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Starting in 2011, rules for WRC cars have changed to be more restrictive. Now the regulations are derived from the ones for S2000 cars, with a different engine and an aerodynamic kit. The cars are smaller models, with a 1600 cm3 direct injection turbo engine with a 33 mm diameter air restrictor and a maximum pressure of 2.5 bar absolute. Exotic materials (titanium, magnesium, ceramics and composite) are forbidden except when present in the base model. Carbon fibre and aramid fibre are very restricted, except for bodywork's side protections where multiple layers of aramid fibre are allowed...
Range Rover Evoque ’T3’ Dakar Rally Racer
The world famous Dakar Rally poses the kind of challenges that makes it difficult for just about any professional race driver. As if traveling over 9,000 km in a span of two weeks is tough enough, the fact that you’re going to need to do it in some of the world’s toughest conditions makes it as unforgiving as any race there is in the world.
One team that appears to be up to the challenge of the Dakar Rally is the British Excite Rally Raid Team, which will take part in the world’s ultimate endurance race with three customized Range Rover Evoques commissioned by RaBe Race Cars.
On the surface, the vehicle does look like the Evoque, but pretty much everything about the luxury SUV has been stripped down to accommodate for its run in Dakar, including a different kind of engine that was added to make it rally-spec.
Instead of the typical 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter Si4 turbocharged engine that you can find under the Evoque, these rally-tuned versions carry a BMW-sourced 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six diesel engine that produces 275 horsepower and 480 lb/ft of torque mated. These engines are mated to a ZF six-speed transmission and equipped with special BF Goodrich desert tires.
The RaBe-commissioned Evoque rally racers will be driven by three British drivers from the British Excite Rally Raid Team, consisting of Martin Rowe, Andrew Coley, and John Hardy.
Lotus Exige R-GT
Hiding behind the shadow of the bigger and better 2012 Lotus Exige S at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is Lotus’ brand new Exige R-GT. This new racer marks the brand’s return to the rally world, 30 years after their World Rally Championship victory in the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. The Exige R-GT will participate in the newly formed FIA GT category of the FIA Rally Championship on asphalt in Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, and San Remo.
The new Exige R-GT shares the new Exige S model’s mid-mounted, transverse 3.5 liter DOHC V6 VVI-i engine, but power has been brought down to 300 HP because of the 34mm air restrictor required for racing. The Exige R-GT will also have to pack on ballast weight to meet FIA requirements of 1200 kg (2645 lbs).
"With the new R-GT rules in rally, it’s a very interesting time for us to return to the sport. Naturally our approach this time around will be different to when we won the championship with Talbot three decades ago but I think our philosophy is definitely the same, we want to compete and ultimately we want to win. Our new rally car, the Exige R-GT is a dream come true for those who are passionate about GT racing – this will be their car," said Group Lotus’ Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro.
Ford Fiesta RS WRC HFHV
Over the years, Ken Block has treated us to a wide variety of high-octane racing action, having competed in plenty of racing disciplines that has earned him the title as one of the most versatile racers in the world today.
Having had experience with the WRC, Rallycross, and Gymkhana, Block has likewise driven plenty of race cars, each unique to its own depending on the where he is racing at a particular time.
But all that’s about to change with the introduction of the new Ford Fiesta RS WRC HFHV. If you don’t know, ’HFHV’ stands for ’Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle’, which pretty much explains what the car is all about. It’s a modified Ford Fiesta that has been tweaked and reconfigured in such a way that it fits right in on all three racing items Block competes in.
At the heart of this versatile machine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine that produces 600 horsepower and 665 lb/ft of torque mated to a six-speed sequential manual gearbox. Anytime Block and his team need to change the specs of the car, they only need to add and subtract a few elements of the car.
