Team Wander Women Infiniti QX80 running Rebelle Rally 2020
Team Wander Women, piloting a specially prepared 2021 Infiniti QX80, completed the grueling 10-day grueling Rabelle Rally off-road drive challenge this past week. The demanding competitive event runs more than 1,200 miles stretching from Lake Tahoe to the Imperial Sand Dunes near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Nicole Wakelin (left) and Alice Chase (right) doing a navigation check
Team Wander Women comprising Texas Auto Writer Association (TAWA) automotive journalists – Driver Nicole Wakelin and Navigator Alice Chase – finished the journey with smiles of satisfaction after the long haul. Rookies, in their first Rebelle Rally, they amassed a commendable 800-points netting them a top-10 finish among first time competitors.
“This was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I’ve ever had,” said Chase. “I’m so grateful to have done this with Nicole and the support of Infiniti. The QX80 was the perfect third teammate to tackle this demanding off-road challenge.”
It was noted that merely finishing the rally is an accomplishment for any team. This year featured the longest stage every in the five-year history of the rally – making the 2020 route the most challenging yet.
“From beginning to end, the QX80 handled virtually everything we threw at it. At every turn, the QX80 handled the terrain with comfort and grace – on a mountain, dune or anywhere else,” said Wakelin.
QX80 Enhanced Capability
This was the first Infiniti entry ever for the Rebelle Rally. The Team Wander Women QX80 was specially equipped to tackle the extreme challenges of the Rally.
Calmimo Products, Inc. prepared the stock production Coulis Red 2021 QX80 with the necessary equipment to handle the challenge.
Modifications include a 3-inch lift, off-road suspension, custom front and rear bumpers, heavy-duty control arms and thicker skid plates.
Other upgrades included all-terrain tires mounted to 18-inch Off-Road Monster wheels plus a tool-box of off-road tools gear including recovery boards, waters cans and an air-up/air-down kit.
The modifications complemented an already-robust package found in every QX80. A stout 5.6L V8 making 400 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque powers every QX80. The power plant is shifted through a 7-speed automatic to either the rear wheels or all four wheels.
The QX80’s All-Mode 4WD system and Terrain Select system deliver the power and torque to the right wheels necessary for the circumstances of the Rebelle Rally or around town.
Luxury with Function
The QX80 pairs that kind of capability with a leather-appointed interior, luxurious seating for (up to) eight, dual high-definition touch screens, climate-controlled front seats and Infiniti’s innovative Smart Rearview Mirror camera-based system that projects a clear view for the driver using the enhanced 9.6-inch digital display.
The QX80 Bose Premium audio and tri-zone climate control provided some respite along the course – from the base of 14,505-foot Mount Whitney to the Badwater Basin – the lowest point in America at 282 feet below sea level.
2021 Infiniti QX80
While our Texas Auto Writer Association (TAWA) colleagues were navigating the Rebelle Rally out West, TAWA media members were test driving a 2021 QX80 Premium Select 4WD at the TAWA Annual Truck Rodeo at Star Hill Ranch near Austin, Texas.
Our Truck Rodeo QX80 was certainly not as aggressively equipped as the one the Wander Women Team drove in the harsh environment out West. However, it handled technical elements of our competitive test course exceptionally well.
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 Luxury SUV has three trim levels: Luxe, Premium Select and Sensory. All are available FWD and 4WD. The QX80 pricing starts at MSRP $69,050 for the Luxe FWD. For the record, our TAWA Truck Rodeo vehicle – a QX80 Premium Select – was priced at $79,490.
Learn more about the 2021 Infiniti QX80 HERE.
About Rebelle Rally
The Rebelle Rally, just completing its fifth year, is the first women’s off-road navigational rally raid in the U.S.
The event uses a unique challenge and scoring system where precise navigation, not speed, is the ultimate goal. Participants hand over their cell-phones and any GPS technology in exchange for old school navigation process and tools to competitively monitor and manage the elements of time, distance, direction and hidden checkpoints.
Armed with just maps, compasses and roadbooks, the 40 teams of two and their sponsor vehicles were pushed to their limits as they made their way across more than 1,200 miles of Nevada and California wilderness and desert terrain.
More information on the Rebelle Rally can be found at www.rebellerally.com
Source: Infiniti press release