Saturday, March 2, 2024

Lukas Lauda on W2RC debut: “I expect not much but (will) try to learn a lot and finish”

Lukas Lauda is the oldest son of Formula One legend Niki Lauda, but did not follow in his father’s footsteps of pursuing racing. Instead, he entered a managerial career for his younger brother Mathias‘ own driving career as he competed in sports cars, touring cars, and even NASCAR before becoming an F1 television analyst.

While big brother Lukas was happy in the offices of Lauda Sport Management, it would be inaccurate to say he did not have the urge to get behind the driver’s seat himself. In fact, he seems to have found his own calling in a completely separate discipline from his family.

Since 2022, Lukas has dabbled in cross-country rallies with strong results despite his lack of experience. On Friday, he will make his World Rally-Raid Championship début at the Rallye du Maroc, driving the #332 Can-Am Maverick X3 for South Racing in the T3 category with Stefan Henken as co-driver.

Lauda first entered a rally in May 2022 when he raced a Can-Am Maverick at the Hellas Rally Raid in Greece. The effort was supported by motocross legend and Dakar Rally veteran Heinz Kinigadner, who currently works as a consultant for W2RC bike team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, and his Kini Adventure Tours programme. He impressed as he finished third overall among all SSVs.

In March, he got his first taste of Morocco desert when he and Henken won the SSV class at the Tuareg Rallye.

For his return to Morocco, Lauda will compete alongside the top names in the sport and those preparing for the legendary Dakar Rally.

“It’s my first time in a big rally. I expect not much but (will) try to learn a lot and finish,” Lauda told Cross-Country Rally News. “Morocco, I like. I was here already in March at the Tuareg Rallye and enjoyed it a lot. Landscape is nice, I like the sand, I like the country. Love to be here.”

Lauda is not the only child of an F1 great to try his hand at rally raid in recent times as Nelson Piquet Jr., himself an F1 alumnus, has been competing in Brazil’s Rally dos Sertões since 2020 and won his class in 2023; Piquet also races a Can-Am. Arturo Merzario, who saved Niki Lauda’s life at the 1976 German Grand Prix three years before Lukas was born, will enter the Dakar Rally-adjacent Dakar Classic in 2024.

The Rallye du Maroc will begin with the Prologue stage on Friday.