German Dakar Rally entrant X-raid has revealed its new team member for the 2018 Dakar, a rear-drive Mini JCW buggy.
The buggy is powered by the same 250kW/800Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel straight six as the already competing Mini JCW rally car, though power is directed to all four wheels in the rally car.
The engine is based on a BMW production engine, as is the drivetrain and turbocharging technology.
The chassis and body, however, are specially designed for the harsh conditions Dakar will put the vehicles through.
To ensure the driver is protected in an emergency, a tubular steel fram surrounds the ‘cabin’, while the body is made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), and Kevlar is stretched over the frame.
The CFRP ensures a low weight and allows the JCW Buggy to remain easy to control on even the sandiest of surfaces.
X-raid team manager Sven Quandt says the buggy has already undergone terrain testing in Hungary and Morocco, and has impressed so far.
“During this time the buggy never had to stop once due to a technical problem, which is really quite remarkable”, says Quandt.
“This has been the biggest project in our company’s history so far and we have worked extremely hard at it.
“Despite all the euphoria, we must definitely not forget the Mini John Cooper Works Rally.
“There are tracks and types of terrain where an all-wheel drive has advantages. What is more, our car is extremely reliable.”
X-raid has confirmed former WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen will pilot one of the new Mini JCW Dakar buggies.
Dakar kicks off on the 6th of January, and ends on the 20th.