After a period of lockdown, members of the Big Shock Racing team, as well as motorsport fans, are looking forward to the first news regarding Dakar 2021. After Thursday’s press conference, the organizers confirmed that 43rd year of the legendary race will go ahead with 12 stages. The race will start on January from Jeddah, following a track that will not go beyond the borders of Saudi Arabia. The organizers also announced several organizational measures that should support the safety and equal racing conditions of all participants. The track will be more technical, a larger number of checkpoints will slow down the ride, electronic roadbooks will be tested. Further details will be revealed gradually. However, it is already certain that the Big Shock Racing team will send the well-founded crew of Macik, Tomasek and Svanda, which reached the finish line in the valuable 5th place last year. The crew will once again share cabin of Charles, an Iveco truck, reinforced by an automatic transmission. In Sedlcany workshops, however, two more racing specials are currently being worked on…
Keep an eye on the tires!
The Big Shock Racing team from Sedlcany has had plenty of time for Dakar preparations during the lockdown. The mechanics have been improving the racing machines. Charles, which was built from scratch in the team workshops, has seen many improvements. The most fundamental novelty will be the automatic transmission. “We are looking forward to the automatic transmission. It should help us speed up, especially in the dunes, where it allows a smoother ride on full throttle. Last year, we were the only ones in the TOP 5 who drove with a manual. After considering all the pros and cons, we finally decided to switch. We are currently tuning the transmission software for our engine and I estimate that Matej will perform the first test drives in Kotlina in June,” the team boss Martin Macik, Sr. reported. As a part of the technical training, special attention is also paid to the tires that really bothered the team during the Dakar 2020. They will have more space under the chassis, the tread depth will be reduced to lighten them, thus eliminating the risk of separation. Other technical changes to the car are related to, for example, shock absorbers or cab fitting.
Three racing specials in the Big Shock Racing garage
Fans will also enjoy the fact that the legendary Liaz, Franta, is currently undergoing reconstruction. At the same time, negotiations are underway with several interested parties who would like to drive the well-grounded truck of the popular Czech brand in the next Dakar. And because the lockdown allowed the team mechanics time to work, the preparation of a completely new Dakar special for the Dakar 2022 has also advanced considerably, which should shift the technological possibilities of the Sedlcany crew in the future even further.
What do we already know about the Dakar 2021?
The specific route of the next Dakar has not yet been revealed. The start and finish of the race is in Jeddah and the only sure stop is a day off in Ha´il. Members of the Big Shock Racing team welcomed the fact that the track should lead again through completely new locations. “It seems that the first third of the race will include rocks and fast sections. We believe that in the next part of the race, the track will lead us through sand. Hopefully, we will go over the high dunes that we enjoyed the most this year. According to the map, it looks like it we should get our wish, but everything is preliminary so far, the specific route has not yet been confirmed. It’s going to be a surprise,” Martin Macik, Jr. estimated upon seeing the preliminary route information. It is obvious that the organizers will try to slow down the race, with more checkpoints on the track, more technical terrain or an audible signal that will mark dangerous sections to the competitors. The roadbooks for all stages are always received by teams just a few minutes before the start. Electronic roadbooks will also be tested during Dakar 2021. They should then fully replace the old ones and navigate the drivers on the Dakar 2022. “It is good that we will receive roadbooks just before the start, so that the conditions are fair for all teams. I have a lot of technical questions about electronic roadbooks. I still can’t imagine how they can work reliably in such harsh conditions. Personally, I am more of a fan of the paper version,” the navigator Frantisek Tomasek confessed. Good news from the organizers is also that the technical inspections should last only one day, which saves the teams a lot of energy.
If everything goes according to plan, Big Shock Racing will get to test the vehicles and drivers at the Baja Poland, Baja Aragon and also in the Moroccan rally, before the Dakar 2021.