Monday, March 4, 2024

HanWei partnering with Red-Lined to build T1+ car

At the 2023 Dakar Rally in January, Wei Han won the T1.2 subcategory while Red-Lined Motorsport topped T1.1. For 2024, the two parties will join forces to tackle the premier T1+ division with the HW2024. Their partnership is a multi-year agreement to develop a T1+ car for the Chinese market.

Wei had been racing the SMG HW2021, which finished eighth overall in the 2023 Rally and first in T1.2 for 4×2 cars. He ran his second and final race of the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, placing sixth overall and fifth among points-eligible drivers.

His HanWei Motorsport Team fielded a second HW2021 for Po Tian, who finished thirty-first overall at Dakar (thirteenth for T1.2). He was the only other T1.2 in the Abu Dhabi field but did not finish. The team will continue to race the SMG with Xiangyan Sun, who is making her Dakar début.

“While our older generation two-wheel-drive buggy was a very good racing car, the new FIA regulations and the future of the sport are clearly developed around the new Ultimate T1+ class,” Wei explained. “With this in mind, it was critical that we align ourselves with one of the world’s leading T1+ vehicle manufacturers. As such we are extremely excited to partner up with Red-Lined Motorsport in the Republic of China.

“Eighth overall in the 2023 Dakar may be a hard act for us to follow right now as we begin our development program into the world of big four-wheel drive T1+ race cars. There is however no better way to test and begin this journey than the Dakar Rally.

“Dakar is the biggest race of the year, and together with the support of our fans, our country and now the experienced Red-Lined Motorsport team. I feel a strong sense of excitement into what the future hold for us.”

Red-Lined won the T1.1 class at Dakar as Daniel Schröder finished twenty-eighth in the general ranking. T1.1 cars, such as Schröder’s Nissan Navara VK50, are 4×4 like their T1+ counterparts but also smaller and less powerful; differences include a T1+ having wheels larger by five inches, wider tread width, and more suspension travel.

After Dakar, the company entered the T1+ field with the REVO, which competed in the South African Rally-Raid Championship; Aliyyah Koloc will race a REVO at Dakar. Red-Lined also has a presence in Europe as part of an alliance with DaklaPack RallySport that allows the latter to provide service and parts to REVO teams competing in the Portuguese and Spanish Cross-Country Rally Championships.

“Red-Lined Motorsport is extremely proud to be chosen as HanWei Motorsport’s new technology partner in China,” stated Red-Lined CEO Terence Marsh. “This thrilling new international partnership will see us further develop our Red-Lined T1+ car together for the ever-growing Chinese market in a multi-year collaboration with HanWei Motorsport. We will start with gathering much needed data, mileage and experience while racing our T1+ prototype at the 2024 Dakar.

“We look forward to working very closely with the HanWei Motorsport team as we apply all our skills, technology, and experience to another proven Dakar class-winning team. We are really excited by this multi-car multi-year partnership of two global rally raid brands.”

The 2024 Dakar Rally begins on 5 January.