As reported last week, Mini have now confirmed their return to the international rallying stage in 2011 to complete in selected rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship.
2012 will see a full program from Mini with planned involvement over several years.
The Mini Countryman WRC is currently being developed by Prodrive and will feature a turbo-charged engine from BMW Motorsport. The car will comply to the new Super2000 regulations which stipulate the use of turbo engines with 1600cc displacement and four-wheel drive. The first test drive is planned for Autumn 2010.
Mini has a great history with rallying after it’s success in the 1960’s with the Mini Cooper S, winning the Monte Carlo Rally outright and also taking European Rally championship wins.
Ian Robertson who is responsible for Sales and Marketing, says: “I am delighted MINI will be represented on one of the most popular stages in international motorsport. The success enjoyed on the rally circuit has made a vital contribution to the image of the brand. MINI customers have always shown great interest in motorsport. I am convinced we will add a few more chapters to our success story in rallying. The MINI Countryman provides an excellent basis, from which to create a competitive racing car for the world championship. In Prodrive, we have a strong and experienced partner. We will work hard together over the coming months to ensure we get the project on track right from the word go.”
“This is a very exciting new motorsport programme,” said Prodrive Chairman, David Richards. “During the 1960s MINI captured the imagination of the world when the tiny car took on the might of V8 powered Fords and won what was then one of the toughest motorsport events, the 4000km Monte Carlo rally. I believe our new MINI will become a firm favourite of the latest generation of rally fans, just as it is adored by its millions of owners across the world. We already have a significant number of confirmed customer orders for the new MINI rally car with the first deliveries scheduled for the start of the 2011 season.”