Karel, Martin Macik’s racing special for the Dakar 2020, has finally been unveiled. It is an Iveco truck, it measures 6950 mm, weighs 8500 kg, and has a hood. Karel has everything that was good about Franta, the Liaz car, with which Macik successfully finished three previous Dakars, but at the same time, it comes with many improvements to help Big Shock Racing move forward in the rankings in the most challenging race. “Karel is tougher, with a new shock-absorber, the chassis has changed, we have a hood, and we are sitting behind the front wheels. It will be a little different to drive and the view from the cabin will also be different. The manual transmission remains, as well as the Iveco engine and many other time-proven things,” Martin Macik reported. His Karel will have 1,100 horses and 4,500 Nm of twisting moment.
How to build a Dakar truck
The Big Shock Racing team has been developing its new special for the past 3 years. The construction itself began last September in Sedlcany’s workshops. “The concept has changed slightly over the course of the works, but it essential to build on well-functioning components that have proven themselves in many Dakar races in the past and further improve on them. We also look at the competition and our current possibilities play a role in it, too, of course,”the team manager, Martin Macik senior, who manages the development of new specials, said. The mechanics must start with a serially-manufactured car, which does not retain many of its original parts. “Most of the components are our own, others are ordered from all over the world,”Macík, Sr. described how he builds unbreakable cars that have to handle the tough terrain and harsh handling with absolute reliability. The greatest art is to assemble all parts together to ensure 100% reliability so that not even one screw could betray us. It’s a hard work that takes a lot of time. “I would like to thank the mechanics because everyone has been spending their evenings at weekends with Karel for the past few weeks. My dad was practically living in the workshop, he was pulling all the air system, for example. And even I took some tools in my hands,” says Macik, Jr. “We were building 2 cars at the same time, the second special was made for Jarda Valtra,”added Martin Macik, Jr.
We have a nose
The new truck will look considerably different than what the fans have been used to. The crew will drive the truck from the cabin with a typical hood. The modified shape of the cabin will give them more comfort during the race, but at the same time they will have a slightly more limited view compared to the previous car. The individual places inside are personalized by the crew themselves, so that they have everything they need and at the same time feel as comfortable as possible in the car during the long and exhausting stages. “It’s about the arrangement of the dashboard, the lights, the steering wheel control … The mechanics have set up their seats, where there will be a large monitor with the ability to track all the details of Karel’s current technical condition,”says Macik.
Karel will get busy
Before Dakar, Martin Macik should drive around 20,000 training kilometers in the new truck. This week, the Big Shock Racing caravan, accompanied by fans and partners, will set off for Africa, where Karel will undergo harsh tests in the Tunisian desert. These will reveal any weaknesses that need to be worked on in the following months. He will also participate in Baja Aragon, Rallye du Maroc and Baja Poland. Macik is delighted that during the second half of the year, he will also be able to welcome some fans in Karel’s cabin on a drive in the Sedlcany countryside.
Franta as a security
“Franta and Liaz, those are our soft spots. I don’t think I’ve ever loved any other car like that. But if we want to move on again and, perhaps, even win the Dakar, we had to make a change. We will need new parts, factory support, and modern technology, otherwise it will not be possible. But Franta will stay with us in the team, he will still be a training truck, and if, during the testing, it turns out that Karel has more childhood illnesses than we expected, I will do Dakar 2020 again with Franta – and will be happy to do so,”Martin Macik said. Another Big Shock Racing team’s Liaz is also the indispensable caravan truck that provides all drivers and mechanics with a complete cover during all races.
The fans can already meet Karel on the road today because his journey to the Dakar has just began by going to the first desert training. It will be driven by none other than Martin to get his first valuable experience driving in the Tunisian oasis.