The deserts of UAE are well-known for its deserts where dune racing and even extreme safari motorsport are being held. However it has been found out that most cars from the U.S. or even Japan were not able to perform well in these conditions.
This is where the Zarooq Sand Racer enters the picture. This was the statement released by former French racing champion and current Zarooq Director Bruno Laffite. As such, Laffite says the Zarooq Sand Racer will become the first car to have been made for the desert of the UAE.
Zarooq director Mohammed Al Qadi also adds that the goal was to assemble a team that would design and then make a car that would be able to race not just in UAE’s desert but in other such areas around the world.
Aside from being the director of Zarooq, Al Qadi is also a former Senior Director Operations of YAs Marina Circuit. The Zarooq Sand Racer is not just able to perform well on the dunes due to its power-to-weight ratio but it also has an amazing appearance.
The name is taken from the Schockari Sand Racer which is considered as the most agile and fastest snake in the UAE desert. In Emirati, the name translates to Zarooq / زاروق.
The car does not only give out high performance but also incorporates many advanced features with a signature look. While it can perform well on the desert with its air-conditioning and closed cockpit, it has also been design to be driven on the road.
The creation of the Zarooq is due to the efforts of its three directors, all of whom have very strong racing backgrounds. The first is Mohammed Al Qadi who is from the UAE and who has organized many races in the country, both nationally and internationally, for around 15 years.
These include the usual rallies and even the Formula One. The second one is Jacques Lafitte’s nephew, former French pro driver Bruno Laffite. In his racing career, Laffite has managed top 5 finishes in many races like the Formula 3, Renault Formula, and the Ford Formula.
Laffite has tested a number of vehicles for the Indy Car Championship and has even raced in Lamborghinis. Finally there is Iannis Mardell. Coming in with a strong background when it comes to business consulting and strategies, Mardell is known for being part of the Formula One’s racing school.
This is the same racing school that has produced many F1 drivers. Built in Dubai’s workshops, it is expected that the Zarooq Sand Racer will become prominent not just in the dunes but also in other off-road championships.
This racing vehicle is also projected to be the first in a series of elite cars that also boasts of high performance. According to Al Qadi, there continues to be a high demand for a sand racer especially one that can perform well on UAE’s desert.
One of the options has been the large 4x4 but these are seen as very bulky. Then there are the all-terrain vehicles (ATV) that can run on the desert though they are not made for racing but more on the recreational side.
Finally the buggy can perform well but being open, they are considered as not practical or even safe. Al Qadi relates that everything needed to build a racing car that can perform well on the desert is already available in the UAE. This desert racing car was designed by Anthony Jannarelly and built in the UAE in collaboration with JJ Special.