With the recent announcement that the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the Australian Rally Championship are investigating the potential adoption of the International ‘Maxi’ Car regulations for the 2015 season and onwards, rally.com.au takes a look at some of the key questions and tries to provide some answers.
What is a ‘Maxi’ car?
‘Maxi’ rally cars are a formula originally developed in Argentina where the basis of each car is a North-South engine mated to a control gearbox casing and control rear differential.
|The cars all use a standard design safety cage together with control front and rear sub-frames, wishbones, hubs & uprights and are fitted to series production car body shells. Examples include VW Golf (South American built VW not to be confused with the VW Golf), Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Chevrolet Agile, Fiat Palio, Peugeot 208 and Citroen DS3.
The first cars were built in 2011 for the Argentinean Championship and now there are more than 30 cars running in Argentina, Paraguay and the South American Championship. What sorts of engines do ‘Maxi’ cars run? ‘Maxi’ cars running in the Argentinean National Series compete with a common, normally-aspirated Honda 2.4 litre engine. Work is well progressed on an option 1600cc turbocharged engine similar to FIA R5/WRC but with different size restrictors. For the Australian Championship it is likely that engines from the same family as the body shell would be allowed, bringing it in line with the current G2 regulations.
What place will ‘Maxi’ cars have in the APRC and ARC?
If adopted ‘Maxi’ cars would compete alongside other PRC and FIA homologated 4WD vehicles.
Will ‘Maxi’ cars have a place regionally?
The Argentinean ‘Maxi’ designed by Baratec is recognised by the FIA for International events in the regional South American Rally Championship series. The Asia-Pacific Working Group recently recommended to all its National participants that ‘Maxi’ Cars be recognised for International competition in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship series from 2015 onwards.
How does a ‘Maxi’ car differ from a production four-wheel drive like a Subaru Impreza WRX or Mitsubishi Lancer Evo?
‘Maxi’ cars are a ‘silhouette’ version of series production cars. They use Subaru gearbox & differentials housings with controlled-specification custom parts such as subframes, suspension arms and uprights available in a kit.
Is a ‘Maxi’ car like the Group N (P) Toyota Corolla Neal Bates ran in the ARC?
The ‘Maxi’ car is more of an S2000 type car with longer suspension travel and bigger brakes compared to the Group N (P) cars which used standard suspension arms etc from a production car. A ‘Maxi’ car is designed using a readily available kit of parts to convert a 2WD vehicle into a 4WD rally car. The customised parts have been specifically designed to keep costs down, for example all drive shafts are interchangeable and hub bearings are a common industrial type.
Who can build a ‘Maxi’ car?
Anyone can construct a vehicle to the ‘Maxi’ design, subject to the existing rules and regulations around the safety cage and the use of the control parts.
Are there any restrictions on what I can build?
The ‘Maxi’ platform must be able to be fitted into the donor vehicle respecting the external dimensions and restrictions of the regulations.
Can I buy an existing ‘Maxi’ car?
‘Maxi’ cars are available for purchase from a number of suppliers in South America including the originators of the formula, Baratec, in Argentina.
How do the build and running costs of a ‘Maxi’ car compare to running an existing front-wheel or four-wheel drive rally car?
Build costs are understood to be approximately the same as a Group N car but have lower running costs than a Group N car. The cost savings compared to FIA S2000 or the new R5 car vehicles are both in the build and running costs yet the performance and handling is very similar to S2000 and R5 rally cars.
I have heard mention of Dytko cars. What is a Dytko car and are these similar to ‘Maxi’ cars?
Dytko is a Polish company producing ‘prototype’ competition cars where the running gear (engine, gearbox, drive train etc.) and parts of the body shell are stripped out of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X and fabricated into a different body shell. The small number of cars that have been produced have mainly been used in the Polish National Championship but there are few currently running.
Will Dytko cars be eligible for the Australian Rally Championship and International level events in the future?
Cars purchased from Dytko may be eligible on an individual basis for the 2015 4WD National Rally Series (on application), however their long-term eligibility in the ARC Outright Championship is not guaranteed if the ‘Maxi’ regulations are adopted. Regarding International level events the Dytko cars do not have FIA approval and are not eligible for events like Rally Australia, International Rally of Queensland or Asia-Pacific Rally Championship Rounds throughout the region
Photo of Emma Gilmour competing in her Suzuki Swift ‘Maxi’ car at this year’s Asia-Pacific Round in New Zealand (credit: Brian Young / APRC.tv)