At a live event at the MINI Plant in Oxford, UK, the company revealed the John Cooper Works WRC from Prodrive. After spending months to prepare and to conduct tests, MINI has finally confirmed that this will be the definitive racer for the 2011 World Rally Championship. MINI’s goal for its debut season is to get the experience so that it can be ready to reap successes throughout the 2012 World Rally Championship.
In this press release, MINI also stated that this car, which will have drivers Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke, will only join six 6 rounds of the 2011 WRC.
The car is based on the production model of the MINI Countryman. In the past few months, MINI made this car undergo thorough testing. It’s only now though that its final livery and color scheme was shown to the media.
At the official launching, Prodrive boss David Richards said that it took over two years to create the MINI John Cooper Works WRC, which he refers to as the “most stunning car in World Rallying.” Richards said that the MINI WRC Team is experienced and has a “talented driver pairing” and strong partnership with MINI.
Enthusiasts can view the car’s performance as it debuts in Sardinia in a few weeks time. Making a grand entrance during the Oxford event are former rally drivers Paddy Hopkirk and Rauno Aaltonen who drove onto the stage while driving the Classic Mini Cooper S. At this event, Sordo and Meeke were also seen.
Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke have managed to complete thousands of kilometres test driving the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. As such, these two drivers cannot wait to participate in their first rally driving for the MINI WRC Team. After the presentation of the car, Meeke shared that this particular launch is but the next milestone that is on its path to their first rally.
Meeke added that he cannot wait to start the season. For members of the team, he added, everyone was happy that the result of their hard work has been unveiled in a fantastic way.
While the MINI’s heritage when it comes to motorsport has been incredible, Meeke continued, the team now wants to ensure that they play a role in putting in new chapters to this already successful story. Sordo meanwhile remains to be highly motivated ahead of what is his sixth season for the World Rally Championship. Sordo in fact won the Junior World Rally Champion back in 2005.
He added that it may be time to start the ball rolling and considering that his break since participating in his last rally has been rather long, it is time to show people just how good the team is. For this year, everything is new, Sordo continued. Keeping this in mind, Sordo shared, the extra time available to get familiar with the new environment was indeed helpful.
Sordo revealed that he is looking forward to facing this new challenge and that he hopes to come up with strong results driving the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. Powering the MINI John Cooper Works WRC is the turbo 1.6-liter engine, the same one inside the production versions of the MINI.
This engine was developed by none other than BMW Motorsport to be used in the World Rally Championship as it also complies with the regulations under the FIA Super 2000 and even the World Touring Car Championship. While Prodrive is responsible for the work on the MINI John Cooper Works WRC, it is also the supplier of cars to teams that line up in the World Rally Championship. This is applicable as well to the S2000 and WRC variants of the rally MINI.