BAT Racing has made two significant international breakthroughs with its locally designed and constructed Special Vehicle, which has dominated the 2003 SA Off Road Car Racing Championship…presented by Absa.

The Midrand based company, headed up by 31-year old entrepreneur Brandon Harcus, scored a major coup when it recently sold two BAT Racing vehicles to Belgian Gregoire de Mevius who is a two times former FIA World Group N Rally Champion and one of the drivers in the New Dimension X-Raid BMW team that competes in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies and Dakar.

To add to this milestone Harcus announced today that one of the BAT Racing vehicles acquired by de Mevius would compete in Dakar 2004 with Frenchman Laurent Bourgnon, who holds the record for single-handedly circumnavigating the globe from West to East in seven days, two hours and 34 minutes, at the wheel.

“The international sale and the fact that one of our vehicles will be lining up at the start of Dakar 2004 is a feather in our cap,” said Brandon Harcus. “BAT Racing has existed since 2001 and in the short space of two years has become the dominant player in SA Off Road Special Vehicle Championship.”

“Gregoire de Mevius has placed an order for further eight vehicles and intends establishing a one-make class within the FIA Baja Trophy Series in 2004, which will provide drivers with an opportunity to rent a drive in fully race prepared BAT Racing vehicles,” added Harcus.

Bourgnon finished 13th, 10th and 13th respectively in a production vehicle in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 Dakar events and clearly has the talent to improve his overall standing especially behind the wheel of the BAT, which will run in the Prototype Class against the likes of Jean-Louis Schlesser, Jutta Kleinschmidt, Stefan Peterhansel and our own Giniel de Villiers.

The BAT Racing vehicles that have been built for the international market differ somewhat from those raced locally in that they are shorter, narrower, have a 400 liter fuel tank and are fitted with aerodynamic carbon Kevlar bodywork that encloses the cockpit, wheels and engine compartment. The high performance 3,5 litre Nissan V6 power plant will be coupled to a Fortin Racing 5-speed transaxle, Goodyear MTR tyres and Fox shock absorbers will be used and the vehicles will tip the scales at 1160kg to conform to the FIA Weight Scale rule.

“Four times Baja 1000 and two times Baja 500 winner Doug Fortin Jr. is in South Africa at present and is assisting us in the development of the transaxle for local and international applications,” said Harcus. “Fortin Racing has been in business since 1971 and apart from hundreds of race wins in the USA they can also lay claim to winning Dakar with Jean-Louis Schlesser in 1998 and 1999, so I know BAT Racing is in good hands.”

By all accounts the Jimco stranglehold on the SA Off Road Special Vehicle Championship has been broken with BAT Racing vehicles, setting the fastest time in every Prologue this season, winning three of the six events run so far, dominating Class B with three successive wins and leading the Class A Championship.

Original article from Car