Red Bull and Can-Am are thrilled to announce that the new year will see a fresh look and new racers for the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team. In addition to launching a new look to next year’s Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, the program develops the next generation of off-road racers into the stars of the future. The teams’ campaign opens with the start of the 2023 Dakar Rally on December 31.
The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team was first launched in 2020 with a vision to develop the next generation of off-road drivers for competition globally and in the USA. A substantial off-road community has fostered numerous opportunities for high-level competition and a growing interest in rally-raid events like Dakar.
Red Bull is now joining forces with Can-Am, the proven Dakar-winning platform with five consecutive championships so far, not only to support the most promising off-road talent but also to increase the global impact of the Red Bull Off-Road Junior program. The program will create a career roadmap for young racers to follow their goals and dreams, identifying up-and-coming talent and helping to support their racing on the regional and national levels before taking them up to the international stage.
These young racers will receive mentoring and guidance from seasoned professional racers throughout this process. The Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team isn’t just limited to racers. It is also looking to identify future talents in engineering, mechanics, and marketing who can play pivotal roles in shaping the future of the racing industry and the world.
For 2023, the team will expand from four to six drivers who will contend in two groups under the larger Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team umbrella. Quintero, Guthrie, and Jones will compete for the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA presented by BF Goodrich. Gutierrez and Baciuška will race for Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team, with Chaleco Lopez stepping in with a mentorship role for all five junior athletes.
With all six of the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team drivers having already captured one or more world championship titles, the lineup is powerful, and anticipation is high for significant progress throughout the 2023 campaign.
Regarding equipment, the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team will unveil new cars for 2023: the Dakar-winning Can-Am Maverick X3 built by South Racing, a switch that marks a milestone not only for the team but for many of its drivers. Tires are another vital part of the equation, BF Goodrich is sponsoring the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA.
Driving the T3 Can-Am Maverick X3 for Team USA presented by BF Goodrich will be Americans Seth Quintero, 20, who is one of the favorites to win Dakar after setting the record for most stage wins (11) in 2022, and AJ Jones – a new addition to Red Bull’s Junior Team who is also 26 and captured his maiden Dakar category win in 2022. Dakar stage winner Mitch Guthrie Jr (26) will run the TM5 by industry innovator MCE5, a development car geared towards a hybrid future.
For the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team, Spain’s Cristina Gutiérrez, 31, a third-place finisher in Dakar 2022 who is only the second woman in the event’s history to win a stage, will also take the wheel of a T3 Can-Am Maverick X3; while Rokas Baciuška, a recent Rallye du Maroc victor who stormed to a third-place finish in his 2022 Dakar debut, joins the Red Bull Off-Road Junior ranks for the first time behind the wheel of a T4 Can-Am Maverick X3.
Completing the Red Bull Can-Am Factory Team roster is Chilean rally star Francisco ‘Chaleco’ López, 47, a three-time Dakar UTV winner who recently clinched the 2022 World Rally-Raid T3 championship, will be mentoring the team as a fellow driver, piloting a T3 Can-Am Maverick X3.
Across 2023, members of the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team will compete internationally in the Dakar Rally, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Ruta 40 Rally, Sonora Rally, and Rallye du Maroc, as well as in the US-based King of the Hammers, Mint 400, Baja 500, Vegas to Reno, and eight Red Bull Scramble events.
An eager Quintero says, “I think there is a lot of [future] legends coming up right now and our generation of drivers – coming into the sport at the same time – is one of the fastest that rally has ever seen.” He has set an ambitious goal of becoming the youngest winner in the history of Dakar, something he’ll need to accomplish by age 26.
Quintero, Guthrie, Jones, Baciuška, Gutierrez, and Lopez will compete at the Dakar Rally, which is also the first stage of the FIA-FIM World Rally-Raid Championship. The 15-day, 5,000-km event is a tour of Saudi Arabia, departing from the Red Sea on December 31, 2022, to challenge mountains and the world’s most immense unbroken sand sea before finishing in Dammam on January 15, 2023.