This year, for the first time in the history of the traditional project, the vocational students are working alongside ŠKODA Motorsport to create the eighth ŠKODA student car, thereby benefiting from 120 years of motorsport experience. The rally version of the ŠKODA KAMIQ city SUV, which serves as the basis for the student car for the first time, is taking on the look of the vehicles that compete in the legendary Dakar Rally. The roots of the traditional long-distance rally lie in the deserts of North and West Africa.
From the very first pencil stroke, the vocational students are developing the spectacularly designed and handmade one-off themselves. The AFRIQ is 4,362 millimetres long and has a wheelbase of 2,649 millimetres. The apprentices are incorporating many new, unusual ideas with the support of teachers at the ŠKODA Vocational School, engineers and experienced employees from the Technical Development, Design and Production areas, as well as ŠKODA Motorsport for the first time.
“It’s great to see how much enthusiasm and creativity our apprentices bring to this project. In collaboration with the specialist teachers, who are totally dedicated to our students and work diligently with them on the details, the project participants come up with ideas every year that surprise even the experts. The apprentices always manage to give their very own dream car a unique character.”
Zdeněk Stanke, team leader from the ŠKODA Academy
ŠKODA AUTO leads the Volkswagen Group in North Africa
The eighth ŠKODA student car also reflects ŠKODA AUTO’s Group responsibility for the North Africa region. Following on from India and Russia, the Czech car manufacturer is now responsible for all the Volkswagen Group’s activities in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. Under the leadership of Arwa Oeljeklaus, the company has been developing new markets with growth potential in this region since 1 January 2021. The project is one of the three top priorities EXPAND, EXPLORE and ENGAGE as part of the new corporate strategy ‘NEXT LEVEL – ŠKODA STRATEGY 2030’. Under the banner of EXPLORE, ŠKODA AUTO strives to become the leading European car manufacturer in India, Russia and North Africa by 2030.
“By naming the new ŠKODA student car AFRIQ and paying homage to the Dakar Rally’s roots on the African continent, the apprentices are also drawing attention to ŠKODA AUTO’s newly assigned responsibility for the North Africa region. As we have in India and Russia, we also want to apply our expertise to the dynamic growth regions in Africa so that we can efficiently leverage existing synergies for the Group.”
Arwa Oeljeklaus, Head of ŠKODA AUTO North Africa
ŠKODA’s experience at the Dakar Rally
At the 40th run of the desert rally in 2018, a KODIAQ became the first ŠKODA ever to take part in what is arguably the world’s most demanding rally. ŠKODA’s large SUV was used in South America as a support vehicle for the Czech team BARTH Racing. The unmodified series-production model handled the almost 10,000-kilometre route through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina without any problems – at altitudes of more than 4,500 metres along some stretches. In 2021, a ŠKODA 130 LR, a former rally works car from the 1980s, took part in the Dakar Rally in the Classic category. It reached the finish after more than 7,600 kilometres through Saudi Arabia, celebrating a stage victory and several third places.
Apprentices from the ŠKODA Vocational School in Mladá Boleslav have been planning, developing and building a spectacular concept car every year since 2014. The student car project is a unique initiative in the Czech Republic and offers the skilled workers of tomorrow the chance to demonstrate their talents and capabilities in collaboration with experts from the company’s Production, Design and other departments. This gives the apprentices an insight into many different areas of the company. They learn to work on projects as part of a team, to combine planning and practical implementation, and to present their work to Board members. The student car is one of the most important projects for the ŠKODA Academy and impressively demonstrates the high quality of training at the Vocational School in Mladá Boleslav, which was founded in 1927.