Honda Insight Hybrid Rally Car by Oaktec
Since time immemorial, we always thought that the whole point of auto racing was to determine which of the competing cars is the fastest among the lot. That simple premise has been set in stone since the olden days so we figure that it wouldn’t change anytime soon. But banning a car from competition because its "too fast" against its competitors? That doesn’t sit too well with us.
The car we’re talking about is the Oaktec Honda Insight Hybrid Rally Car, a gas-electric eco sports car that competes - or was supposed to compete - in the Formula 1000 rally championship. The only problem was that its rivals lodged a complaint for its withdrawal because the car was too fast for them.
Turns out, the problem stems from its tuned gas-electric hybrid system, which easily achieves 100 mph when driven at cruise control and its unique Bosch-sourced CVT automatic transmission. Furthermore, the system allows the car to compete while running at 82 mph, a staggering number considering that the second best car returns only 65 mph.
Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Volkswagen will finally be entering the World Rally Championship and have prepared a new Polo R WRC Concept to help prepare the onslaught of fans ready to see the company in action. This new model will preview the production model that will be used in competition from 2013 and on.
"Almost exactly two years ago, in May 2009, the most recent model of the Polo was presented here in Sardinia. Today we are proud to show you the hottest Polo of all time – the Polo R WRC," said Luca de Meo, Head of Marketing of Volkswagen AG.
Volkswagen will take the experience of their three consecutive victories at the Dakar Rally and use it to formulate a vehicle especially for the WRC rally. The car set to compete in the WRC will be a near-300-hp rally vehicle with a 1.6-liter TSI engine and four-wheel drive based on the Polo.
"The new Technical Regulations of the World Rally Championship are an ideal fit for Volkswagen’s philosophy with respect to the development of production vehicles," says Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Management Board of the Volkswagen Brand, Development Division. "Downsizing, high efficiency and reliability are top priorities for our customers. The timing of the WRC debut is optimal for Volkswagen. The big task of engineering a vehicle that is competitive and capable of winning at a large number of challenges holds great appeal for us."
Dodge Avenger Rally Car by Mopar
Dodge, in cooperation with Magneti Marelli, has revealed the new Avenger rally car. The model will make its first public appearance at the New York International Auto Show on April 22–May 1, 2011.
"Our Dodge Avenger Rally car showcases Mopar’s new relationship with Magneti Marelli," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. "Our companies worked closely together to bring this vehicle to life in a joint build that utilizes proven, quality-tested performance parts and accessories from Mopar and Magneti Marelli. We will gauge reaction to this vehicle and determine which parts will go into production."
The new Avenger rally car is based on a stock 2011 Dodge Avenger Heat, but its weight has been reduced by about 200 lbs. The interior has been updated to coincide with rally requirements. It features a full 8-point Mopar roll cage, race seats with 5-point racing harnesses, a steering wheel and diamond-plate foot well from OMP, a purpose-built center stack and console with a compact high-performance 1 GB data logger and an integrated GPS, and inertial platform with real-time calculation of pitch and roll angles.
Power for the Avenger Rally will come from a new Dodge Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine that delivers 300 HP. This engine is combined with a new exhaust system, a Mopar cold-air intake, and a high-performance Mopar/Magneti Marelli braking system.
Infiniti G37 S Coupe Rally Safety Car
How odd would it be for rally fans to see a Nissan, let alone an Infiniti, getting its tires dirty in the world of rallying? The Japanese automaker isn’t exactly a name synonymous with rally racing, so you might need to excuse us for being a little apprehensive when word broke out that an Infiniti G37 S Coupe would be part of the Spanish Rally Championship.
Turns out, though, the G37 S Coupe will not be doing any rally racing of its own. Instead, it has been tapped as the official rally-spec safety car of the SRC. Color us surprised with this bit of news.
To cope with the rigors of the rally world, the G37 S Coupe’s chassis and suspension were strengthened. Among the new additions to the car’s make-up include new Bilstein dampers, upgraded brake pads, its very own light bar and siren, a roll cage, a new set of Sparco race seats and harnesses, a fire suppression system, and high-performance Michelin tires.
