Like other objects of motorsport, Dakar rally trucks look like road vehicles, but modified to withstand conditions that would lay their pedestrian dopplegangers low. They also must carry gear and supplies to get them from stage to stage, across some of the the harshest terrain in the world. Interested yet?

On this episode of /DRIVEN, JF visits the race shop of X-Raid, the Frankfurt-based rally team that preps and fields race "trucks" in international cross-country rallying events, including Dakar — the series' premiere event — which, as team principal Sven Quandt says, is "beside Le Mans, the biggest challenge you can do in motorsports."

If you've ever wondered why you should bother following Dakar, and events like it, consider this introduction — to some of the racers that devote their energies to long-distance off-roading, the vehicles they drive, and how they prepare and strategize — a necessary backgrounder.