With its 2.40 m width, the new 3008DKR Maxi impresses. But the history of motor sport is marked by machines that are sometimes even more incredible. Top 10 of the craziest cars ever entered in competition.
Peugeot 3008DKR Maxi
Winner of the Dakar in 2017, the “all in all” 3008DKR was already impressive, with its 37-inch tires, just like the 2008 DKR that preceded it. But this Maxi version sets the bar even higher, with even wider bodywork! This makes it 2.40 m tall, almost 40 cm taller than a Lamborghini Aventador. It remains to be seen whether these changes will pay off on the 2018 Dakar in January.
Volvo 850 Estate BTCC
With its unsporting image, the station wagon is clearly not the favourite of competitors. So when Volvo hired one of its “bricks” on wheels, the 850 Estate, in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in 1994, the initiative inevitably made a big splash. Driven here by an atmospheric 2.0 five-cylinder engine with 290 hp, the flea market favourite will finish third overall in 1995 and 1996.
Porsche 935 “Moby Dick”
A white whale that stars in Herman Mellville’s homonymous novel, Moby Dick is also the nickname of a Porsche prototype unlike any other. Still quite close to a “simple” 911 in its early days, the 935 has indeed moved further and further away from this base, with an increasingly spectacular aerodynamics, a redesigned rear and a flat-six biturbo of nearly 850 hp. However, he had to settle for the eighth at the 1978 Le Mans 24 Hours.
MG Metro 6R4
A key category in the rally in the 1980s, Group B gave rise to real monsters before disappearing following several fatal accidents. Arriving late, the MG Metro 6R4 did not have time to build up a list of successes, but this city car with a rear central V6 engine, as high as it was wide, remains a vibrant testimony to the excesses of the time.
Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan
A Ferrari hunting station wagon, no need to wait for the recent FF and GTCLusso to find one, since this 250 GT Breadvan, dates from 1962. Based on a 250 GT short chassis, it does not appear in the good graces of the brand on the Cabré Horse: thanked by Ferrari, Giotto Bizzarrini and Carlos Chiti created it, in association with Count Giovanni Volpi, to defeat the Scuderia at Le Mans 24 Hours. It was without success, despite an encouraging start to the race.
Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak
With its very free rules, the unlimited category of the Pikes Peak hill climb race has welcomed many machines worthy of inclusion in this ranking. However, one of the most striking remains Suzuki’s Escudo Pikes Peak, and not just because it is one of the stars of the Gran Turismo 2 video game: there is nothing left of the original placid 4×4, equipped with a front blade worthy of a snowplough, a huge rear spoiler and nearly 1,000 hp. Driven by Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, a Japanese specialist in this atypical event, the monster will even take on board two engines on some editions.
You hear a helicopter noise. Logically, you are looking up to the sky… but you are mistaken. This Howmet TX does not require a conventional piston engine: it prefers to use a gas turbine, the manufacturer’s speciality. She even won a race in Huntsville, Texas in 1968, but the sports program was abandoned at the end of the year.
Without having an outstanding track record, the American Chaparral team has helped revolutionize the design of aerodynamics in motor sport. Evolution with closed cockpit of the 1966 2E, this 2F takes over the huge rear spoiler. Unprecedented at the time, this appendix also has the additional feature of being able to be tilted at will thanks to an additional pedal, in order to favour either efficiency in curves or velocity in a straight line. But the two Chaparral 2Fs involved in the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours had to give up…
Mazda MX-5 Radbul
Even if the FIA is beginning to take an interest in it, drifting is a young discipline that is still not very well codified. It is therefore not uncommon to find the mechanics of one car in the body of another, a practice known as “swap”. But it’s hard to go as far as New Zealand’s Mike Whiddett, alias Mad Mike, who grafted a four-rotor rotary engine with nearly 1,000 hp into an MX-5 roadster. This is a long way from the original wise four-cylinder 2.0!
Reserved for construction machinery… or Mercedes G-Class, the six wheels? In the 1970s, the Tyrell F1 team did not hear it from this ear. It grafts four small 10-inch wheels onto the front axle of its P34 single-seater, born in 1976. This innovation will even achieve some good results, with a 3rd and 4th place in the championship for drivers Jody Sheckter and Patrick Depailler, but 1977 will be less brilliant and the adventure will end there.