Citroen is hoping their all-new C3 WRC racer will help add to their already impressive tally of 96 rally wins and 8 manufacturer’s titles.
For the 2017 season, the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT will feature between two and four C3 WRC cars for its crews, made up of the following pairings: Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, Craig Breen/Scott Martin, Stéphane Lefebvre/Gabin Moreau and Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson.
The 2017 FIA World Rally Championship will officially get under way at Rallye Monte Carlo in one month from now, where the all-new C3 WRC will put its improved efficiency, dramatic technological changes and substantial aero features to the test.
Speaking of aero, the centerpiece of the C3 WRC’s aerodynamic performance is the bumper which incorporates a splitter and winglets, generating downforce and reducing understeer. On the side, air vents are used to cool the brakes and similar to the front, hot air is expelled using the bottom of the wings.
As for the rear bumper, it’s been carefully designed to increase the expulsion of gravel and snow on loose surfaces. The rear diffuser of course provides even more downforce by expelling the airflow that passes under the car.
“The experience acquired with the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC has meant we didn’t have to start from scratch with this car,” explained technical director Laurent Fregosi. “We tested solutions using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and then in the wind tunnel with a 40% mock-up. The results led us to devise new shapes, which we tested again several times. At the same time, we had to try parts on the car, to ensure they would last on the roughest surfaces. It’s a never-ending process. With more time, we would undoubtedly have made further progress and found even more performance.”
In terms of performance, the car boasts a 3.1kg/bhp ratio, which is a solid improvement over its predecessor’s 3.8kg/bhp rating. Furthermore, its got wider wings and a centrally controlled differential for the four-wheel drive system. Overall power output is 380 BHP (385 PS), though with the turbo pressure being set at 2.5 bars, torque output will remain relatively stable at about 400 Nm (295 lb-ft).
The new C3 WRC weighs in at 1,190 kg (2,623 lbs) , though with the crew on board it will get up to 1,350 kg (2,976 lbs), as per regulations. With an overall width of 1,875 mm (73.8 inches), it’s about as wide as an Audi A6.
Citroen’s objective next year will be to win races in normal conditions and “bring home at least one world title” in 2018.