LISTEN 10:46

Citroen Racing has used their FIA expertise, as well as the new Group R3T regulations drawn up by the FIA, to create the Citroen DS3 R3. The DS3 R3 will feature a steel body shell reinforced with a welded multipoint roll cage created with the use of 45 meters of steel piping. The weight has been reduced by taking out the supports used in the production model with the battery and the automatic fire extinguisher being moved behind the seats to distribute weight more efficiently.

The DS3 R3 is powered by a four-cylinder 1.6-liter THP (high pressure turbo) engine improved with racing parts (air box, camshaft, pistons, connecting rods, exhaust and turbo systems, electronic unit, etc.). It is mated to a six speed gearbox featuring a semiautomatic sequential control. It also carries with it a specially tuned chassis and suspension. The result is an output of 210bhp and 350 NM of torque.

The Citroen DS3 R3 will be sold as a kit and in ready-to-race versions.

UPDATE 08/17/2010: The Citroen DS3 R3 will make its debut at Ulster Rally in the early afternoon of Friday, August 20th. This will be the first time that the DS3 goes head to head with its rivals, before being offered for sale to customers. Make sure to check back with us on August 20th to see the latest details on the DS3 R3!

Press release after the jump.

Press release

In addition to its official participation in WRC, where it has won five FIA World Championship Constructors’ titles, Citroën Racing has always offered products designed for customers. The French manufacturer has now furthered this rich tradition by designing Citroën DS3 R3, which is set to make its rallying debut at the end of 2010. Versatile, high performance and yet affordably-priced, DS3 R3 aims to become the new leader in its category.

Based on the new Group R3T regulations drawn up by the FIA, DS3 R3 features the same structural design and appearance as the production model. The production steel body shell has been reinforced with a welded, multi-point roll cage, improving the resilience of the chassis and safety for the driver pairing.

The bonnet conceals a four-cylinder 1.6-litre THP (high pressure turbo) engine, which has been developed using the PSA production engine. Specific racing parts (air box, camshaft, pistons, connecting rods, exhaust and turbo systems, electronic unit, etc.) have been deployed to boost the car’s power to a healthy 210bhp. In addition to its pure power, special attention has been given to increasing the engine’s torque to improve traction, one of the key factors in delivering efficient driving performance. With 350Nm, the DS3 R3 engine offers unrivalled flexibility on the road. 

DS3 R3 has benefitted from the extensive expertise acquired by Citroën Racing through its involvement in the World Rally Championship. As with C4 WRC, the six-speed gearbox features semiautomatic sequential control. This device enables gear changes to be made twice as quickly as with a manual gearbox, whilst also improving the reliability of the car’s powertrain. 

The suspension system uses the very latest technologies and has been designed to be used on all road surfaces, from rough gravel to smooth tarmac. A wide variety of setup options are available, allowing DS3 R3 to be adapted to all driving styles. Citroën Racing recommends the use of BFGoodrich tyres.

Built using production-derived components and specific racing parts, DS3 R3 is available at an affordable price. DS3 R3 is marketed by Citroën Racing in kit and ready-to-race versions.


Citroën Racing has deployed its extensive expertise in passive safety and chassis rigidity on DS3 R3. The standard monocoque chassis is lighter because it does not have the supports used on the production model. It has been re-welded and fitted with a multipoint roll cage made of over 45 metres of steel tubing. The industrially designed roll cage is preassembled outside the car, which means the welding is of a higher quality. Various details of the chassis design, such as the harness cross-member and the door crossbars, help to improve safety for the driver pairing. The monocoque chassis is delivered with all the brackets and mountings required to assemble the car, which reduces the construction time and cost. In order to improve weight distribution, the battery and automatic fire extinguisher are positioned behind the seats. A steel skidplate protects the underside of the engine and also helps to lower the car’s centre of gravity. The flexible, FIA-homologated fuel tank remains in its original position.

DS3 R3’s efficiency on all road surfaces stems from the quality of its suspension system, designed to make full use of the group R regulations. At the front, the production sub-frame has been altered so that tubular wishbones can be fitted. The axle is both lighter and stronger than on the production model. Developed in conjunction with BOS, the shock absorbers boast several innovative features:

  • The aluminium struts are lubricated in an oil bath, which improves the consistency and lifespan of the suspension.
  • The lower, frontally-offset anchor point helps increase the travel and the guiding length of the shock absorber.

In order to adapt its road handling to all driving styles, DS3 R3 offers a variety of setup options: threetrack shock absorbers (low- and high-speed compression and rebound, adjustable hydraulic bump stop), camber and toe (front and rear), track width and castor (front).

At the rear, the production cross-member has been reinforced and altered to make it easier to fit the anti-roll bar. The removable rear wheel hubs allow the camber and toe settings to be adjusted independently.

The braking system features a ‘pedal box’ assembly with two master cylinders. The discs are held in place by four-calliper pistons at the front and two-calliper pistons at the rear. The handbrake is hydraulic.


