During the 81st International Geneva Motor Show, MINI introduced the MINI John Cooper Works S2000 – the latest milestone to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The S2000 precedes the MINI John Cooper Works WRC, which the MINI WRC Team will delegate to drivers Kris Meeke (BG) and Dani Sordo (ES) for its debut in the premier category of rallying in Rally Italy from May 5, 2011 to May 8, 2011.
More entries are planned in the WRC events in Germany, Finland, Spain, France and Great Britain. In Rally Portugal, private teams will line up with the Super2000 version of the car at the end of March 2011.
To create more excitement, the 2011 regulations of the WRC put private teams in a position to line up with the same cars as the factory team. For example in Portugal, the Brazil World Rally Team will send Brazilian Daniel Oliveira into action in a MINI John Cooper Works S2000.
Armindo Araujo (PT), the current PWRC champion, will line up in a MINI for the Motorsport Italia outfit. The two drivers will then swap over to the MINI John Cooper Works WRC for Rally Italy. Prodrive is working on 12 MINI rally cars to deliver to its customers throughout Europe.
Three key areas differentiate the WRC car from its Super2000 sibling. The MINI John Cooper Works WRC’s front end will have greater aerodynamic efficiency and it will gain a larger rear wing. The WRC machine, on asphalt rallies, will have water-cooled brakes on the front axle and the MINI John Cooper Works WRC’s side mirrors will be made of ultra-lightweight plastic.
As MINI’s first vehicle model to feature an all-wheel-drive system, the MINI Countryman is an ideal and logical foundation for a rally car. Offering superior performance among Countryman versions is the MINI Cooper S Countryman flagship, which is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder petrol engine. This powerplant is boosted by a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct fuel injection, and fully variable valve management, allowing it to provide 135 kW (184 bhp) in output.
This is more than enough to enable the MINI Cooper S Countryman to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds. As dictated by the MINIMALISM concept, the vehicle is offered with an array of fuel- and emission-reducing features, as standard, like Brake Energy Regeneration, Shift Point Display and the Auto Start/Stop function and the need-based operation of ancillary components.
All MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI Cooper D Countryman models could be specified with the optional MINI ALL4 permanent all-wheel drive, which features an electro-hydraulic differential -- directly positioned on the final drive – that varies the distribution from front to rear.
During normal driving conditions, up to 50 percent of power from the engine is transmitted to the rear wheels. During extreme driving conditions, up to 100 percent of power from the engine is transmitted to the rear wheels to allow the vehicle to exhibit high traction as needed.
On the other hand, the MINI WRC is powered by a 1.6 liter, four-cylinder Di turbo-charged engine – developed by BMW Motorsport – that could be used in the WRC and in other championships as it adheres to the FIA's Super2000 regulations.
Power is transmitted to the wheels using an Xtrac 6-speed, sequential gearbox. The chassis of the MINI Countryman has been provided with a Prodrive-developed roll cage that exceeds the stringent safety requirements set by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).