Other important features added to the rally safety car include a GPS navigation system and a plethora of communications equipment developed to assist the car in case of an emergency.
In terms of powertrain, the G37 S Coupe safety car will have the same output coming out of the standard 3,696cc 24-valve V6 engine – 320 horsepower – and will be mated to the standard six-speed manual transmission.
Infiniti may not be all that known in the world of rally racing, but if the company ever needed to get its feet wet in the often dusty and muddy world of rallying, this could be the first step in doing so.
Hyundai Veloster Rally Car
January’s 2011 Detroit Auto Show brought with it the production version of the long rumored Veloster, but Hyundai is using the Chicago Auto Show to display a rally version of the car.
The Veloster Rally Car is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission. Making giant leaps across the rally road will be made easy with the engine’s 500hp and all of that power comes with an estimated 40mpg.
This particular version of the Veloster will make its rally debut at the 2011 U.S. Rallycross Championship Series. In fact, three Velosters will be racing during the Rallycross; one will be driven by Rhys Millen, the second will be piloted by rally champion Marcus Dodd and world record freestyle motorbike rider Robbie Maddison, and the third will be driven by to-be-announced celebrity drivers.
Mini All4 Racing
The fastest vehicles may belong to the likes of Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and so on, but that doesn’t mean that the not-so-fast vehicles out in the world can’t strap on their racing gear and hit the track. X-Raid Team has one of those less than speedy vehicles with the new MINI All4 Racing. This Countryman has its sights set on the 33rd Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile in January with the French rally crew of Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Michel Périn at the wheel for the race. The event starts in Buenos Aires on New Year’s Day and finishes in the Argentine capital on Sunday, January 16th, 2011. X-Raid have only begun the build for the All4 Racing just last month so it will leave minimal time for the completion and testing to be completed before that time.
The new Mini All4 Racing will replace the current BMW X3 CC, but will be powered by the BMW’s variable twin-turbo diesel engine that will deliver 315 HP and 710Nm of torque.
"This is a major development in cross-country rallying and something of which we are very excited," admitted Quandt. "There has been a very short time between the decision to go ahead and the roll out for the next Dakar, but we are confident that the new Mini All4 Racing will be competitive out of the box. Compared to the BMW X3CC, the MINI will be characterized by improved handling as the overall length is shorter and it is lower. We have also been able to improve on many other smaller details, such as the relocation of smaller components to lower the center of gravity."
Citroen DS3 WRC
After making its world debut at the Paris Auto Show, the new DS3 WRC is now getting shown off in a promotional video from Citroen that displays what the car is capable of. In this video, the DS3 WRC is testing in Algarve and is being driven by Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia.
The DS3 WRC is powered by a 1.6-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine that delivers 300 HP. It also features cooling vents and aerodynamic parts designed to improve road holding at high speeds. The four-wheel-drive transmission incorporates a six-gear sequential gearbox and front and rear mechanical differentials.
The new model will replace the C4 WRC in the 2011 World Rally Championship. Official debut will be made at the Rally Sweden in February 2011. There will be two teams entering the competition: Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena and Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia.
Volvo C30 DRIVe WTCC
Volvo will be entering the World Touring Car Championship with a C30 DRIVe model in 2011. The company will participate in all races with one Volvo C30 DRIVe racer driven by Robert Dahlgren. However, the 2011 season will just be an evaluation, as the official entry will be made in 2012.
"We are very happy and proud for this vote of confidence. This will be a challenge for us but we have prepared for this for several years. Our organization is in place and we have already started with preparations" says Christian Dahl, Managing Director for Polestar Racing. "Volvo has a solid touring car racing tradition and we see a potential now for converting this into a global commercial tool from 2012 through WTCC. It is vital the technical and commercial aspects of the series align with our ambitions and this is what Polestar is out to confirm for us in 2011."
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