Mini is settings its sight in taking the Dakar Rally crown next year with the John Cooper Works (JCW) Rally. Based off the new Countryman, the JCW Rally is the result of Mini's development of an all-new racecar while taking experience from the previous Mini ALL4 Racing.
According to the company, the new Dakar contender benefits from improved aerodynamics, better thermal management, lower center of gravity, modified chassis as well as a new engine mapping.
Beginning with the exterior, Mini said that it features both carbon fiber and kevlar on its composite bodywork for a lighter, more rigid structure. The underside is also made from the same mateirals to achieve the same properties. On the other hand, the lower center of gravity was made possible after Mini was able to place all three spare tires on the underside of the car. This allowed for improved stability and better driving dynamics.
Style-wise, Mini kept most of the original design cues from the production car, only slightly modifying certain portions for better aerodynamics. These include the more expressive fender flares and wider body. The hood was made lower as well to allow drivers to see out better.
The driving force of the JCW Rally is a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo diesel inline-six. Tuned for Dakar Rally, the engine produces 340 PS at 3,250 rpm along with 800 Nm of torque at 1,850 rpm (with the 38mm air restrictor). Power is then transferred to a 6-speed Sadev sequential gearbox that comes with an AP Racing clutch. To achieve better fuel consumption, BMW remapped the engine and also spent hours in the windtunnel to reduce drag on the JCW Rally.
Apart from the engine, Mini also made use of a special tubular steel chassis that meets aerospace standards. The frame was made by CP Autosport and was specifically designed for cross-country racing. The front subframe, on the other hand, was designed to be easily removable for easier servicing and repair.
Over to suspension, Reiger Racing provided the fully adjustable springs and dampers. This allowed the JCW Rally to have a wheel travel of 250mm. Both the front and rear axle get 320mm vented steel discs with six-piston calipers for better stopping power.
Interior images were not provided but Mini did mention it now has a carbon fiber dashboard. It has three sections which consist of the driver, central and co-driver units. The instrument panel gets LED displays for the tachometer and gear ratio alert. Meanwhile, the center display monitors speed, oil pressure, fluid temperatures and electronic functions. The navigation system, on the other hand is located on the co-driver's side.
“The all-new MINI John Cooper Works Rally is obviously great; is completely different to the predecessor model we built upon and developed; it’s a car based on thorough development as well in the wind tunnel. We have achieved better aerodynamics from this and, along with other new features; we have improved performance from this car,” said Sebastien Mackensen, senior vice president of Mini.
The 2017 Dakar Rally will take place across three countries: Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.