MINI Dakar Rally Team

MINI 2014 RALLY DAKAR PRESS KIT.

01 – Introduction: Senior Vice President MINI Jochen Goller.

From 5th to 18th January 2014, MINI will line up with the MINI ALL4 Racing at the Rally Dakar. In 2012 and 2013 MINI was the car to beat at the toughest marathon rally in the world. Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel won the last two editions of the Dakar at the wheel of a MINI ALL4 Racing run by the Trebur-based X-raid Team (DE).

"The 2012 Dakar victory of the MINI ALL4 Racing certainly came as a surprise to many, " says Jochen Goller, Senior Vice President MINI. "But its title defense in 2013 proved that the initial victory was no coincidence. The 2014 Dakar will be another great challenge which the MINI brand gladly accepts." In 2014, Peterhansel is out to complete a hat-trick of titles for MINI and the X-raid Team.

"Ever since its invention has the MINI been intrinsically associated with motorsport and rallying thanks to several victories in the prestigious Montecarlo Rally,” Goller says. Excitement and energy have always been core values of the MINI brand. These values fit with those involved in motorsports and are consistent with the image of the Dakar.”

The 36th Rally Dakar is already seen as the toughest since the event moved from Africa to the South American continent in 2009. This time around, the competitors must master a route of over 9,000 kilometres. "The X-raid Team has prepared meticulously for what is undoubtedly a major challenge for both man and machine”, says Goller. "With the MINI ALL4 Racing the team employs a vehicle that has successfully shown its character in international long-distance events. Reliability, endurance and agility are the character traits of the MINI ALL4 Racing. Character traits that are required to be successful when competing in the Rally Dakar."
 

02 – 2014 Rally Dakar – The Next Challenge for MINI.

"A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.” Frenchman Thierry Sabine’s quote is a well-established classic in motorsport circles. It is difficult to find a better way to sum up the fascination of what is probably the most famous rally on the international motorsport calendar than the words of the founder of the iconic Rally Dakar himself.

Ever since 1979, courageous competitors have been returning year after year in cars and trucks, as well as on bikes and quads, to pit themselves against the enormous challenges of the Rally Dakar. Predominantly held in Africa until 2008, the Dakar moved to South America in 2009 as a result of the unstable political situation on the African continent. A new continent, and a new challenge. However, the Dakar has lost none of its original appeal.

MINI first took on the immense challenges for man and machine at the toughest marathon rally in the world in 2011. "For the MINI Brand, competing in the Rally Dakar has already become a classic because overcoming major challenges lies in the genes of the MINI,” says Jochen Goller, Senior Vice President MINI. Back in the late 1950s, British engineer John Cooper (GB) was the first who dreamt of converting a small, economic car into a multiple winner of the renowned Rally Monte Carlo (MC). He threw himself into the challenge and, shortly after, his Mini won the classic rally three times, immediately establishing itself as an icon for fans all over the world. Says Goller: "Small against large, David versus Goliath, achieving the seemingly impossible: this is the challenge the people at MINI just love to take on, time and time again. And the success achieved has been nothing short of impressive throughout the years.”

In 2011, the MINI ALL4 Racing made its debut at the legendary Rally Dakar. "Entering a compact off-road vehicle in an endurance race held under the toughest possible conditions, that was the challenge we wanted to master,” says Goller. Based on the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, the MINI ALL4 Racing immediately proved it was competitive at the Dakar. Just one year later, five MINI ALL4 Racing lined up at the Dakar. With a combination of power, reliability, efficiency and technical precision, as well as the most successful Dakar competitor of all time behind the wheel, the MINI brand made the big breakthrough on only its second appearance: the MINI ALL4 Racing and Stéphane Peterhansel (FR) won the 2012 Rally Dakar. "Challenge accepted, challenge overcome. A classic MINI story,” Goller says.

Even before it headed to the next Dakar, the MINI ALL4 Racing had already proven that the 2012 success was no fluke. En route to the desert classic, the MINI ALL4 Racing faced the ever-changing challenges of an entire season in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, and at the end of 2012 was rewarded with the overall title. The trials and tribulations of up to seven endurance rallies in different countries and on varied terrain also proved ideal preparation for the 2013 Rally Dakar.

MINI made its third appearance on the Dakar stage in January 2013 – once again with five MINI ALL4 Racing – and successfully defended its title at the first attempt. "The second Dakar victory was another proof of the sustainability of the values embodied in the MINI ALL4 Racing: power, reliability and efficiency,” says Goller. Once again it was Stéphane Peterhansel who lived up to his nickname of "Mister Dakar” with his eleventh Dakar victory it total, and his second in the MINI ALL4 Racing. Even before he lined up at the Dakar in a MINI for the first time, the car had already won Peterhansel over: "MINI is ready to win the Dakar.” And he was spot on with his prediction, as proven emphatically by back-to-back Dakar titles.

