The British car manufacturer MINI and the German X-raid Team have launched into the final preparation phase for the Dakar Rally 2018. For the first time, MINI and X-raid will face the challenges of the most demanding long-distance rally in the world using two different types of drive. One is the last version of the all-wheel-drive MINI John Cooper Works Rally, which came 6th in 2017. The other is the rear-wheel-drive MINI John Cooper Works Buggy.
MINI and X-raid are aiming to continue their joint success story which brought them four consecutive overall victories from 2012 to 2015
“With these two cars we have the most powerful MINI family that ever raced at the Dakar Rally”, said Sebastian Mackensen, Senior Vice President of MINI.
The team and the manufacturer developed a second vehicle concept due to the Dakar Rally rules. In their present form, they give the cars with two-wheel-drive certain advantages.
X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt gave the go-ahead for building the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy in February 2017. “This has been the biggest project in our company’s history so far. And we have worked extremely hard at it”, he said.
The MINI John Cooper Works Buggy has a 3.0-litre inline 6-cylinder diesel engine
It generates an output of 250 kW/340 hp and a maximum torque of 800 Nm. The transmission and drivetrain, as well as the engine’s turbocharging technology, are completely new. The MINI John Cooper Works Rally uses the same engine. The specially designed tubular steel frame provides maximum protection for driver and passenger in extreme situations. A specifically designed body made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and Kevlar is stretched over the frame. The authentic buggy-look exterior has been designed in close cooperation with MINI Design and aerodynamically optimised.
The new MINI John Cooper Works Buggy has already undergone an intensive test programme over the past months. It went through different types of rally terrain for example in Hungary and Morocco. “During this time the buggy never had to stop once due to a technical problem, which is really quite remarkable”, reported Team Manager Sven Quandt. “Despite all the euphoria, we must definitely not forget the MINI John Cooper Works Rally”, Quandt added. “There are tracks and types of terrain where an all-wheel drive has advantages. What is more, our car is extremely reliable.”
The advancements for the MINI John Cooper Works Rally include a new chassis construction. It features greater suspension travel and weight reductions among other things.
The MINI and X-raid range for the Dakar Rally 2018 will comprise seven cars
Mikko Hirvonen, Bryce Menzies and Yazeed Al-Rajhi will drive the three MINI John Cooper Works Buggies. The driver seats in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally will be occupied by Orlando Terranova, Jakub Przygonski, Joan “Nani” Roma and Boris Garafulic.
The 40th, anniversary edition of the Dakar Rally, which is taking place in South America for the tenth time, will take the participants from Peru to Argentina via Bolivia. The 2018 Dakar Rally incorporates extended desert stages as well as rock and boulder fields and asphalt tracks which take the cars up to an altitude of 4000 meters in the Andes. The final stage will be on 20 January 2018 in Córdoba, Argentina.
— MINI (@MINI) November 22, 2017