Originally Posted by BC61
Take the "supported riders" budget above, multiply by the number of cylinders of the car you want to enter, then if it includes a turbo multiply by 1.25. If the goal is to finnish 10th- 20th multiply by 2; 1st-10th multiply by 4.
Or you could rent Robby Gordon's 2nd Hummer supported for 1.5 million.
Actually, the car costs are more like double what you'd spend on a bike. It really depends on the car and your goals. Last year we went with a live-axle car and a mild engine tune (3.0L turbo-diesel w 260 hp and 450 torque), both of which mean lower maintenance. We spoiled ourselves with 2 mechanics instead of 1 and we spent $125K to do the rally. In the lead up to that first attempt, we also did the Tuareg Rally twice (25K each time w similar support) and did 1 week of testing in morocco (15K). These costs are what you'd spend if your goal was to finish or perhaps touch the top 40.
To get into the top 30 you really need an independent suspension car, which then means 2-3 mechanics and not 1-2. You don't really need much more power, but it's nice to have, so that will use up other parts quicker (brakes, clutch, maybe a tranny). So this will be a $150K effort more or less.
The cost effective way to do it in a car is to enter the production class in a hilux or land cruiser. These are 10-20% slower but very tough and end up costing less to keep going for the race. This approach, with a sharp budget would mean $75-100K for the race itself.
None of these costs include the car. The production route is about 80K euros. Our live axle Desert Warrior with Reiger suspension and really well prepared was 105K euros. Our new car (that blew its engine on stage 2) was 175K euros.
After completing a Dakar, the good thing about a purpose built car like a desert warrior is that you can sell it for 80-85K euros, whereas a production based car will lose at least half its value.
Hope that helps.
If you have the riding skill, the fitness and the absolute confidence that you'll keep a level head and not get killed, do it on a bike! Current attrition stats are 1/200 riders - scary. 0.5% chance of being killed. Not injured - killed.
If you have 3 kids, are a good but not great rider, are in good but not great shape, and can afford it, do it in a car. It's 80% as much fun and 80% less painful! (but 100% more expensive...) that was my math and you only live once so f*ck it.