MINI will take part in the 2017 Dakar Rally and has released a comprehensive gallery, along with details of the car that will partake in the gruelling competition. The upcoming rally will span three countries next year – Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina – covering a distance of approximately 9,000 km, of which more than 4,000 km will be special stages.
Based on the all-new F60 Countryman, MINI’s latest Dakar machine will aim to attain the same level of success as the MINI ALL4 Racing. As before, MINI is collaborating with its motorsport partner X-raid on this outing, with the both joining hands to develop the new machine.
The 2017 John Cooper Works (JCW) Rally is powered by a 3.0 litre six-cylinder turbodiesel dry sump engine from BMW that produces 340 hp at 3,250 rpm and 800 Nm of torque at 1,850 mm. The engine is fitted with a mandatory 38 mm air restrictor as per Dakar regulations for a standard double stage turbo setup, and sits in a removable subframe for quick engine removal (one hour) if needed.
A six-speed SADEV sequential transmission is paired with the engine, directing power to all four wheels, with access to lockable, oil-cooled Xtrac front and rear differentials, along with a central SADEV unit. An Akrapovic exhaust system helps to “stir the blood of MINI Motorsport and MINI John Cooper Works fans.”
To cope with punishing terrain, the JCW Rally’s suspension is built by Reiger Racing Suspension, with each axle riding on four fully-adjustable suspension units (two per wheel) providing up to 250 mm of wheel travel.
For stopping power, there are 320mm vented steel discs and six-piston calipers are fitted at each corner, and to ensure they do not overheat during the long racing conditions in high ambient temperatures, the rear brake caliper are both air- and water-cooled.
The bodywork you see here is made out of carbon-fibre and Kevlar to keep things light (the JCW Rally weighs 1,952.5 kg), while a honeycomb mix of the same materials used for the underside of the main body. The team also lowered the front bonnet to improve visibility, and you still get to see some hints of the new Countryman like in the headlamps.
MINI will enter seven cars in total – #303, #306, #308, #314, #316, #322 and #325 including ex-WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen and other rally veterans such as Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Orlanda Terranova, Boris Garafulic, Jakub Przygonski, Mohadmed Abu Issa and Stephan Schott.