Spanish pilot Jos√© Luis √Ālvarez¬†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.