Image credits: © MINI.

2017 MINI John Cooper Works Rally


2017 MINI John Cooper Works Rally
MINI premieres the next big thing in MINI Motorsport's distinguished history, the all new MINI John Cooper Works Rally. First competitive foray for the new star is the 2017 Dakar Rally.

MINI is pleased to announce the start of a new chapter in its long, illustrious motorsport history with the introduction of its latest in a long line of cross-country rally car greats: the MINI John Cooper Works Rally. Now there is a new MINI champion in the making...

MINI John Cooper Works Rally: racing ahead into the future2017 MINI John Cooper Works Rally
The introduction of the all-new MINI John Cooper Works Rally underlines MINI Motorsport's long-term commitment to its involvement in motorsport especially in the arena of rally-raid and the FIA World Cup, the legendary Dakar Rally and the latest long-distance endurance challenge of the Silk Way Rally.

The 2017 MINI John Cooper Works Rally is an exciting new development from MINI and X-raid and destined to repeat race success achieved so far. Based on the all-new MINI Countryman, its sporting dynamics readily provided a platform for the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally and its role as a specialist cross-country rally car.

To produce a car able to successfully tackle and survive the rigours of cross-country rally is a challenge in itself. However, the MINI John Cooper Works Rally has been designed and constructed to achieve and exceed the same level of success as the previous car thanks to an exacting development programme.

The MINI John Cooper Works Rally will also be subject to constant development via motorsport partner X-raid in order for the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally to become as victorious and iconic in the cross-country rally world as its predecessor. At the same time, technical feedback gained from its racing development programme can, of course, be used to further aid reliability and performance programmes in all aspects of MINI production cars.

MINI John Cooper Works Rally: more is better

2017 MINI John Cooper Works Rally
MINI John Cooper Works Rally is a new racing car and the result of an extensive development through racing experience of the existing MINI ALL4 Racing. Based on the new MINI Countryman; the car has been adapted to suit the necessary safety requirements and the current race regulations as laid out by motorsport's governing body Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
During the MINI John Cooper Works Rally design, development and build processes, many key areas came under scrutiny and have been extensively reworked when compared to the former cross-country rally car. The following key areas have been priority subjects to deliver a totally new formidable racing package.
◾Thermal management
◾Weight distribution
◾Lower center of gravity
◾Modified chassis frame design
◾New engine mapping

The above areas were subject to many hours of design and simulation tests to ensure the MINI John Cooper Works Rally delivers improved performance with lower fuel consumption. The changes also delivered a very positive outcome on the drivability of the car from gains made in stability, traction and agility. When faced with all manner of terrain and driving conditions – from rain to snow to arid dry conditions, from soft sand to deep wet mud, from 3,000 metre above sea level mountain tracks to valley river beds –improvement in chassis and engine detail is hugely beneficial.


The exterior of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally replicates MINI Countryman and, therefore, MINI typical handling agility for racing use. It is also one of the areas of the car that has received special attention from X-raid technicians. Many hours spent in the BMW Group Wind Tunnel with in house motor sports specialists have resulted in aerodynamic detailing to considerably reduce drag.

Because the overall dimensions of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally are the same (1:1) to the former rally car, and that engine performance and overall car weight is, as in previous years, determined by FIA regulations, the improved aerodynamics of MINI John Cooper Works Rally are important for improved top speed on flat, open trail sections and the required stability at speed. Reduced fuel consumption and better subsystem cooling is also experienced with the improved aerodynamics.

Composite bodywork e.g. carbon fibre and Kevlar is used for the MINI John Cooper Works Rally outer shell, while a honeycomb mix of the same materials is used for an underside tier. The use of such materials is threefold: 1) strength and durability – ideal for additional safety protection of the two-man crew 2) reduced weight with greater strength, and 3) panels are easily removed or replaced during servicing periods or if damaged.

The underside tier now houses all three of the allotted three spare tyre // wheel combinations and two hydraulic jacks operated from within the cabin. Previously only two spare wheels were carried in the underside. By moving the third from the boot space to underneath, a lower CG was obtained along with a change in weight distribution to improve stability and associated driving dynamics.

