MINI to Compete in 2019 Dakar Rally with MINI John Cooper Works Buggy
MINI will once again compete at this year’s staging of the Dakar Rally. Only this time, instead of just fielding the MINI Countryman-based 4WD MINI John Cooper Works Rally, it will also run the 2WD MINI John Cooper Works Buggy.
Developed alongside the MINI Rally by rally-racing outfit and MINI’s long-time Dakar Rally collaborator X-raid, the MINI Buggy was built to take advantage of regulations that seek to bolster 2WD competition in the famed annual rally race.
Like the MINI Rally, the MINI Buggy makes use of carbon-fiber and kevlar body panels as weight-saving measures, limiting its heft to just 1,700 kg when empty. Unlike the Rally though which has a design that still bears a passing resemblance to the road-going MINI Countryman, the Buggy has a unique aesthetic. Yet despite its aggressive look that’s highlighted by the high fenders and a plethora of underbody cladding for protection, the Buggy is still very much a MINI.
“The final looks of the vehicle were created in cooperation with Mini Design,” shared X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt.
To power the MINI Buggy over the sand dunes of Peru, it uses the same 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder diesel engine used by the BMW X5 M50d but modified to meet the demands of the grueling race. With an output of 350 hp and 770 Nm of torque, power is directed to the rear wheels via an Xtrac six-speed with integrated differential.
MINI will be running three Buggies at the 2019 Dakar Rally, with driving duties being given to two-time World Rally Champion and two-time Dakar Rally winner Carlos Sainz, 13-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel, and five-time Dakar Rally winner Cyril Despres.