Ambition In 2006 a team of lecturers, students and businesses went to work with the goal of designing, engineering, building and testing a Rally Raid vehicle, which would be able to withstand even ‘Le Dakar’. With an enormous dose of energy, the vehicle was produced and in 2009 it could even be given its vehicle registration number: 56-JRG-2. The vehicle stood proudly on its wheels, there was a long list of improvements and changes and testing could begin. A number of different teams have admired and driven the Go-4. Plans to participate in the rally in 2010 were all set, but fell through unfortunately because of circumstances at the sponsor. It was not until 2012 that a team of former students and lecturers decided to embark on the crazy plan once again. ‘Le Dakar’ was calling! A bit of looking around ultimately led to the team of Dakar-veteran Chris Leyds. His company in Naarden: Prodakar / McRAE Enduro Sport  is a full-service facilitator and specialises in building and racing special vehicles. Six placement students, a car, a truck full of parts and a sea container containing moulds was the contribution from HAN Automotive. Leyds and his team took on the project and today there is a very special vehicle, which finished the Silk Way rally (Moscow-Astrakhan) in July 2013. Very special vehicle On 1 January 2014 a special vehicle will be at the starting line of the world’s toughest and most popular rally. Constant innovation and student participation is the guiding principle. The vehicle is special because:

  • it is the first time in history that a university of applied science will participate in the rally
  • it is the first Dakar car in history to be developed by students
  • it is the first Dakar car in history to be built by students
  • it is the first Dakar car in history to be serviced by students
  • it is the first Dakar car in history to be fully developed using SolidWorks.

Excellent Team It takes more than an excellent vehicle to take part in the race. An excellent team is needed to organise the procedure before and during the race. Director of Prodakar / McRAE Enduro Sport, Chris Leyds is a 10‑time Dakar veteran and board member of the organising committee of Le Dakar, the French organisation A.S.O. This organisation is also known for the ‘Tour de France’ cycling event. Driver Peter Merceij, founder of Kamera Express, proved during the Silk Way Rally that he has precisely those qualities that enable him to appreciate this experimental car and bring it to the finish line with feeling, respect and bravura. Navigator Gerard List has already seen all the facets of Le Dakar: he has successfully driven Le Dakar on a motorcycle, in a car and in a truck! His insight, experience and technical knowledge and expertise make him an excellent partner to driver Peter Merceij. The technical and organisational support team is made up entirely of students of HAN Automotive. They are responsible for the deployment, the parts and the organisation for the driving team. All in all a big team and certainly an excellent team! Objective of the HAN University of Applied Sciences The key elements from the project: technology, sustainability, sport, entrepreneurship and adventure in combination with major media attention can be put to excellent use to call attention among prospective students and businesses to the core values and differentiated study programmes at HAN University of Applied Sciences. HAN Automotive is using the car to help support the communication objectives of HAN University of Applied Sciences as a whole:

  • To distinguish HAN University of Applied Sciences nationally and internationally
  • To forge a connection between Education and Research.

Risks The risks of participation are limited because the preparation, testing and deployment of the car in the rally will be taken over by the most professional teams in the Netherlands for the coming 3 years: ProDakar McRAE Enduro Sport. The sporting objective is only to finish the race, and every possible safety measure is being taken. 3 Years It has been decided that the partnership with Prodakar McRAE Enduro Sport will be for three consecutive years, whereby the car will be used as a development and test environment, in races and for promotional purposes. Our students, our HAN Automotive institute and HAN as a University of Applied Sciences wholeheartedly support this project!