With the advent of the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally, new colourways and styling cues are being introduced in keeping with the sporting stance of the John Cooper Works road car range. It will feature the exclusive MINI John Cooper Works body colour Rebel Green with the exclusive MINI John Cooper Works contrast roof colour Chili Red as well as new designed Sport stripes. Further MINI body colours for the X-raid competitor cars are Chili Red, White Silver and Light White. The exterior design has been developed in close collaboration with the MINI Design team. Thus, the original rugged and vertical exterior design of the new MINI Countryman was transferred to the competition cars, such as bumpers, grille, bonnet, side and tail geometries, lights, roof rails and side scuttles. A new style of racing alloy wheel is also to feature at key times during events and is derived from the John Cooper Works accessory wheel collection.

The original design of the all-new MINI Countryman was transferred into MINI John Cooper Works Rally by emphasizing the main features. The design team were designing to 'form follows function', by purposeful changing the original. The expressive fender flares are stressing the crease-lines which are very characteristic on the new MINI Countryman. The body itself is a lot wider on the fenders, which is helping to integrate an air-outlet in front of the doors.

The expressive hood was lowered for a better visibility for the drivers, by enhancing the landscaping of fenders and power dome, and the rugged looking John Cooper Works ALL4 Exterior Optic Pack was adapted to fit the car. The side covers for the underside tier housing the spare wheels are new 'Rocker panels' and form a new design icon of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally.

An expressive air inlet is integrated in the roof geometry, framed by the original roof racks. The rear is showing the MINI typically cascading, a self-confident stance and an interpretation of the All4 Pack.

2017 MINI John Cooper Works RallyTo ensure the safety of the crew and in accordance with regulations, the chassis frame of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally is replaced with a specialist frame constructed from tubular steel to aerospace standards. ( posted on Designed specifically for the demands of cross-country racing, the frame is constructed to exacting standards by CP Autosport.

While the main chassis carries the covering bodywork and provide the skeleton for driveline components it is the job of a front subframe to support the engine. MINI Motorsport partner X-raid devised this subframe to be removable. Such is the design of the chassis and the new subframe; complete engine removal, if required, can be completed in just over one hour.

Suspension is provided by specialists Reiger Racing Suspension. Each axle rides on four fully adjustable suspension units (two per wheel) providing the permissible 250mm wheel travel. Six-piston calipers all-round act on 320mm vented steel discs. To ensure consistent braking performance while under the stress of racing conditions for hours on end in high ambient temperatures, the rear brake calipers are air and water-cooled.

Engine and gearbox:

2017 MINI John Cooper Works Rally
Exemplary engine performance in terms of response, power // torque delivery and ultimate reliability is provided by a BMW Group TwinPower Turbo Six-Cylinder Diesel engine. Designed with endurance competition in mind, the 2993 cc dry sump engine produces 340hp @ 3250 rpm, and torque of approx. 800 Nm @ 1850 rpm with the regulatory 38mm air restrictor in place.
The use of the BMW Group Twin Power Turbo Technology is an obvious choice for the MINI John Cooper Works Rally within the BMW Group engines' family. The powerful and torque-laden engine is race proven unit that has captured MINI many major victories. Delivering peak performance at low rpm contributes to its renown reliability and is ideal for all terrain conditions from uphill, rocky trails to wide open WRC-like stone covered tracks. Its tractability is also an advantage on desert sands. Low fuel consumption of a race-tuned diesel engine is also an important consideration.

Improved fuel consumption also comes with the use of new engine management mapping. Many hours of testing has realised even greater potential in racing conditions especially at altitude.

The 2017 Dakar Rally will take in Bolivian mountain sections approx. 3,000 metres above sea level. Reduced oxygen content at such heights not only dramatically affects the way a body and mind works, but also the way an engine breathes and can severely hamper engine performance. To fully realise engine performance at all times, the new engine mapping ensures the retention of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally's drivability and performance.

The MINI John Cooper Works Rally retains the highly regarded ALL4 racing driveline to place it within the 4x4 racing category that has seen MINI Motorsport dominate cross-country rally competition in recent years.

The driveline features an AP Racing clutch combined with a six-speed SADEV sequential gearbox. Lockable, oil-cooled Xtrac front and rear diffs with a central SADEV unit to deliver maximum engine performance at all times regardless of the terrain and racing conditions.

