And the winner is …
In the footsteps of his father, an 8-time competitor at the Paris-Dakar rally in the 1980s and 1990s, today it is the turn of young Markus to put the Walcher name back in lights, and maybe hit the leader board and write a new page in the history of the world's most challenging off-road rally.
A human adventure to which BFGoodrich® is more than happy to contribute, as the brand will be paying the Dakar 2018 subscription fees for the driver, co-driver and car, and providing the full set of tires. Engine oil will be supplied by project partner Motul.
Throughout the preparation period and on site, Markus Walcher will be coached by the highly experienced Nani Roma, the patron of the BFGoodrich® Good Project Dakar Edition, who will also be in contention at the Dakar driving his Toyota Hi-Lux. He will also be able to count on support from the German pilot Armin Schwartz, who will have a ton of valuable advice for the young driver.
"We particularly appreciated Markus' rookie profile, a young driver with some real experience to his credit, his values shared by the brand, and his motivation and desire to achieve an ambition," said Anne-Sophie Jarrige, marketing director at BFGoodrich® Europe and a member of the jury. "We also appreciated the quality of his video production and his expertise in handling social media, where he has a huge following."
"Its fantastic! Thanks to BFGoodrich®, Amaury Sport Organization and Motul, I can finally live my dream," said Markus Walcher. "My father drove in the finest adventure car racing has to offer on eight occasions. He passed his spirit of discovery on to me, plus his sense of challenge to oneself and the other contestants, when I was almost too young to remember. My father, now 60 years of age, will accompany me to the Dakar 2018 with his fully fitted Unimog assistance truck and a team of loyal competent friends."
With the contribution of BFGoodrich®, Markus Walcher now has the resources at hand to make it big time at the Dakar 2018. All of us at BFGoodrich® wish him the very best.
This off-road racing fan was born and lives near Stuttgart in Germany. After school he did a course as a car mechanic for Porsche in Zuffenhausen. 3 years later he was called up to do his national service for the German Army. This was when he decided to enter his family business after his spell with the Bundeswehr.
His parents opened a motorcycle shop in 1981 with just 150 sq.m - motorcycles had been his dad's life at the time. Later it became a bicycle shop. Today they work over 10,000 sq.m with 80 employees and also produce their own cycle brand called the “Carver”. He entered the company in 2011 and works on the management side with his dad.
Markus started his rally career in the age of 16. At that time he was driving an old but very reliable Mercedes G Wagon in the German 4-Hour Off-Road Masters. After a break for further education, he returned with his dad's old business car, a 6 year-old Porsche Cayenne with 230,000 km on the clock that they built up together while at college. It was the car in which they won the German Off-Road Masters in 2010.
Says Markus: "After my first desert rally, the El Chott in Tunisia, he sold it to buy my QT Wildcat second-hand from England." He did the Tuareg Rallye with it in 2015 (5th), the Carta Rallye 2016 (2nd) and the Carta Rally 2017 (2nd), as well as the Baja Deutschland (failed to finish).
His dream to drive the Dakar as his father did is nearly as old he is. When going to bed in his younger years, he remembers how he would want his dad to tell him one of his stories, even though he had already heard them all many times over. "The biggest thing about Christmas was knowing that the Dakar would soon be underway. When it started, he would always be sitting in front of TV to watch it."
To follow Markus' preparation with BFGoodrich for the Dakar 2018, check out: