Early next year the Dakar Rally is going to celebrate its fortieth anniversary once competitors start the adventure on January 6 in Lima – and Mini aims to make the most out of this edition.
Mini, along its partner, the German X-Raid team are again joining forces to try and conquer the world’s most famous and arguably tough long-distance rally, this time arriving with an entire lineup of racers. The British brand is aiming to double its chances for victory for the 2018 edition, because it’s bringing along for the Dakar two types of vehicles. Mini already has a history with the Dakar – four victories during the 2012 to 2015 period and three cars in the top ten last year – and it’s going to bring a traditional entry in the form of the John Cooper Works Rally car.
It arrives with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder diesel engine with 340 horsepower (250 kilowatts) – an evolution of the 2017 model, it now features a new chassis for increased suspension travel, along with numerous weight saving measures. Now the interesting addition to the roster is the John Cooper Works Buggy, which has the same powerplant but only directs power to the rear wheels. The decision to field two different models was taken because wo-wheel driven vehicles gain certain perks thanks to the rules of the rally. The buggy comes with a unique tubular steel frame, a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) and Kevlar body and has optimized aerodynamics for the body.