Also helping to stir the blood of MINI Motorsport and MINI John Cooper Works fans will be the exhaust tone of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally. The Akrapovič exhaust is a new design with rear outlet.


The cabin interior has been renewed. A carbon fibre dashboard area consists of three sections: driver, central and co-driver info units displaying essential info. The driver has selected gear display and LED readout for RPM and gear ratio shift alert. Speed, oil pressure, fluid temperatures and electronic functions are displayed on the central dashboard to enable both crew members to view. All navigational systems are located on the co-driver's dashboard.

MINI John Cooper Works Rally: the race continues

Ongoing test and development work is paramount to racing success. The new MINI John Cooper Works Rally is presently undergoing final testing ahead of the 2017 Dakar Rally – the ultimate in long distance cross-country endurance rallies – and will be the focus of X-raid staff and MINI engineers throughout its lifetime.

Talking about the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally, Sebastian Mackensen, Senior Vice President MINI, said:

'MINI and X-raid is a legendary partnership. Together we have shaped today's rich sporting heritage of this famous British brand with the four victories in a row at the Dakar and of the FIA Cross Country World Cup from 2012 to 2015 and we wish to continue in the same direction and prove the authentic racing competence of John Cooper Works. With the realisation of the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally, MINI is perfectly placed to extend its sporting achievements.'

'Introducing the famed MINI John Cooper Works sub-brand within the exciting arenas of rally raid, cross-county rally and the endurance challenges of the Dakar Rally and Silk Way Rally seals MINI's commitment to this spectacular and compelling motorsport. This racing spirit will always be a part of MINI's genes and products.

'The competitive debut of the MINI John Cooper Works Rally at the 2017 Dakar Rally is a tough debut indeed. The Dakar Rally is the epitome of long-distance rally, where the competitive stress placed on man and machine is like no other but perfectly represents the sporting spirit of MINI Motorsport and the John Cooper Works sub-brand.'

X-raid is motorsport partner to MINI and pivotal to its modern day racing success by providing the necessary race support. Sven Quandt, CEO, X-raid said at the reveal of the new MINI John Cooper Works Rally:

'The all-new MINI John Cooper Works Rally is obviously great; is completely different to the predecessor model we built upon and developed; it's a car based on thorough development as well in the wind tunnel. We have achieved better aerodynamics from this and, along with other new features; we have improved performance from this car.

'One of the advantages of wind tunnel development is a higher top speed and better acceleration from 140 km/h upwards – these were crucial areas for improvement. The centre of gravity has gone down substantially – we placed about 50 kilos downwards by some 50 centimetres in the centre of the car, which helps the handling and makes the car much more comfortable over all types of terrain, and aids the handling on a rally track with lots of corners. In all: a comprehensive new and exciting package.'

MINI John Cooper Works Rally: technical specifications
◾ Engine: BMW Group TwinPower Turbo Six-Cylinder Diesel
◾Output: 340 bhp / 3250 rpm
◾Torque (approx.): 800 Nm / 1850 rpm
◾Capacity: 2993 cc
◾Air restrictor: 38 mm diameter
◾Top speed (approx.): 184 km/h
◾Transmission: six-speed sequential gearbox
◾Braking: 4 x six-piston calipers – air-cooled front, air / water-cooled rear. Discs: 320 x 32 mm
◾Length / width / height: 4350 / 1999 / 2000 mm
◾Wheel base: 2900 mm
◾Track width: 1736 mm
◾Weight: 1952,5 kg
◾Fuel tank capacity (approx): 385 litres
◾Chassis: tubular steel with composite bodywork
◾Tyres: BF Goodrich 245/80R 16

MINI, heritage in Motorsport

In the 1960s, tuner and race car producer John Cooper became a household name with his powerful, sporting Mini Cooper S. In short, John Cooper transformed the great British small-car into a sporting legend with success in many international and national rally series. The brand Mini subsequently became synonymous with rally-sport.

The rich heritage of race-proven MINI performance lives on with today's MINI John Cooper Works range of MINI cars. When the first new genre of British-manufactured MINI Cooper cars appeared in 2001, it was obvious the relaunched brand had inherited motorsport traits from its famous namesake. Together with engine tuning, component upgrades and exquisite styling cues available with the MINI John Cooper Works range, MINI and motorsport are a polished combination that will continue to shine as MINI Motorsport

Despite very short development time, MINI Motorsport with the MINI ALL4 Racing – derived from the 2012 John Cooper Works Countryman – achieved incredible racing success in the world of cross-country rally. The toughest challenge of this motorsport discipline is, without doubt, the race-of-all-races – the annual, long-distance rally-raid that is known as the Dakar Rally.

