Mini has revealed its new weapon for the 2018 Dakar Rally, the John Cooper Works Buggy. The all-new rally vehicle is developed in partnership with X-Raid.
The John Cooper Works Buggy is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle as opposed to the all-wheel-drive system of the Mini John Cooper Works Rally car.
Mini has opted for the rear-wheel-drive system due to some technical advantages. Primarily, the rear-wheel-drive system saves a lot of weight compared to the all-wheel-drive system and as per regulations, such cars are allowed to be equipped with larger wheels and higher ground clearance.
Similar to the JCW Rally, the Buggy draws power from the existing 3-litre inline six-cylinder diesel engine producing 335bhp and a massive 800Nm of torque. The gearbox, drivetrain and turbocharger have been developed from scratch.
The JCW Buggy is based on the tubular steel frame and the bodywork is made out of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and Kevlar. Apart from the Buggy, Mini will also be competing with the tested and proven JCW Rally car.
Mini and X-Raid have already performed rigorous testing of the Buggy in varying off-road terrains in Hungary and Morocco. Mini states that the Buggy is capable of winning the 2018 Dakar Rally, but at the same time believe that the JCW Rally is still capable of clinching the title.
The Mini and X-Raid will compete in the 2018 Dakar Rally with seven cars and a team of experienced drivers and co-drivers. The JCW Buggies will be driven by Mikko Hirvonen (Finland), Bryce Menzies (USA) and Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Saudi Arabia).
The JCW Rally cars will be piloted by Orlando Terranova (Argentina), Jakub Przygonski (Poland), Joan "Nani" Roma (Spain) and Boris Garafulic (Chile). The 2018 Dakar Rally will begin from January 6, 2018 and concludes on January 20, 2018.
For the very first time, Mini has opted for rear-wheel-drive rally buggy for Dakar Rally. The buggy has its advantages as compared to the JCW Rally car. Dakar Rally is one of the toughest motorsport events in the world and the buggies will be going through an ultimate test of endurance and speed.