The annual Dakar Rally is an endurance spectacle of man and machine and takes place once again on the challenging terrain of South America, 2-14th January 2017.
The 2017 Dakar Rally route will take in 3 countries (Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina) covering a distance of approximately 9000 km, of which more than 4000 km will be special stages. A longer duration at altitude has been planned for the 2017 Dakar, along with the usual assortment of strength-sapping desert-like heat, unforgiving dunes, rocky ravines and river beds. Add to this new navigation rules and the 2017 Dakar promises to be a racing spectacle of some note.
The 2017 Dakar Rally will also see the race debut of the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally; a car built to win from experience gained with 4 successive Dakar Rally wins (2012-2015), and four FIA World cup titles.
Based on the all-new Countryman, the new John Cooper Works Rally car is developed in conjunction with Mini’s motorsport partner X-raid. The new 2017 JCW Rally had some areas totally reworked including the aerodynamics, the thermal management, the weight distribution, a lowered centre of gravity, a modified chassis frame design and new engine mapping.
MINI claims that their new Dakar contender delivers better performance with lower fuel consumption thanks to their revisions. It is powered by BMW Group TwinPower Turbo 6-Cylinder Diesel engine that produces 340hp at 3,250rpm and 800Nm of peak torque at 1,850rpm with the mandatory 38mm air restrictor in place. The whole engine sits in a removable subframe which enables engine removal in just over one hour.
A 6-speed SADEV sequential gearbox sends the power to all 4 wheels, with the driveline featuring lockable, oil-cooled Xtrac front and rear diffs and the central one coming from SADEV as well. The exhaust comes from Akrapovic and MINI says that their new 1,952kg JCW Rally is able to reach a 184km/h top speed.
The suspension was built by specialists Reiger Racing, with each wheel riding on 4 fully adjustable shock absorbers and springs, providing a 250mm wheel travel. 6-piston calipers all-around and 320mm vented steel discs provide the necessary braking, with the rear calipers being air- and water-cooled.
The outer shell is made out of carbon fibre and Kevlar, while a honeycomb mix of the same materials is being used for the underside of the main body. The front hood was lowered for better visibility, with the overall design replicates the new MINI Countryman.
MINI will enter the race with 7 cars in total with selected international crews, including ex-WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen, Michel Périn and Yazeed Al-Rajhi.