March 1, 2006 Suzuki has announced it will enter the World Rally Championship (WRC) from August, 2007 using its all new Sports X-over vehicle SX4 as the basis. The SX4 was also launched at the Geneva Show. Suzuki’s decision to participate in the WRC follows from its very successful involvement with its teams in the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC).
The highlight of this JWRC programme was first place for the Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 in 2004, in only the third year of participation, in the JWRC Drivers’ Championship.
The Rally Sport version of SX4 has been developed alongside the models of SX4 that have been perfected for retail sale. This JWRC version will now be the focus of further detailed development and testing to increase its competitive potential to the maximum in order that it can prove to be a worthy WRC challenger from August, 2007 onwards.
Exact technical details of the new Suzuki SX4 WRC will be announced progressively prior to its first competitive appearances. Currently development of its power unit and power train is well advanced and the prototype car is equipped with a new 2.0 litre turbo charged J20 engine. This engine already provides torque of 65kg.m at 3,000rpm and 320bhp at 4,000-5,000 rpm.
The new all-wheel drive system developed for the WRC car by Suzuki includes mechanical differentials front and rear and an electronic differential located in the centre. Power is transmitted via a 5-speed sequential gearbox.