Zarooq Motors, a United Arab Emirates-based automotive startup, began production earlier this month on its wild SandRacer 500GT, an off-road specialized sports car that first appeared as a concept in 2015 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Amusingly, “Zarooq” means “sand racer” in Emirati, so technically, this car is called the “Sand Racer SandRacer 500GT,” a fitting title for a two-seat car its maker claims is equally at home bashing sand dunes as negotiating bumper-to-bumper traffic on your daily commute.

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The SandRacer’s specs are compelling: Zarooq calls out a General Motors LT1 6.2-litre V8 engine good for 525 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque; and a Weddle sequential off-road racing transmission, both of which are bolted into a purpose-built, lightweight racing chassis with height-adjustable suspension and an integral roll cage.

Zarooq doesn’t provide much detail in the way of technical specs, but the SandRacer’s power figures fall somewhere between those of the LT1-powered Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette engines, and the supercharged 6.2-litre LT4 that powers the Camaro ZL1 and Corvette Z06.

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Regardless how the SandRacer’s engine generates its 70-hp bump over the Camaro’s LT1, 525 hp is a lot for a car whose 1,300-kg curb weight is about the same as that of a Mazda3 sedan. Credit the extensive use of carbon fibre for that: German custom car specialist Mansory uses that exotic material to craft the 500GT’s body, while interior surfaces consist of carbon fibre and hand-stitched leather.

Zarooq says power-to-weight ratio allows a 220-km/h top speed and a zero-to-60 mph sprint of less than four seconds, fed by a 130-litre fuel tank we’d bet doesn’t last long with that engine launching the 500GT off the sand dunes outside Abu Dhabi.

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Assuming you’ve got enough left in the tank for the drive home, the 500GT has air conditioning (a must-have in the Middle East, we’re sure) and an infotainment system.

The 500GT’s price is a bit of an if-you-have-to-ask thing, at US $450,000, a third of which is due at order time. If you have that kind of coin, act quickly: Zarooq says it is making 35 examples of its first production model, all with numbered chassis, with the first cars expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018.