An off-road buggy that's as AARD as nails.
Nearly all of us are looking forward to the start of 2016, though fans of arduous rally raids have something special to look forward to on January 1: the start of the fearsome Dakar Rally. What began as the by-product of a French racing driver getting lost in the Sahara Desert has evolved over the years into one of the worlds most formidable and unforgiving events on the sporting calendar.
Given the fortnight-long Dakar Rally is notorious for pushing the competitors and their machines to their absolute limits, it's unsurprising that the bikes, buggies, cars and trucks that compete in the Dakar are beefed up to the extreme. However, few are as honed for the job as Jaekang Ha's latest take on the ultimate Dakar raider. Dubbed the 'Achieve All Road Dreams' (or 'AARD'), and pitched as a possible entry by the Russian track manufacturer and multiple Dakar winner Kamaz, Ha's Dakar Rally raider is unlike anything else that's been conceived for the demanding cross-country race before.
For instance, the cockpit only seems to be for one person – a stark contrast to the Kamaz trucks that have gone on to dominate Dakar rally stages over the years, which often pack a crew of three in the cab. The design is also unique to the AARD, with the sculpted panels, huge canopy and absence of any fenders nothing like the bodystyles of the buggies and cars that will go on to compete in the 2016 Dakar Rally. What makes the AARD really stand out, though, is in the incredibly outlandish way in which Jaekang Ha has incorporated the suspension into the wheels.
Instead of using conventional springs and dampers, the AARD utilises a magnetic system that's claimed to absorb all of the lumps and bumps in the terrain the car would theoretically tackle. If that wasn't enough, the tires themselves also have tread patterns that can be adjusted on the fly to suit the demands of the situation. As an example, under heavy braking, the tread can be raised on the fly, thus generating more friction and slowing the AARD down faster. The idea of a rally raiding buggy like this is nothing short of amazing, even if there's no chance of anything like Ha's AARD finding its way in the Dakar Rally bivouac any time soon. At least we can imagine how incredible this fictional Kamaz off-roader would be, eh?