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First look: Citroen to take DS3 racing

Maxi mini: Citroen's DS3 Racing is thought to preview the brand's World Rally Championship contender.

Hot-hatch version of Citroen’s all-new DS3 to aim directly at Mini JCW

22 Feb 2010

PROOF that Citroen plans to offer a full range of new models to aim straight at BMW’s Mini has emerged in the form of the DS3 Racing hot-hatch concept, which will make its world debut at the Geneva motor show on March 2.

While the DS3 is due on sale in Australia in August – around the same time as the redesigned C3 hatchback upon which it is based – the limited-edition DS3 Racing represent’s Citroen’s answer to the John Cooper Works-tuned Mini.

Just 1000 examples of the DS3 Racing will be produced ahead of a European release in the second half of this year, and Citroen says Australian availability will be announced when the standard DS3 goes on sale here in six months.

Set to make its global premiere at Geneva alongside the DS4 concept, which heralds the second member of Citroen’s all-new premium small-car range, the DS3 Racing is the work of the French brand’s motorsport department, Citroen Racing.

Based on the ‘Sport Chic’ version of the DS3 and developed by the same outfit that took Citroen to six WRC titles (and Sebastien Loeb to seven WRC drivers’ crowns) over the past six years, the hottest DS3 is likely to preview the company’s next new World Rally Championship contender.

33 center imageThe performance version of the three-door front-wheel drive DS3 is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that cranks out 147kW at 5800rpm and 275Nm of torque between 2500 and 4000rpm, but Citroen is keeping mum on its newest model’s performance figures until its Geneva reveal.

The 30 per cent increase in power and 15 per cent lift in torque over the standard (112kW/240Nm) ‘THP 150’ engine comes courtesy of a more aggressively tuned turbocharger, exhaust system and ECU mapping for the THP 200 engine.

There’s also stiffer suspension with a 15mm-lower ride height, new front and rear shock absorbers, 30mm-wider wheel tracks and 18-inch alloy wheels with 205/40-section tyres, plus retuned steering and electronic stability control systems.

Apart from a specific bodykit comprising lower front and side skirts and special chequered graphics on the roof, bootlid and fuel flap, changes extend to chromed door-handles and exhaust outlets.

Inside, the DS3 Racing gains carbon-fibre trim on its dashboard, centre console, steering wheel and door mouldings, while the glowing orange exterior paint colour scheme theme is echoed on the dash and gearknob.

Like the standard DS3, the Racing version measures just 3948mm long, 1737mm wide and 1451mm high, and rides on a 2460mm wheelbase.

However, its exclusivity is also reinforced by a numbered plate in its roof lining and the Citroen Racing logo on the backs of its unique sports seats. Citroen says final DS3 Racing assembly will take place in a special workshop dedicated to the first performance DS model.

“The Citroen DS3 Racing represents an outstanding concentration of behind-the-wheel thrills with an artful blend of performance and efficiency,” said the general manager for Citroen in Australia, Miles Williams.

“The DS3 Racing will take up its place in the DS3 range with an appealing combination of verve and vitality and it provides a clear indication of what we can expect when the DS3 arrives in Australia in August,” he said.

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