Lukas Lauda pays tribute to father in Dakar with retro McLaren F1 livery
Niki Lauda’s son Lukas has adopted the famous red-and-white McLaren livery with which the late Formula 1 legend won the last of his three titles for his Dakar Rally debut.
The elder brother of long-time Aston Martin GT racer Mathias, 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 the 1984 title-winning McLaren MP4/2 in a tribute to Lauda Sr, who died in 2019 at the age of 70.
In addition to the car, Lukas Lauda has designed a special helmet with the use of red and white colours reminiscent of the Marlboro tobacco advertising from those days.
Lukas Lauda had spent most of his career working as a sports manager, even helping his brother Mathias’s rise up the racing ladder. 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 preparatory ground for his first Dakar outing.
“I used to ride motocross a lot as a kid and I’ve been riding motorbikes all my life,” explained the South Racing driver.
“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 world championship by just half a point over team-mate Alain Prost at the end of a topsy-turvy season.
Lauda, who had previously won the 1975 and 1977 titles for rival Ferrari, won a total of five races in 1984 but retired from racing after spending one more season with McLaren in 1985 .