If you thought the Mini Countryman WRC was pretty cool, meet the lifted, more powerful younger brother, the Mini All4 Racing, built in only three months to tackle next year's grueling Dakar Rally.
The All4 Racing's life story reads like a racing team's worst nightmare: After petitioning BMW and Magna Steyr in 2009 for a possible racing machine, Team X-Raid got the German automaker's project approval in June of this year. Magna Steyr gave it the green light on September 24, 2010. Work immediately started shortly thereafter and a finalized car was completed early last month. Since then, the mighty Mini has been tested rigorously.
French racers Guerlain Chicherit and Michel Perin will pilot the car during the 9500 mile race traversing Argentina's and Chile's most treacherous terrain. The legendary Dakar Rally lasts 15 days (January 1-16, 2011) and starts and ends in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Numerous revisions have been made to the Mini chassis to handle the off-road abuse, including a lifted, beefier suspension (many of the car's components have been relocated to lower the center of gravity), full roll cage, knobby tires, carbon-kevlar body panels, and of course, a more powerful, twin-turbo diesel engine. The oil-burner makes around 315 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque.
After some final testing in France on December 13 and 14, X-Raid and Monster Energy will ship the car down south for pre-race preparations.
Though feverishly put together and tested, X-Raid is hoping its previous championship-winning pedigree and knowhow will prevail, allowing the Mini All4 Racing to be very competitive in the field.