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Santa Claus is getting some visitors, and they’re not elves.
A team of eight self-proclaimed "daredevils" from Russia is hoping to be the first to drive to the geographic North Pole and back.
The Car Transarctic Expedition has built a gigantic 6x6 vehicle for the task. The Burlak – a Russian word that describes someone who pulls cargo barges up rivers – is a self-contained vehicle with four beds that is also equipped with cooking facilities and a shower with a sauna. It was designed to give its occupants internal access to its engine and other components so that they can perform repairs without being subjected to the arctic elements.
The monster truck is powered by a 3.0-liter diesel engine and combines parts from the BTR armored personnel carrier, Gaz 66 military cargo transporter, and Toyota Land Cruiser. Its low-pressure tires are five-and-a-half feet tall and over two feet wide. The aluminum-bodied creation can also float and has a propeller in the likely event that it encounters any breaks in the ice.
Expedition member Vasily Elagin drove to the North Pole in 2009, but his team was airlifted out and left its vehicles left behind. This time, he hopes to get there and back without any outside help. Two Burlaks will be built for the trip, each towing a supply train behind it that will carry all of the fuel, food and equipment that they need.
Russia Today reports that the Burlaks will make a test run to a polar station in the remote Severnaya Zemlya archipelago next year, and go for the North Pole in 2018.
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