Such was the brilliance and ultimately the superiority of this racing car, in the experienced hands of rally specialists X-raid and driven by passionate racing crews of the MINI ALL4 Racing family, these cars went on to win 'The Dakar' over four consecutive years: 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2016, MINI repeated the status of winner of the four-wheel drive ranking.

Competing within the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, MINI again demonstrated how success breeds success. Following the first World Cup win in 2012, this success was repeated over the next three years (2013-2015) much to the dismay of the competition.

The BMW Group
With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world's leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2015, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.247 million cars and nearly 137,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2015 was approximately € 9.22 billion on revenues amounting to € 92.18 billion. As of 31 December 2015, the BMW Group had a workforce of 122,244 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.

Source - MINI
The British Motor Corporation came into existence in 1952 by the merging of two manufacturers, Nuffield Motors and Austin. Nuffield was known for its Morris line of vehicles, while Austin had its 'Seven' model line. The transition for the two manufacturers was difficult and had been forced out of necessity. After World War II, many vehicle manufacturers could not stay in business due to destroyed factories, recovering economies, strained resources, and lack of funds. Combining the two companies was a means to stay in business.

A fuel shortage was occurring. German engineers quickly adapted and began producing fuel-efficient vehicles. Examples include the Volkswagen Beetle. Leonard Lord, Chairman of BMC and former head of Austin, commissioned Sir Alec Issigonis to design a vehicle to compete with the German-made vehicles.

Alec Issigonis was a graduate of Battersea Technical College. After graduation he worked as a draftsman for a plethora of engineering projects. Later, he joined Morris Motors where he was tasked with creating and fitting suspensions to the Morris vehicles.

Issigonis was outfitted with requirements to create a fuel-efficient, affordable, safe vehicle capable of carrying four individuals including luggage. To save on development costs, it was requested that an existing BMC engine be used. What he created was a vehicle that sat atop of 10 inch wheels. By using smaller wheels there was little need for wheel wells.

The car was expected to carry four individuals; the combined weight of the passengers being greater than the entire vehicle. A suspension was needed that could accept this pay-load. With his prior experience creating and working with suspensions, Issigonis designed a rubber cone suspension.

A 950 cc, four cylinder, BMC engine was selected. It was mounted in the front and expected to power the front wheels, a system that was revolutionary at the time. Instead of mounting the engine longitudinally, it was place transversely. The transmission was place under the engine due to space constraints.

When Issigonis presented his designs and recommendations to Lord in 1958, changes were requested. Instead of the 950 cc engine, a 34 horsepower, 848 cc engine would be used, making the vehicle slower but more importantly, more safe. The other request was to make the vehicle two inches wider.

There were two versions of the car when it was first introduced on August 26, 1959. The only difference between the 1959 Austin and Morris versions was their badges.

John Cooper had designed vehicles that successfully won the Formula One championships in 1959 and 1960.

He proposed a marriage between his 1000 cc Formula Junior engine with the Mini. Lord approved the idea and in 1961 the Mini Cooper was born. It was fitted with a 997 cc engine producing 55 horsepower. Later, the Cooper S came into being with the advent of the 970 cc and the 1275 cc engine - the latter capable of 76 horsepower.

From 1964 through 1967 the little car dominated the Monte Carlo Rally. The car easily achieved these victories using a 91 horsepower engine.

Minis became more than just a practical car, they became a fashion statement. This, combined with their practicality, fuel efficiency, and success on the race track, created an overwhelming demand for the little car.

In the 1980's, the Mini was starting to loose momentum. Rover tried to revitalize the Mini brand by creating special editions. In all, there were more than 40 different editions created between 1980 and 2000.

A merger with British Motor Corporation and another company produced the Britsh Leyland Company. Later, it became Rover Group. Currently, it is owned by BMW.

In 2001, BMW introduced the MINI. The MINI currently has three Cooper models. Their main differences being the size of the engine and the horsepower rating. A convertible has also been included to the line-up.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007

Three generations of driving fun: The MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S through the years.