"The toughest Dakar is always the next one,” is the mentality in the bivouac. As if to confirm this belief, the 36th Rally Dakar – from 5th to 18th January 2014 – is a mean test for all involved. The cars must complete a 9,374-kilometre loop through the South American continent. The 2014 route also features a whole 1,367 kilometres more against the clock than in 2013. "The route is not only longer, but also more difficult and tougher,” says Peterhansel. The Frenchman believes this is an attempt on the part of the organisers to rediscover some of the character of the Dakar from its time in Africa. Peterhansel still has high hopes of adding another victory to his collection, but warns: "It will not be easy.”

"The Rally Dakar is and always will be a challenge,” says Goller. "A challenge that MINI, in keeping with its long tradition in motorsport, is only too happy to face again.”In 2014 with a record eleven MINI ALL4 Racings in the field.
 

03 – MINI ALL4 Racing – Technology.

With victories at the 2012 and 2013 Rally Dakar the history of the MINI ALL4 Racing is a unique success story. Ever since its roll-out, the MINI ALL4 Racing has been the epitome of pure power, absolute reliability and technical precision.

The technology behind the MINI ALL4 Racing in detail:
 

Body.

The chassis of the MINI ALL4 Racing is perfectly designed for rallying in extreme conditions. In total, the MINI ALL4 Racing is about five per cent larger than the production version of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman. The overwhelming majority of the body is made of carbon fibre. The roll cage’s integrated steel pipes meet aircraft industry standards (as do all the steel parts). Parts of the roll cage are bonded to the monocoque. The enclosed passenger cell is the only component of the car that cannot be taken apart, while all the remaining parts on the MINI ALL4 Racing can be dismantled separately into other individual parts.
 

Undercarriage/Transmission.

The MINI ALL4 Racing is equipped with a Sadev six-speed, sequential gearbox with six forward gears and one reverse gear. When starting the car moving, the gears are shifted using the AP Racing clutch. Once the car is in motion, it is possible to change gear without using the clutch. As on the production car, the gear lever is located between the driver and the co-driver. The gears are not arranged in the conventional H pattern, however. The gear lever is simply moved backwards to move up a gear and forwards to move down a gear. The clutch is a multi-plate, sintered metal clutch, in order to be able to transmit the large amount of torque from the engine. The MINI ALL4 Racing is also equipped with lockable oil-cooled Xtrac front, middle and rear axle differentials.
 

Engine.

The diesel engine that powers the MINI ALL4 Racing was designed by BMW Motoren GmbH in Steyr, Austria, to be used in endurance races under the toughest conditions. The TwinPower turbo engine with a capacity of 2993 cubic centimetres generates over 300hp at 3250 revs per minute. This allows the MINI ALL4 Racing to hit a top speed of 185 km/h. The diameter of the air restrictor is 38 mm. The engine is also equipped with a dry sump lubrication in order to limit the overall height and guarantee optimal lubrication under extreme conditions. The wiring was reduced to the bare minimum in order to further reduce the weight of the car.
 

Tyres/Brakes.

The MINI ALL4 Racing is equipped with Michelin All-Terrain tires in size 245/80R 16. In addition to the four tires mounted on the vehicle, up to three spare tires are also located in the rear of the MINI ALL4Racing. The inner-vented, steel disc brakes (320 millimetres by 32 millimetres) are air-cooled on the front axle and water and air-cooled on the rear axle (six pistons each). The shock absorbers (four on each axle) are fully adjustable. An adjustable roll valve can be used to change the car’s roll. The damper oil is cooled via an external reservoir, which allows a more continuous dampening and a longer damper life cycle.
 

Cockpit.

The cockpit of the MINI ALL4 Racing provides the drivers with a lot of space. Both driver and co-driver sit in specially formed Recaro Motorsport seats and are secured by six-point harnesses. The HANS (Head and Neck Support) safety system is also used. The dashboard in the cockpit is made of carbon fibre and consists of three parts: a driver dashboard, a centre dashboard, and a co-driver dashboard. The information displayed there is reduced to the bare minimum. The driver sees a gear display and a switch symbol, indicating that he needs to change gear. Central information, such as speed, oil pressure, temperatures and electronics information are displayed centrally, thus making them visible to both the driver and co-driver. This element can be removed and replaced within three minutes, thus optimizing servicing times should it stop working for any reason. The co-driver dashboard contains the navigational elements.
 

Aerodynamics.

An optimized airflow on the MINI ALL4 Racing is just as important at the Dakar as it is in any other forms of motorsport. The ventilation on the MINI ALL4 Racing takes place via the roof. This can be seen from above in the form of three holes in the rear area of the roof. Behind these is located a rounded spoiler, which guides warm air from the rear area of the car over the roof, thus producing extra downforce. Because the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, on which the MINI ALL4 Racing is based, already has a spoiler on the trailing edge of the roof, it was not necessary to reintegrate a rear spoiler for the MINI ALL4 Racing, but simply to modify the airflow to suit the demands of the Rally Dakar.