A Dubai startup has built the Zarooq SandRacer, a $350,000 off road car which they say will blast the off road vehicles market.
The hand built off roader will be powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine and will generate up to 500hp. The vehicle’s name comes from the Schokari Sand Racer, which is the fastest snake in the desert, also known as Zarooq in the Arab language.
The SandRacer is considered to be the Formula One racer of the desert and its representative, Mohammed al Qadi, says that “it was born in the sands of Arabia but can go anywhere in the world. It is the fruit of the love of driving and racing…”.
Attention from off road vehicles enthusiasts
Mohammed al Qadi said that the actual creation of the SandRacer will begin shortly after the prototype is unveiled. It is expected that the production will go from 10 this year to 50 next year and in 2019 to reach 100. Al Qadi also mentioned that the idea of the Zarooq was born a few years ago “in the pits of a race during the Formula One Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi”. He explained that the startup initially wanted to create an off road championship in order to help UAE’s motorsport develop.
However, the idea evolved into creating the best high-performance off road vehicles, due to the fact that European and American off roaders and even the Dakar prototypes are not properly adapted to desert driving.
Team of off road specialists set up, investors are next
The starting fund for this project consisted of $2 million and in order to fulfill the task, Zarook lined up with the creator of Campos Racing Gp2 Series, Adrian Campos, and Philippe Gautheron, the chief engineer.
At the moment, the startup is trying to raise $10 million from GCC and European investors to step up its growth. Iannis Mardell says that they “are focusing on building a sustainable production base and a business model”. The company is also trying to form a team of advisors and non-executive directors to manage its next steps of development and industrialization.
Demand for off road vehicles and brand diversification
Mohammed al Qadi claims that since the project’s launch in 2015, the market’s feedback appeared “invigorating”. He added that the region has a high “demand for luxury off road vehicles” and that enquiries were already sent by important potential customers. Starting prices for the first versions of the SandRacer will be of $350,000 and $450,000 for the Dakar Rally pack.
For the future, the company plans to improve its manufacturing power in the UAE as well as in Europe. Afterwards, the plan is to set sales and distribution networks in Europe, USA, Russia and China.
The startup has also thought about brand diversification extending their specialization from creating off road vehicles to mobility products, clothing lines and even setting up a specifically designed circuit for drivers to try out homemade hot wheels. Al Qadi says that the design and feasibility studies are done and negotiations with potential investors are taking place.