Suzuki is to debut its new Swift Super 1600 JWRC car on round five of this championship, Rally Finland, from 4-7 August. The car has recently received approval from the FIA, and encouraging asphalt testing by JWRC stalwarts Per-Gunnar Andersson and Guy Wilks has bolstered Suzuki’s hope that the Super 1600 can win its debut event. The car replaces the successful Ignis earlier than expected due to the increased threat of Citroen’s new C2 platform, and a desire to secure Andersson’s position at the top of the JWRC standings.
Autocar.co.uk gives the Super 1600’s roadgoing brother, the Swift Sport, its first drive this week. The supermini is expected to go on sale in the UK in June 2006, with production starting early in January, at an estimated minimum price of £11,000. The Sport will offer ESP and seats by Recaro as standard. The 125bhp of the model we tested may also rise by the time the Swift Sport enters production.
Also on the Japanese manufacturer’s long-term agenda is a move into the WRC. Suzuki insiders claim the WRC car will be based upon an entirely new, as yet unnamed, road car platform in the same size (but not price) bracket as cars such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series. A full WRC debut is unlikely to occur before the 2008 season.