McRae Enduro S-SUV
Years 2008-2009
Drivetrain Front / AWD
Engine 2.7L Naturally Aspirated v 6 (Diesel)
Power 240hp (179.0kW)
383lb-ft (517.1Nm)


Conceptual Design and Packaging

Among the many design objectives two requirements posed the greatest challenge: how to combine a spacious cockpit – where occupants may adopt ‘normal driving posture’ – while achieving a 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution measured with empty tanks and a realistic complement of tools and spares. Champion driver Alister McRae defined the criteria for the cockpit, while Ford’s TDV6 engine was selected thanks to its light weight (200kg) and compact dimensions.

Unusually, the short engine is situated ahead of the bulkhead, boosting safety by limiting intrusion in the event of a major accident. This configuration also allows the occupants to be situated closed to the car’s centreline and away from the safety cage.

Prototype - Body Details

Former Ford UK Design studio chief Chris Clements then took over detail design, scribing panel closures and details such as lights, intakes and vents onto the full-size model. The full-size model was then compared to high quality 2D Computer Generated Images (CGIs) before being scrutinised and approved by the rest of the team.

Prototype - Cockpit Package Review

The absence of a broad transmission tunnel permits the occupants to be located closer together and away from the steel tubing of the cage, specifically the cant and header rails.

Prototype - Rolling Chassis

Peter Bennett, team engineer, has years of experience designing race and rally cars. The engineering team designed and built the spaceframe chassis and many of the components that go into building this highly specialised rally car. The engine, gearbox and differentials are standard production parts that Peter and his team have modified to make suitable for the extreme demands of rough off-road driving.

Tubular Spaceframe Chassis

The design incorporates the latest crash knowledge and satisfies all FIA crash and safety criteria. Highest quality, aircraft specification T45 and 2crmo4 tubing is used in varying sizes and gauges to optimise strength, weight and rigidity, as well as introducing a degree of deformability to boost crash worthiness.

Seats sit on a false floor to give the driver good eye level visibility, while pedals, steering column and seat mountings all incorporate considerable adjustment to cater for all shapes and body sizes.

The Suspension

Superior vehicle dynamics were a must for the McRae Enduro. The ability to ride well over mixed surfaces from soft sand to rough rocks, to give the driver good feedback, while being tough enough to survive the pounding that the car suffers on Cross-Country rallies, precluded any possibility of starting with a production platform. Only a clean-sheet T1 prototype chassis design could deliver suitably optimised vehicle dynamics.

The McRae Enduro employs double wishbones with a toe-link. Twin dampers from 4GRIP incorporate the latest level of technology, while twin, progressive springs are fitted over each damper. Common and interchangeable upper and common lower wishbones, together with common uprights are fitted to all four corners, reducing the number of spares that have to be carried.

Full Size Foam Model

A full size model was made by using the CAD (Computer Aided Design) files to guide the milling machine as it cut a special hard foam into the shape of the body. One of the designer, Damian McTaggart, then hand finished the shape and surface to perfection.

Prototype Testing

An extensive test programme runs from June to December 2007 to ensure that the specification is perfect before the 2008 season. It will include extreme durability testing in North Africa and the Middle East. Alister McRae will drive the prototype to the absolute limit over rough terrain to test the strength and durability of all the components. He will also compete in the prototype on several events, on gravel, mud and sand, to fine-tune the chassis settings, and gauge component performance in the tough environment of Bajas and Cross-Country rallies.

Vehicle Design

With the cockpit package and target weight distribution achieved, the resulting vehicle ‘hard points’ were passed to former TVR designer Damian McTaggart to create a suitably attractive shape. Two further criteria were given: the body must incorporate production door closures (including hinges catches and seals); and a high volume ‘buy anywhere’ windscreen.


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"We're going road racing in a truck. That's so wrong." - Gale Banks