The fastest vehicles may belong to the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and so on, but that doesn’t mean that the not-so-fast vehicles out in the world can’t strap on their racing gear and hit the track. X-Raid Team has one of those less than speedy vehicles with the new MINI All4 Racing. This Countryman has its sights set on the 33rd Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile in January with the French rally crew of Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Michel Périn at the wheel for the race. The event starts in Buenos Aires on New Year’s Day and finishes in the Argentine capital on Sunday, January 16th, 2011. X-Raid have only begun the build for the All4 Racing just last month so it will leave minimal time for the completion and testing to be completed before that time.
The new Mini All4 Racing will replace the current BMW X3 CC, but will be powered by the BMW’s variable twin-turbo diesel engine that will deliver 315 HP and 710Nm of torque.
"This is a major development in cross-country rallying and something of which we are very excited," admitted Quandt. "There has been a very short time between the decision to go ahead and the roll out for the next Dakar, but we are confident that the new Mini All4 Racing will be competitive out of the box. Compared to the BMW X3CC, the MINI will be characterized by improved handling as the overall length is shorter and it is lower. We have also been able to improve on many other smaller details, such as the relocation of smaller components to lower the center of gravity."
UPDATE 12/23/10: The MINI Dakar All4 is scheduled to make its dirt-kicking debut at the Rally Dakar in Argentina on the first day of 2011 so you can expect that everybody involved in the team is working extra hard fine-tuning the rally car’s few remaining kinks in time for its debut in a couple of weeks. In this video, the MINI Dakar All4 undergoes some last-minute test runs before making its eagerly anticipated debut. From what we saw, it looks like the vehicle is just about ready to get its tires dirty in Argentina. Check it out after the jump.
The X-raid Team unveiled an exciting new cross-country motor sport
programme to run and develop the MINI All4 Racing in international competition.
The project was first discussed in the summer of 2009 and the competitive debut of the new MINI All4 Racing will be in the hands of the French rally crew of Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Michel Périn in January’s 33rd Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile. The event starts in Buenos Aires on New Year’s Day and finishes in the Argentine capital on Sunday, January 16th, 2011.
The new MINI All4 Racing will form part of X-raid’s seven-car Dakar team – the largest ever entered by a team in the 33-year history of the world’s most famous off-road rally – and the third of three vehicles running on the event under the Monster Energy X-raid Team banner.
X-raid team director Sven Quandt began looking at the feasibility
of the project in 2009 and held initial discussions with automotive engineering and manufacturing company Magna Steyr and BMW to see whether the new model was a realistic replacement for the BMW/MINI X3 CC - which has earned the Trebur-based team three successive FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rally titles since 2008.
Quandt received the green light for the new project from BMW in
June 2010 and Magna Steyr gave their full approval on September 24th. Initial plans for the new project were discussed at length throughout October in Graz, Austria.
The MINI Design team and Magna have managed the design of the vehicle. Quandt and engineer Martin Ertl, a former X-raid staff engineer who also manages a Formula 3 racing team, have overseen the new project on behalf of X-raid. Construction of the new MINI All4 Racing cross-country rally car began in November and has continued into December. The car will be put through a first series of tests in France on December 13/14th. It will then be transported by airfreight to South America for final preparations for scrutineering in Buenos Aires at the end of the month.
The MINI will be powered by variable twin-turbo diesel engine that is fitted to the 2011-specification BMW X3 CC and built in Steyr the same place as the MINI and BMW diesel engines are made. The power unit delivers in the region of 315hp and 710Nm of torque. This is an increase compared to the output of the 2010-specification BMW X3 CCs used on the Dakar Rally to seal fourth and fifth places last January.
“This is a major development in cross-country rallying and something of which we are very excited,” admitted Quandt. “There has been a very short time between the decision to go ahead and the roll out for the next Dakar, but we are confident that the new MINI All4 Racing will be competitive out of the ‘box.