Citroën DS3 Racing | An Overlooked Hot Hatch Bargain?

05th Mar 2024

By Kenny Longdon

Citroën DS3 Racing

Look back at Citroën's back catalogue of cars, and there's plenty of quirky and interesting models. Look back at their racing history - or more specifically rallying, and you'll learn of the most successful rally driver ever - Sebastien Loeb.

That's right, in rallying at least, Citroën are one of the top dogs. And so, in 2010 Citroën decided to give us a spicy version of their DS3, the first car to be developed by Citroën Racing (the same people that made Loeb's dominant rally cars), well, it promised to be quite something.

Why was the Citroën DS3 Racing made?

DS3 Racing

In simple terms, the Citroën DS3 Racing was made due to Citroën's success in rallying. And, with other manufacturers taking advantage of their rally success previously, similarly, who could blame Citroën for wanting a piece of the pie.

And, besides, what with motorsport being a proven method to sell cars off the back of, it made sense.

Furthermore, the World Rally Championship has created some legendary names throughout history. The likes of Colin McRae, Richard Burns, Tommi Mäkinen, Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm, Walter Rohrl, Sebastien Ogier and Carlos Sainz Snr being some of the most popular and famous rally drivers to ever exist. And before Citroën released the DS3 Racing, plenty of manufacturers these legendary drivers had raced for reaped the rewards, selling road-going versions of the cars they thrashed through rally stages all over the world.

There's no doubt that Colin McRae and Richard Burns helped cars like the Subaru Impreza sell remarkably well, with some of those models actually being named after Richard Burns, with the 'RB5' in 1999 - built to celebrate his first year with Subaru, whilst the 'RB320' from 2007 was built to pay tribute to the rallying legend, who sadly passed away in 2005.

Mitsubishi also named the 2000 Evo 6 after Tommi Mäkinen, to celebrate his fourth consecutive World Rally Championship title.

It's fair to say, these legends of the sport obviously helped sell cars, and with Citroën dominating the sport between 2004 and 2012 (more on that later), Citroën obviously thought a car to celebrate this dominance was a good idea, and who could blame them after the legendary Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Evo models.

The Sebastien Loeb Connection

Sebastien Loeb

Put simply, Sebastien Loeb is the most successful World Rally Championship driver of all time. He won the title in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, all whilst at the wheel of a Citroën.

The thing is, Subaru Impreza models from Colin McRae's era and Mitsubishi Tommi Mäkinen models are very sought-after. The Impreza 22B for example is well into six figures today, whilst Evo 6 models are also rather expensive for decent examples, too.

However, at the time of writing, the Citroën DS3 Racing can still be had for under £10,000 easily. On the other hand, there's hardly any for sale, too.

Prior to the DS3, Citroën also did a C2 Loeb - a special edition named after the rally legend, although that didn't exactly become valuable, like the Imprezas named after Richard Burns, and Tommi Mäkinen Evos.

Is the DS3 Racing somewhat of an overlooked bargain then, or did it simply not hit the mark, like others had from other manufacturers?

Introduction of the Citroën DS3 Racing

DS3 Racing

When the Citroën DS3 Racing was new back in 2011 in came with a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 204bhp. It came as standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox and was front-wheel drive.

It may have been a far cry from the DS3 that dominated the competition on rally stages around the world, but as hot hatches go, it was more than capable of outshining its road car competitors, in some aspects.

0 to 62mph was dealt with in just 6.5 seconds, making it quicker than a Renault Clio 200, in a straight line at least, but on a track, the little Clio would excel with its chassis and RenaultSport magic.

But, whereas the Clio was about driving purity, the DS3 Racing gave a more plush interior that was gunning for the MINI JCW.

As a first effort from Citroën Racing, the DS3 Racing is a niche hot hatchback that certainly added another dimension to those looking for a punchy little hatch that had more than enough power and a nice interior, full of style and typical French quirkiness.

Values and rarity today

DS3 Racing

With 200 examples of the Citroën DS3 Racing coming to the UK, it was a rare car from the off.

Although, at just over £23,000 back when launched in 2011, it wasn't exactly cheap for a Citroën hatchback, albeit a hot one. Today, the DS3 Racing is properly rare, but prices of those available at the time of writing are circa £6,500.

According to the 'how many left' website, 116 DS3 Racing exist on UK roads, with another 22 'SORN', with only a handful for sale on various classified websites.

It may not have the cult/legendary status of the Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Evolution models, or be as sharp on a track than a Renault Clio 200 or MINI JCW, but if you want a quirky rare car, which is somewhat of a bargain of a used car today, the Citroën DS3 Racing is certainly a car you won't see every day. Is it overlooked? It just might be, if you can find a good example, of course. 

Find your perfect used car with Evans Halshaw

Whether you're after a new or used car with motorsport inspired flair, or fancy another quirky Citroën, dynamic Renault or much loved MINI, there's plenty of choice amongst our used car portfolio.

Alternatively, if you enjoyed this article, check out more like it in our dedicated blog section, or Spotlight section, which looks at unique cars from automotive's past.