A while ago we went over what the buttons on a MotoGP bike are for. The vehicle we'll be showing you today has even more buttons and levers, so we'll take it slow as we describe the controls and tools in the front of Isidre Esteve's car.
It's worth mentioning that Rally cars are custom made to provide maximum resistance, while making driving as easy as possible.
The most obvious component within the driver's reach is, of course, the adapted steering wheel. To compensate for Isidre's reduced mobility, this element has to control not just the steering but also the accelerator, clutch, and brakes. To incorporate these functions, the wheel has extra rings that act as pedals.
One of the most important tools on the dashboard is the water dispenser. This lever, which is labelled, activates the pump that allows the water to reach the driver and co-driver. Due to the long days and high temperatures during the race, having water is utterly important, and carrying a water bottle in the glove department is simply not enough.
One of the most dangerous risks for the people in a Rally car is a fire inside the vehicle. A fire can start in places where it's not visible, like the engine, and spread from there, which is why race regulations require all cars to have a fire extinguisher control module. This module is a red box with a lever that, although automatic, may be operated from inside or outside the vehicle. Another safety device we have are the emergency seat belt cutters, which can be used if you are trapped during an accident.
Just like the cars we use in everyday life, the Dakar Rally cars also have informative panels on the dashboard like the gear indicator, fuel indicators, gearbox and differential temperature indicators, and an engine information panel.
On the right-hand side of the dashboard, the co-driver's panel has all the elements needed for navigation: a place to put the Roadbook, the GPS, stop watches, and another panel with information about the vehicle.
The central portion of the dashboard is chock-full of fuses, buttons, selectors, relays, and a circuit breaker. All of these elements are here to provide an immediate solution to all types of problems. We can use them to activate fans, lighting, and auxiliary systems.
Finally, we have the most important part of the car, which is what makes it possible for Isidre to take part in these competitions. We're talking about the smart cushion, which has a system that inflates different areas of the cushion to change the driver's posture and prevent injuries.
Driving this car might seem a bit overwhelming now that you've seen all these devices, but for Isidre it's a piece of cake.
BV6 T 1.2 prototype, based on a BMW X6
Type of engine: 6 in line
Air intake: Twin turbo
Horsepower: 335 hp
Weight: 1820 kg
Shocks: Latest generation OLHINS TTX
Tyres: BF GOODRICH 235/85 R16