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World Rally Championship Debut for Suzuki

World Rally Championship Debut for Suzuki

Suzuki is to use an all-new car as its basis for entering into next year's World Rally Championship.

The Suzuki WRC model is being developed from the new SX4 sports "cross-over" car that will be available in New Zealand at the end of 2006.

After successful forays into the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) with the Suzuki Ignis and Swift, the Suzuki Motor Corporation is extending its international rallying with the arrival of the SX4.

It will be the first time Suzuki has entered the World Rally Championship and is one of the most significant marketing and sales initiatives for the company's automotive division in recent years.

As a factory entrant, Suzuki won the JWRC with the Ignis Super 1600 in 2004, and is currently successfully campaigning the Swift in the same series.

Arrival of Suzuki in the WRC in August 2007 will raise the awareness of the brand and highlight the SX4 which is one of three new models to be introduced in the past year.

The other two are the award-winning Swift hatchback and the new generation Grand Vitara, both of which are now on sale in New Zealand.

Suzuki has developed a new all-wheel-drive system for the SX4 WRC car. It has mechanical differentials front and rear and an electronic differential located in the centre.

The car uses a five-speed sequential gearbox, with steering wheel controls, and the 4WD system incorporates a carbon disc clutch.

A Rally Sport version of the production SX4 has been developed and from this will come the fully-fledged WRC version.

Powered by a 2-litre J20 Suzuki engine with an aluminium alloy cylinder block, the chain drive double overhead camshaft power plant is already producing 235 kW (320 bhp) of power and 637 Nm of torque.

The WRC car weighs 1,230 kg, the minimum allowable under rules, and will have the choice of 18-inch diameter wheels for tarmac special stages and 15-inch rims for gravel roads.

Ventilated disc brakes are fitted front and rear, with slightly larger diameter discs used for sealed tarmac roads.

Hydraulic power assisted steering is fitted to the Suzuki SX4, and both front and rear suspensions are comprised of MacPherson struts and coil springs.

The 4,125mm long SX4 sits on a wheelbase of 2,525mm and development is already well advanced with a working prototype.

"Campaigning the new model in the 2007 WRC will build the image and brand identity of Suzuki," said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

"Suzuki is gaining stature as a major and expanding manufacturer of technically excellent, sporting and fun cars, like the new generation Swift," he said.

Involvement in the World Rally Championship will also provide technical feedback that will aid the development of future new models in Suzuki's global product development programme.

The striking blue and white SX4 WRC Concept prototype was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the SX4 production model that was making its world debut.


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