For the first time ever, Citroën Racing has produced a customer-racing product fitted with a turbocharged engine. The experience acquired by the brand in WRC for almost ten years has been put to good use in its design. The 1.6-litre THP (high pressure turbo) engine is very closely related to the production model used throughout the PSA group. Fitted with a regulation-compliant 29mm turbo flange, it develops 210bhp of power and generates a torque of 350Nm (with commercially available fuel). This second value improves traction and delivers excellent versatility at all engine speeds.

In accordance with the regulations, many parts have been taken or derived from the production model.

For example, the intake and exhaust manifolds, turbocharger, injectors and injection pumps are identical to those used on production models. The air filter, camshaft, pistons, connecting rods and engine flywheel are, however, specific racing parts. To avoid oil surges during long corners and to increase ground clearance, the oil sump has been altered and fitted with a composite partition. The exhaust and turbocharger system is also specific; the catalytic converter is similar to the one used on C4 WRC.

DS3 R3’s engine ECU includes a data acquisition system that is able to check a large number of parameters.


One of the main innovations on DS3 R3 concerns its gearbox. For the first time, a customer-racing product has been fitted with a semi-automatic gearbox, which reduces the time spent changing gears and increases reliability. The electronic management system only authorizes gear changes when the engine parameters allow it. Once again, the expertise developed by Citroën Racing in WRC enabled this cutting-edge technology to be adapted to DS3 R3.

Inside the cabin, the composite fibre steering wheel-mounted paddles are just as ergonomic as on C4 WRC: the driver flicks the paddle backwards to move up the gears and flicks it forwards to move down the gears. The clutch pedal is still present, but is only used to drive off. During subsequent gear changes, the clutch is automatically controlled.

Under the bonnet, the specific elements of the semiautomatic control (solenoid valves, actuators and pressure unit) have all been taken from the production model and adapted to the six-speed gearbox. The housing for the twin-disc clutch has been cast in aluminium, whilst the gearing casing has been cut from the block.


After twelve months spent in Citroën Racing’s design office, DS3 R3 made its first outing at the end of August 2009. To check the sturdiness of the various components, initial testing was carried out on ‘rough gravel’ test tracks, typical of the road surfaces seen in Mediterranean rallies. Development testing continued on tarmac, the ideal surface to test performance, and on flowing gravel roads. In total, DS3 R3 covered over 10,000kms in development testing, split evenly among the different types of road surfaces.

Several drivers took part in the tests. They all had varying levels of experience, different preferences and driving styles, which meant that the engineers could accumulate data that will benefit future DS3 R3 owners. All of the drivers agreed that the car was easy to drive and highlighted three strengths: the torque of the 1.6-litre engine, the semiautomatic gearbox and the suspension. DS3 R3 offers impressive performance levels and looks set to become the new leader in its category in rally.


Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

Watch How Some Rallycross Racercars Bully A Lamborghini Aventador SV on a Drag Strip!

What do you think?
Show Comments


  (273) posted on 05.12.2011

Always don’t take the consumer’s complaint seriously. They will keep on complaining until you give what they really wanted. On this scenario, its better to conduct a survey because you proceed on your next production.

  (444) posted on 01.9.2011

You just cant help but love the quirkiness. I would really like one, but would be killed by the resale.

  (427) posted on 01.9.2011

This has to be one of the best hot hatches around today. You can say a lot of things about the French, but one this is certain – you can always rely on them to create the world’s best hot hatches.

  (858) posted on 12.7.2010

I’m probably a minority here, but I think that’s an attractive little racer. Should be neat seeing them fly through the woods, if, ya know, folks here in the US cared about real rallying (X-Games doesn’t count in my book).

  (858) posted on 12.7.2010

what good are 335 horses when the car is in the shop the whole time? if you want reliable performance cars there’s really only lexus or infiniti.

  (534) posted on 11.15.2010

And it certainly has a character to it. Not bad. But not quite what I was expecting.

  (570) posted on 11.8.2010

I wonder what the interior looks like. And will this have a new generation of hydro pneumatic suspension?

  (858) posted on 11.5.2010

by the the time he retires he’ll be on 1 on all of them ...he’s runner up only to Carlos Sainz and with way lesser starts

  (216) posted on 10.11.2010

Too bad we will not see it here. It would have been nice to have a variety of good-looking small cars that don’t scream "I am a result of cost cutting".

  (309) posted on 10.6.2010

A DS should never be so bland looking you need to read the badges to tell what it is. Doesn’t have to be retro, just distinctive, though I do think having the rear wheels so exposed is sacrilegious.

  (676) posted on 09.24.2010

I do, too. People keep complaining that the cars run in racing series’ aren’t anything close to what is available to consumers...well, here you go.

  (329) posted on 08.4.2010

It’s for cooling the driver because the cars don’t come equipped with AC. Most Rally cars come equipped with roof scoops. Even street legal rally cars like the WRX spec c ra-r came with roof scoops (although not as funky as this one.)

  (555) posted on 07.6.2010

nasty little car.I bet suzuki swift will get jealous with this baby.

  (648) posted on 07.5.2010

I think it looks good for the most part, and definitely appeals to people interested in hot hatches like I am.

Car Finder: