Saturday, March 2, 2024

Apache APH-01 to debut at Baja Portalegre 500

Four months after its reveal, the Apache APH-01 will finally enter its first race at this weekend’s Baja Portalegre 500 with Mathieu Serradori and Loïc Minaudier as driver and navigator, respectively. Sports & You, the Portuguese and Spanish distributor for rally manufacturers like Citroën, Opel, and Peugeot, will support the effort.

“Off-road is a discipline in which Sports & You has been a regular player, winning the national championship with Miguel Barbosa, our top-line driver that has been representing us in recent seasons,” said Sports & You director José Pedro Fontes“We want to return with even more involvement and we are now debriefing the upcoming season.

“We have been following Apache’s programme, whose APH01 is using very interesting technologies and aligned with our future strategy of contributing to environmental sustainability and supporting projects that elevate motorsports to leaders of eco technologies. We have set in place this entry for Portalegre and are keen to see what the future holds.”

The APH-01 is touted by creator Apache Automotive as the “most advanced T3 prototype ever designed,” featuring both an electric and a three-cylinder Peugeot internal combustion engine on each end. The latter serves as the main power generator with 150 kW while the electric unit adds an additional 50 kW, and it operates on second-generation biofuels. The vehicle’s hybrid nature also means it is capable of regenerative braking and reducing fuel consumption by twenty percent.

Its body is composed of flax fibre, which is derived from flax plant and lighter than standard carbon fibre; recycled carbon fibre is also used to make the dashboard. The body paneling is held together using linen fibres, further reducing the car’s weight and is intended to absorb lighter impacts and vibrations.

GCK Performance, whose owner Guerlain Chicherit races in the top level of rally raid in T1, worked with Apache to develop the car before it was unveiled in early June at the 2024 Dakar Rally presentation in France. Reports initially stated the car would début at last week’s Rallye du Maroc, though it was pushed back a week to Portugal after Apache found a partner in Sports & You.

Serradori and Minaudier will enter the Baja Portalegre 500 as an Open entry since it does not meet traditional FIA regulations to race in T3. For 2024, the FIA will introduce a T3.U category for T3 Light Prototypes with hybrid or electric power.

Scheduled for 26–28 October, the Baja Portalegre 500 is the penultimate round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas. The week prior, Serradori and Minaudier ran the Rallye du Maroc in a Century CR6-T T1 for Century Racing, though they failed to finish.