The Citroen C3 WRC, which was revealed in Abu Dhabi, has been built to new regulations for the WRC that come into force in 2017, and which have been described as creating the fastest and most spectacular cars in the history of the series.
As a result the C3 WRC is more visually dramatic than its predecessor, with wider wings, and more prominent aerodynamics, its all-wheel-drive system includes a centre differential while a combination of weight saving and engine upgrades sees the car’s power-to-weight ratio improved from 3.8 to 3.1kg/bhp.
The body is based on the new C3 production car, the first Citroen WRC car to use a five-door shell, while the new regulations allow a 55mm increase in car width to 1875mm. The front bumper incorporates an aerodynamic splitter and winglets, wide side sills are fitted along with air vents on the rear doors, a rear diffuser and a large rear spoiler with a lower shovel and complex upper section, placed 50mm higher than under the previous regulations.
Also back on the menu is a centrally-controlled hydraulic differential, as used on the previous Xsara and C4 WRC. This allows the front and rear axles to rotate at different speeds – by controlling the hydraulic pressure in the central clutch, torque can be transferred from one axle to the other to offset understeer and reduce any slippage.
The engine, based around a 1.6-litre direct-injection unit, has been given a wider turbo restrictor, up from 33 to 36mm, helping to boost its power by around 20 per cent to 380bhp, with 400Nm of torque. The development team were able to draw upon experience gained in Citroen’s World Touring Car Championship programme which ended at the close of the 2016 season.
Citroen intends to enter between two and four WRC events in 2017, starting with the Monte Carlo Rally on 19th-22nd January, and is bidding to win at least one event before embarking on a full title bid in 2018. Since 1999 the brand has won 96 rallies, nine driver/co-driver championships and eight manufacturers’ titles, the most recent secured in 2012.