Aldo Racing is back for 2013
Hello boys. I'm going back for 2013. Everyone always says you're best to wait a few months to decide but I knew right away that I wanted to try again.
Rally Raid UK have been busy all year building a new vehicle for this second attempt. I wish Patrick Beaule, my co-driver from last year, could be back by my side, but I'm so happy for him. He's entered this year on a KTM450RR. I really believe he'll do well. He was an awesome co-driver and it gave him a chance to really learn Dakar navigation without the added stress of riding! Pat is an amazing "all-day" rider. He has the perfect attitude for the Dakar and I'm willing to bet he'll finish top 30 if not a bit better.
The new vehicle will have the same engine/tranny as last year (BMW 3.0L TD with a six speed ZF) but we're moving to much tougher differentials. Rather than Defender 110 equipment (with ashcroft internals) we're going with Ford 9" diffs running ARB lockers in front and electric lockers in back.
But the big difference will be independent suspension on all 4 corners. Last year, we had live axle suspension - a great reliable set-up but a very rough ride and certainly a limiting factor in certain terrain. It was the right choice for a first attempt ("we just want to finish") but now it's time to step it up. If I'm not mistaken, there was only one live axle (front and rear) team in front of us in the final standings.
We wanted to run Bosch ECU but there just isn't enough time to get it mapped so we have to stick with the BMW ECU. As is it makes fine power (285 hp and 600 lb-ft) but the issue is that the MAF sensor is always getting clogged when we go through fesh-fesh.
My co-driver was supposed to be Lee Fryberger - an awesome guy who runs the Corner Grass Racing Team out of Alberta. Lee is a master moto mechanic, and a full blooded off-road guy. He's also hilarious. Unfortunately, because the car is so last minute and is a first time build for RRUK, I have to approach things a different way. It looks like I'll be going with Paul Round. Paul is one of the owners of RRUK and is the guy who's building the new car. He's also been in 15+ dakars and is an amazing navigator.
We test the car for the first time this coming weekend. Scary, since the ship from France leaves 3 weeks later! But that's the reality of building a car from A to Z on a reasonable (for Dakar) budget. The good news is that it looks absolutely amazing and it should be pretty bug free since engine/tranny/ecu are all the same as last year. We'll spend our time on suspension and trying to find bugs!
Here's an image (hopefully I figured it out) of the line drawing with our graphics ideas. I'll send real photos next week once Paul lets me actually see the thing!