As if taking on all comers on the stages of the WRC wasn’t enough, MINI is taking on the might of the Dakar rally with a specially-prepared Countryman.
The car is being run by the German X-Raid team, which will also enter six BMW X3s in the event which starts in Buenos Aires on New Year’s Day and finishes in the Argentine capital on Sunday, January 16. The MINI will be driven by French star Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Michel Périn.
The Dakar car is no ordinary MINI. In place of the top-spec road car’s 1.6-litre turbo engine, the beefed-up off-roader gets a 3.0-litre diesel unit which puts out around 315bhp and 710Nm.
The spaceframe chassis is specially fabricated to take all the punishment that the South American roads can thrown at them, while the body panels are made from carbon fibre and Kevlar.
The MINI also gets a huge 420-litre fuel tank, uprated four-wheel drive system, a reinforced suspension system from specialists Reiger and three spare wheels.
Despite all the advanced technology employed on the Dakar car, the MINI project was only signed-off in June 2010, but thanks to the efforts of the X-Raid team and numerous suppliers, the car took just 90 days to build.