For three generations and over 50 years, the Cooper name has identified a MINI offering even more in the way of driving fun. The idea, hatched by brilliant Formula One designer John Cooper, to fuel the agile small car with an extra hit of performance and turn it into a sporting machine for the road and track has lost none of its appeal. But the Cooper has never been about horsepower, as a comparison between the classic Mini and its two successors resoundingly proves. The key here is the basic principle of the creative use of space, combined with the inimitable go-kart feeling that runs like a thread through the three generations of the legendary small car. These famous handling traits are enjoyed by drivers on bendy country roads and city streets around the world, with the classic Mini and 21st-century MINI still regularly crossing each other's path.

The small British car positively craves twists and turns demanding quick and precise changes in direction; this is where it feels most at home. The classic Mini was tailor-made for tackling hairpins and corner-strewn roads, and it still looks the part today – aided by the healthy 46 kW/63 hp available in a Mini Cooper towards the end of its production run. The classic Cooper was built up to autumn 2000, by which time its successor was already twitching in the starting blocks. In contrast to the original Mini, the new model was available in Cooper guise from the outset. And with 85 kW/115 hp under the bonnet, it would do its nameplate proud. From the word go, the car's powerplant and chassis formed a harmonious alliance to deliver unbeatable driving fun. As John Cooper realised, sometimes you actually can't have too much of a good thing. 50 years ago he unveiled the 70 hp Mini Cooper S. And today, its youngest descendant places 135 kW/184 hp at the disposal of its driver. As if that wasn't enough, the turbocharged engine powering the latest MINI Cooper S also sets the benchmark for efficiency in its output class.

When Alec Issigonis set out to develop a new small car for the British Motor Corporation in the mid-1950s, his priorities were space and price. Indeed, at a touch over three metres in length, the classic Mini offered astonishingly generous accommodation for passengers and their gear alike. Issigonis settled on a front transverse installation for the four-cylinder engine, under which lay the gearbox, plumb between the wheels. The positioning of those wheels at the far corners of the car and the Mini's short overhangs did the rest. The Mini was small on the outside but roomy on the inside, not to mention – at around 600 kilograms – extremely light. The principles underpinning its design remain the template for small and compact cars in the modern era.

2017 MINI John Cooper Works RallyHowever, it was left to another key figure in the brand's history to uncover the vast well of sporting talent under that diminutive shell. John Cooper, a friend and business partner of Mini creator Issigonis and winner of two Formula One constructors' world titles, was quick to spot the car's dynamic potential, and in 1961 the first Mini Cooper hit the roads. Production of the Cooper was temporarily suspended in the 1970s, but by that time the Mini Cooper badge had long since become the signature of a sporty and agile small car.

As well as the intervention of John Cooper, the launch of this famous sporting career also relied on the brilliance of the classic Mini's chassis. Issigonis had broken new ground with the steering and suspension of his new creation, and in so doing laid the foundations for the go-kart feeling appreciated by drivers to this day. Homokinetic joints reduced torque steer, a subframe (to which the rear wheels were fixed) improved directional stability, and rubber springs and small telescopic dampers ensured accurate responses and progressive spring action. The wealth of ideas packed into this small car still impresses. And the result of those ideas – the classic Mini's much-celebrated handling – explains why the car continues to enjoy such a loyal community of fans. When the successor to the original car came along in 2001, it was clear that highly advanced chassis technology would be needed in order to set the pace in driving fun all over again. The MINI Cooper rose to the challenge in some style, thanks to MacPherson spring struts at the front axle, axle shafts equal in length, a multi-link rear axle unique in the small car segment, disc brakes on all four wheels, and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control).

The latest-generation MINI Cooper S also features Electric Power Steering with Servotronic function and a DSC system including DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) and an electronic locking function for the front axle differential. Known as Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), this system gives the MINI a crucial edge through the tight bends of Alpine passes, for example, by braking a spinning wheel as required to enhance drive out of corners as well as the car's steering properties. Added to which, pressing the standard Sport Button in the MINI Cooper S makes the steering even more direct and stirs up a particularly sporty soundtrack from the engine. All of this was unimaginable 50 years ago, of course, but you get the impression John Cooper would have wholeheartedly approved.

Source - BMW
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