Despite the famous surname, he seems modest and quiet. He is riding his first Dakar, without fanfare and tinsel. He deliberately avoids more media attention, he just doesn’t want to benefit from the fact that his name is Lauda. “I mainly came to enjoy Dakar. My dad was crazy in the best sense of the word, he was born to win, he thought of nothing else, nothing else was good enough for him. I have it a little differently.”

Foto: South Racing

Niki Lauda’s first-born son has been driving a buggy for only two years.

And it’s true, for a long time it really didn’t seem like he’d budged a bit. Well, at least as far as cars are concerned. “I’ve done a lot of motocross and basically I’ve been riding motorcycles all my life, but I’ve never thought of racing a car,” says Lauda, ​​who is in the T3 class and in a rented buggy for the huge South Racing team in the 46th Dakar Rally. It is unmissable, the red and white combination is a clear reminder of the Marlboro racing colors and Laud’s helmet is also a tribute to his father’s racing.

Foto: South Racing

So what does it remind you of?

Lukas didn’t race, but he hung around the races. The eldest of Lauda’s four children, he spent most of his life as a sports manager, even assisting his brother Mathias, who is an experienced circuit endurance racing driver.

But in 2022, he drove a borrowed Can-Am in the sand dunes in Tunis and it was love from the first minute. “I watched the Dakar as a child and was fascinated by the competition, but I never thought of racing in this rally, I always took motorbikes as a hobby and I wasn’t going to change that. But in a small, light buggy, it’s a completely different experience and I’ve been enjoying it a lot since the very first ride,” Lukas Lauda beamed in the middle of the competition, even though he was riding at the tail end of the field.

After that short ride in Tunis, he bought a second-hand racing buggy from South Racing and started training hard. He tried several cross-country rallies, and then at the end of last year he also drove the World Cup race in Morocco. “It will always be primarily fun for me,” he said after finishing thirteenth in his class and winning the Tuareg Rally.

Here at Dakar he has the full support of South Racing and Stefan Henken, who used to race a truck, sits next to him. “Originally I wanted to race with my brother Mathias, but that wouldn’t work, we’d both like to drive,” he laughs. “Unlike me, Stefan has experience, he is calm and knows how to guide me. That’s exactly the kind of person I needed.”

Foto: South Racing

The current goal is clear – to reach the goal successfully. The more ambitious one, to be the best rookie at the Dakar, will probably not come true.

It is worth remembering that his dad Niki Lauda died less than five years ago at the age of seventy. He won two world titles with Ferrari (1975 and 1977), then in 1984 he won the title with McLaren by the narrowest margin in history, beating team-mate Alain Prost by just half a point.

The red-white war colors are and were among the most famous in motorsport, accompanying McLaren until 1997, when it was replaced by the rival West. Now they appeared at Dakar.

And his dad Niki would certainly be happy, even though he, unlike other F1 drivers, has never driven the Dakar Rally.