Suzuki Motor Corporation announced today at the 76th Geneva International Motor Show that it will enter the World Rally Championship (WRC) from August, 2007 onwards.

Suzuki will use its all new Sports X-over vehicle SX4 as the basis for its WRC challenge. SX4, also launched today at the Geneva Show, is another all new and revolutionary concept from Suzuki.

Suzuki’s WRC entry is one of the most important marketing and sales initiatives for the Corporation’s Automobile Division in recent years. It will boost the image and brand identity of Suzuki as a major and growing manufacturer of cars that are technically excellent, sporty and fun and will also provide technical feedback which will assist in the development of new models for launch in the future as a part of Suzuki’s global new product development programme.

Suzuki’s decision to participate in the WRC – which, alongside F1, is one of the world’s top motor sport championships – follows on from its very successful involvement with its teams in the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC). The highlight of this JWRC programme was first place for the Suzuki Ignis Super 1600 in 2004 – in only the third year of participation – in the JWRC Drivers’ Championship.

SX4 is the third all-new model to be launched by Suzuki since March, 2005. The other new products – Swift and Grand Vitara, launched in Europe in March and October, 2005 respectively – have both been very favourably received by the media and motorists throughout the numerous global markets in which they are marketed.

The Rally Sport version of SX4 has been developed alongside the models of SX4 that have been perfected for retail sale. This JWRC version will now be the focus of further detailed development and testing to increase its competitive potential to the maximum in order that it can prove to be a worthy WRC challenger from August, 2007 onwards.

Exact technical details of the new Suzuki SX4 WRC will be announced progressively prior to its first competitive appearances. Currently development of its power unit and power train is well advanced and the prototype car is equipped with a new 2.0 litre turbo charged J20 engine. This engine already provides torque of 65kg.m at 3,000rpm and 320bhp at 4,000-5,000 rpm.

The new all-wheel drive system developed for the WRC car by Suzuki includes mechanical differentials front and rear and an electronic differential located in the centre. Power is transmitted via a 5-speed sequential gearbox.