Spanish pilot José Luis Álvarez has announced that he will compete in the 2013 Dakar Rally with a last-generation smart fortwo. This will mark the first time that the diminutive city car participates in an international rally event.
As can be expected, the Dakar-bound fortwo shares precious few parts with the street-legal example that was sold in Europe from 1998 until 2007. For starters, its chassis comes from the ATV-like Polaris XP 900, a modification which significantly increases the car's ride height.
The fortwo's interior has been entirely torn out and replaced with a single bucket seat mounted in the center of the passenger compartment. The car is equipped with a welded-in roll cage and a new dashboard that includes a myriad of switches and a digital instrument cluster.
The smart's engine has been tossed out, too. In its place lurks a Polaris-sourced 900cc two-cylinder mill that makes 90 horsepower, a respectable amount for a vehicle that weighs just 1,650 pounds.
Because of its small size, the smart will compete in the FIA's lightweight buggy class. It will make its racing debut in Lima, Peru, on January 5th of next year.
Photos courtesy of Feber Team.