• May 19, 2011
Dacia Duster Pikes Peak racer – Click above for image gallery

North American audiences may not be familiar with the name Dacia. It's Renault's Romanian budget brand, and a particular favorite of Top Gear's James May. But beyond its no-frills road cars, Dacia has also followed its parent company's lead in establishing a name for itself in motorsport competition. And that fighting spirit is about to come to American shores – or hilltops, anyway.

As we reported back in January, Dacia is preparing a version of its Duster crossover for full assault on Pikes Peak. The Duster is the racer which four-time F1 champion Alain Prost drives in the Andros Trophy, a French ice-racing series, but in a bit of a twist, the project is reportedly being piloted by Prost's main rival, Jean-Phillipe Dayraut, who drives a BMW 1 Series in the Andros Trophy. (Imagine Lewis Hamilton going to Le Mans in a Ferrari and you'll see what we mean.)

With the car set to debut in testing on June 5 ahead of the June 26 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Dayraut has released a handful of images showing his new machine being built and wind tunnel tested. And it looks like quite the beast, with giant spoilers front and rear. As for what is powering the Monster-challenging monster, rumor is it's based on the Nissan GT-R's twin-turbo V6 – the companies are allied, after all – tuned by Renaultsport. Whatever it is, it's said to pack 850 horsepower, making this one very serious contender to break the elusive ten-minute mark come one month from now.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      Kiiks
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good news everyone! The Dacia Duster is going rally-ing! And it's got the the twin-tuhbahchahged v6 from the Niss-Ann GT-Ahh!
      rocketmoose
      • 3 Years Ago
      Regardless, I think, of your thoughts on Renault's regular production cars, you have to love the guys at Renaultsport. It's just a bunch of petrolheads doing whatever the hell they like.
      Jeremy Pennini
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's not a Dacia Sandero? Weak.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jeremy Pennini
        Actually, it is. The Duster is a trim level of the Sandero. It's an AWD version of it.
          Cosmin
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          not really man, it's a completely different car, just the same brand, you're welcome to look it up
          codrutvm
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          Duster and Sandero are totally different models.
          Guillaume Séguin
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          It is not that different, maybe not just a trim level though: Same base and powertrains, body-wise, the front doors are the same but that's about it.
        fetchme1029
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jeremy Pennini
        my exact thoughts.
      badgeless
      • 3 Years Ago
      kinda reminds me of the suzuki escuda pikes peak from back in the day, crazy styling and a huge ass wing...i hope they have a good run with the car simply because it is a manufacture participating in motorsports, which seems increasingly rare these days...not to mention it may be powered by a 850bhp gtr motor???? thats insane i can see the top gear news segment now....... James May: "Great news....Dacia has decided to enter this years Pikes Peak race in the Americas" Jeremy Clarkson: "Ok and anyway, Jaguar has a new....." And on everyone goes with their life! LOL Seriously though I'd buy one
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @badgeless
        The Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak is still around, but with a Suzuki SX4 body.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        So I heard you don't know much about Pikes Peak, huh? Not much air at those altitudes. Bigger wing = bigger surface area to catch what air is actually up that high.
          Kiiks
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          And from the looks of it, those wings aren't even that crazy, compared to what Monster usually runs with. To state the obvious, it's clearly just one configuration of many aero mock-ups being tested in the wind tunnel.
      ZXW SES
      • 3 Years Ago
      with front splitters provided by Dacia Duct-tape, nice
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mays will be so very happy.
      Boost Retard
      • 3 Years Ago
      A Nissan powerplant isn't really a surprise. The Andros Trophy Dacia Duster ice racer driven by Alain Prost is powered by a Nissan VQ30DE, so a VR38 powered Duster doesn't seem too farfetched.
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