, Jean Marc Fortin, this little two-seater prototype is sure to become what the company considers to be “…a very competitive car, ready to tackle the most challenging and iconic off-road races around the world.” While the company plans to use this platform to “take the side-by-side class to the next level,” we plan to remain focused upon the details for the time being.
For all you noobs out there, a side-by-side (also commonly called an SxS), is a type of lightweight off-road buggy or all-terrain vehicle that has been engineered to seat both a driver and a co-pilot. Slightly wider than a single seater, yet still capable as all hell, it’s the sort of off-road adventure vehicle you need for when narrow trails render larger 4×4 machines useless.
As for the OT3, well let’s just say it’s a wee bit on the extreme side of the side-by-side spectrum, but being that this is a prototype model, that sort of thing is to be expected. Intended to tackle some of the most grueling off-road racing in the harshest environments imaginable, the OT3 is a carbon fiber and Kevlar-reinforced force of nature.
Outside of its bodywork being almost entirely made from carbon and Kevlar, the OT3 has also been built around an extended wheelbase. By moving the ATV’s center of gravity backward, Overdrive Racing has achieved a high-performance balance that features greater stability and suspension travel support. Packed with a six-speed gearbox and a 1000cc turbo engine, reported power outputs currently range in the 177 horsepower area, which is plenty in something so lightweight.
From what we’ve been able to gather, it appears that the OT3 also adheres to all of the new FIA regulations, thus becoming the first ultra-high-performance side-by-side prototype in history to be specifically designed for off-road racing. Jean-Marc Fortin, Overdrive Racing Director, and all-around off-road addict, briefly explains how this approach came to fruition. He tells us that in order to adhere to the new regulations proposed by the FIA Technical Commission, the team first scrapped the notion of existing chassis homologation, opting to create a prototype from a blank sheet of paper instead.
So who does Overdrive Racing have in mind for manning the helm and testing this insane ATV? Well according to the company’s press release, five-time Dakar Rally bike winner and two-time Silk Way Rally car champion, Cyril Despres, is one of the two men who have been selected for the job. After testing the OT3 prototype in the deserts of Morocco recently Despres had the following to say:
“The OT3 really surprised me: first of all the stability of the vehicle, as the engineers played with the regulations to have a 2.08-meter wide vehicle, which gives a lot of stability. And they also used their knowledge to make a really strong and rigid chassis, something which is normally missing from side-by-side buggies.”
Despres went on to praise the OT3 at great length, saying, “It also gives you precision when driving on technical sections, which is exactly what you need. The engine is powerful and the visibility from the cockpit is fantastic. I have to say, after a few days of driving, there were no major issues – which is also a bit of a surprise when you are at the beginning of a project. Normally you have to face some issues, but this wasn’t the case with OT3. It’s a lot of fun to drive, and after a few adjustments to the suspension, everyone will have to watch out for the OT3 vehicle in the coming events.”
Another professional opinion on this prototype came from Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah, a triple FIA World Cup winner, Cross-Country Rallies champ, and three-time Dakar Rally winner. After testing the side-by-side out Al-Attiyah had this to say, “The OT3 test in Morocco proved to be a really good package from the first kilometer. It looks like a good step for this vehicle. I am sure it will need more testing and more mileage but we have a good base.”
Looking for more explanation as to why this platform will likely be such a threat in racing in the near future, we return to Jean Marc Fortin. Forever eager to talk shop, Fortin explains some of the work that went into bringing this prototype to life.
“OT3 is a ‘rocket car’ designed to be powerful and lightweight: this is what we have focused on,” Fortin explains. “We are excited about this project because it is an innovative concept and history shows that Overdrive Racing has the motivation to win. The car is a proper prototype with a special gearbox and a very light chassis of only 890 kilograms. This makes it a very fun and easy car to drive on all type of terrain and I hope it is a winning combination for us to succeed in cross-country. I believe we have in OT3, and we will soon be able to announce our program. Stay tuned!”