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Mini John Cooper Works Rally revealed

The Mini John Cooper Works has been revealed with the company stating it will race the JCW Rally at the 2017 Dakar Rally.

MINI IS CALLING its JCW Rally its next big thing in motorsports, and it might be right. This off-road oriented Mini will take on the 2017 Dakar Rally… At the reveal of the JCW Rally, Mini said the introduction of the car “underlines MINI Motorsport’s long-term commitment to its involvement in motorsport especially in the arena of rally-raid and the FIA World Cup, the legendary Dakar Rally and the latest long-distance endurance challenge of the Silk Way Rally”.

Mini John Cooper Works Rally

Talking about the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally, Sebastian Mackensen, Senior Vice President MINI, said: “MINI and X-raid is a legendary partnership. Together we have shaped today’s rich sporting heritage of this famous British brand with the four victories in a row at the Dakar and of the FIA Cross Country World Cup from 2012 to 2015 and we wish to continue in the same direction and prove the authentic racing competence of John Cooper Works. With the realisation of the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally, MINI is perfectly placed to extend its sporting achievements.”

“Introducing the famed MINI John Cooper Works sub-brand within the exciting arenas of rally raid, cross-county rally and the endurance challenges of the Dakar Rally and Silk Way Rally seals MINI’s commitment to this spectacular and compelling motorsport. This racing spirit will always be a part of MINI’s genes and products.

“The competitive debut of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally at the 2017 Dakar Rally is a tough debut indeed. The Dakar Rally is the epitome of long-distance rally, where the competitive stress placed on man and machine is like no other but perfectly represents the sporting spirit of MINI Motorsport and the John Cooper Works sub-brand.”

Mini John Cooper Works Rally

Based on the all-new MINI Countryman, the JCW Rally was pulled apart and rebuilt with attention paid to: Aerodynamics; Thermal management; Weight distribution; Lower centre of gravity; Modified chassis frame design; and New engine mapping.

The exterior of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally borrows from the MINI Countryman and it’s on the outside that the most noticeable changes took place. That said, this car is 1:1 the same in its overall dimensions to the old Mini rally car. However, with this car a wind tunnel was used to tweak bits of the body and cooling scoops to improve aerodynamic efficiency.

Mini John Cooper Works Rally

For instance, composite bodywork, including carbon-fibre and Kevlar is used for the outer shell, while a honeycomb mix of the same materials is used for an underside tier. “The use of such materials is threefold: 1) strength and durability – ideal for additional safety protection of the two-man crew 2) reduced weight with greater strength, and 3) panels are easily removed or replaced during servicing periods or if damaged”. On the underside are stashed three spare tyre/wheel positions and two hydraulic jacks which are operated from inside the cabin.

The chassis itself has been replaced with a tubular frame, designed specifically for rough-road racing by CP Autosport. The chassis and subframe has been designed in a way that allows the engine to be removed in just over one hour.

Mini John Cooper Works Rally

Suspension was built by Reiger Racing Suspension. “Each axle rides on four fully adjustable suspension units (two per wheel) providing the permissible 250mm wheel travel. Six-piston calipers all-round act on 320mm vented steel discs. To ensure consistent braking performance while under the stress of racing conditions for hours on end in high ambient temperatures, the rear brake calipers are air and water-cooled”.

Shoehorned under the bonnet is a six-cylinder turbo-diesel which makes up to 800Nm of torque at 1850rpm (it runs a 385 litre fuel tank). The driveline features an AP Racing clutch combined with a six-speed SADEV sequential gearbox. Lockable, oil-cooled Xtrac front and rear diffs with a central SADEV unit.

Question: Is this sort of rough-road endurance racing more exciting than tarmac-based endurance racing?

Mini John Cooper Works Rally


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober