Lukas Lauda will compete in the T3 class for lightweight vehicles, racing a Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo entered by the South Racing Team.
His #347 Can-Maverick has been painted in the same colour scheme as Lauda’s McLaren MP4/2 as a tribute to his father who died in 2019 at the age of 70.
In addition to the car, Lukas Lauda has designed a very special helmet, with the use of red and white colours reminiscent of the Marlboro advertising from those days.
“Honouring a legend. Lukas Lauda, son of Niki Lauda, will race in a tribute to his legendary father, a unique livery, reminiscent of the iconic McLaren colour scheme of Niki’s 1984 Formula 1 championship-winning car,” read a statement from his South Racing Team.
The eldest of Lauda’s four kids, Lukas had spent most of his career working as a sports manager, even helping his brother Mathias’ rise up the racing lader. However, in recent years, he has dabbled in cross-country rallying, joining a World Rally-Raid Championship event in Morocco in 2022.
His appearance at the Rally du Maroc in 2023 yielded a promising 13th place finish and served as the ideal preparation for his first outing in Dakar.
“I used to ride motocross a lot as a kid and I’ve been riding motorbikes all my life,” explained the South Racing competitor. “I worked for many years in sports marketing and organised races for my brother and other people. I had never raced anything, and in 2022, Heinz Kinigadner invited me to Tunisia to try a Can-Am and I loved it.
“I bought a second-hand Can-Am from South Racing and started racing some rallies with my co-driver Stefan [Henken]. Heinz Kinigadner introduced me to Stefan and we made a good team.
“The Dakar has always been for me the most important race and adventure, I’ve been watching it since I was a child and it fascinates me, my goal is to learn a lot and try to be the best rookie”.
Niki Lauda clinched the 1984 F1 championship in what was the closest-ever title fight in the history of grand prix racing, as he beat his team-mate Alain Prost by just half a point at the end of a topsy-turvy season.
Lauda, who had previously won the 1975 and ’77 titles for rival Ferrari, won a total of five races in 1984 and only finished outside the podium once in all the races he finished.
He would spend another year in F1 with McLaren in ’85 before hanging up his helmet to focus on other areas, including aviation.
The red-and-white livery he sported during his final years in F1 is one of the most recognisable colour schemes in motorsport, and was part of McLaren’s title sponsorship deal with tobacco major Marlboro.
McLaren’s cars continued to run in the famous Marlboro colours until 1997, when the team signed a deal with another cigarette maker West.
Photo by: Motorsport Images
Niki Lauda, McLaren MP4-1B Ford