By Ronan Glon
Monday, Dec 12th, 2011 @ 9:07 am
 
Historically speaking, auto manufacturers have often sold street-legal models that were based on race cars. This usually stemmed from the need to build a certain amount of examples for homologation purposes.

A good example of this is the Group B class of WRC racing, founded in 1982. Its rules called for each car to be mass-produced and led to the creation of iconic models such as the Peugeot 205 T16, the Renault 5 Turbo, and the Citroën BX 4TC, just to name a few.

What is rarer is for a manufacturer to launch the race-bound version of a new car months before any information about the production model is made available. This situation becomes all the more uncommon when the car in question is a minivan.

Romanian manufacturer Dacia has done just that to reveal the Lodgy. The race version of it is dubbed the Lodgy Ice and three of them are currently competing in France's Trophée Andros.

According to Renault, Dacia's parent company, the Lodgy Ice only shares its headlights, its grille and its taillights with the Lodgy that will be built for public consumption. Even the overall silhouette will be slightly different: for aerodynamic purposes, the Lodgy Ice is lower and wider than the production version of it will be.

The race-bound Dacia sits on a tubular chassis and is powered by a mid-mounted 355 horsepower V6 that spins all four wheels.

The production version of the Lodgy will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next March. Technical information is not yet available, but it will likely be powered by the standard array of Renault-sourced four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, including the popular 1.5 dCi that is found in the rest of the Dacia lineup. It will be roughly 165 inches long and have room for five passengers, though there are rumors that a seven-seater is also in the works.