Mini Running Dakar with AWD Rally and RWD Buggy Models ""

By | November 21, 2017

2018 Works Rallye Dakar Mini Cooper

Mini may have started life as a tiny front-wheel-drive car in 1959, but that doesn’t prevent parent company BMW from altering that basic concept when it comes to racing. And racing is dear to Mini, especially the Dakar rally, which it won four times in a row from 2012 to 2015 and where it placed with three cars within the top 10 in 2017. Next year, Mini will race the John Cooper Works Rally with all-wheel drive—and a new entry, the rear-wheel-drive John Cooper Works Buggy.

Because of regulations that now favor two-wheel-drive racers, Mini decided to complement the well-proven Rally model with the entirely different Buggy. With a carbon-fiber body built atop a steel frame, the design is funky and aggressive, somewhat reminiscent of the 1997 Mini Monte Carlo Rallye Concept. Meanwhile, the Rally model, which sports a body that evokes the current Mini Countryman, features an upgraded chassis with longer spring travel and reduced weight.

2018 Works Rallye Dakar Mini Cooper Buggy

Both the Rally and the Buggy racers are powered by the same turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six. It’s rated at 335 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. The Mini X-Raid team will run three Buggy models, driven by Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Mikko Hirvonen, and Bryce Menzies; the four Rally entrants are piloted by Boris Garafulic, Jakub Przygoński, Joan “Nani” Roma, and Orlando Terranova.

Scoring high at this year’s Dakar rally is particularly meaningful as it is the 40th edition—and the 10th after it moved from Africa to South America due to concerns about security in Africa. The legendary rally begins on January 6, 2018, in Lima, Peru, and will continue through Bolivia to its finish on January 20 in Córdoba, Argentina. It is the world’s most famous and probably most dangerous off-road endurance race, by some accounts having claimed as many as 70 lives since its inception.

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