Niki Lauda’s son pays tribute to father by sporting McLaren livery for Dakar

Niki Lauda's son pays tribute to father by sporting McLaren livery for Dakar

The son of Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda will take part in the Dakar Rally sporting the iconic livery of the McLaren MP4/2, the car in which Lauda won his final title.

It’s been almost five years since the legendary Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda passed away, but his son Lukas is currently getting ready to pay tribute to his father at the 2024 Dakar rally.

Lukas will be driving a buggy that is sporting a livery that resembles his father’s 1984 McLaren F1, the car that Niki Lauda raced to secure the final championship title. He will be racing a Can-Am Maverick XRS Turbo entered by the South Racing Team in the T3 class which features lightweight vehicles.

The helmet that Lukas will be sporting when participating in the prestigious rally will feature the iconic Malboro logo as well as the color scheme that Niki Lauda sported during the 1984 season.

“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 South Racing Team.

Lukas, who is the oldest of Lauda’s four children, has worked as a sports manager for the better part of his career and had even assisted his brother Mathias in becoming a high-ranking driver.

However, he has experimented with cross-country rallying recently, and in 2022 he made an entry in a World Rally-Raid Championship event in Morocco. It was the perfect warm-up for his Dakar debut after having put forth an impressive performance in the Rally du Maroc in 2023, finishing in 13th place.

“I used to ride motocross a lot as a kid and I’ve been riding motorbikes all my life,” said Lukas. “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 overcame teammate Alain Prost by a mere half a point to claim the 1984 Formula 1 championship, making it the closest title race in the history of grand prix racing.

After previously winning the 1975 and 1977 championships with Ferrari, Lauda went on to win five races in 1984 with only one finish outside the podium.

He sported a red-and-white livery during his latter years in Formula 1 as part of McLaren’s championship sponsorship agreement with tobacco company Marlboro, which is considered among the most iconic liveries in motor racing.

The triple world champion retired from racing in 1985 to concentrate on other pursuits, such as aviation, after racing in Formula 1 for one more season under McLaren.

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