MINI’s Countryman WRC racer has been unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. Racing enthusiasts have been waiting for this event as it signals the MINI’s return to the series.
The UK motorsport specialists at Prodrive designed the vehicle so it complies with the rules of the 2011 season. In particular, the vehicle was built in accordance with cost restrictions imposed on those participating in the championship.
Briton Kris Meeke will be one of MINI’s drivers for this vehicle, which features a turbocharged 1.6 liter engine. The engine is partnered to an Xtrac six-speed, sequential gearbox. MINI doesn’t intend to be a full player in the 2011 season and will only be in 13 rounds of the series.
But it will take the “all-in” approach for the 2012 season. Prodrive is set to offer the private team the chance to purchase a MINI Countryman WRC.
Ian Robertson, a member of the Board of Management of BMW AG who is responsible for Sales and Marketing, said that the Paris Motor Show is the “perfect stage, on which to launch [its] MINI WRC.” He shared that the response to the news that MINI will go back to rallying next year was “very positive.”
He added that the FIA World Rally Championship is the “pinnacle of rallying,” which makes it the best platform to show the competitive spirit of its brand. He disclosed that the car’s development is on schedule and that the preparations for the world championship are in “full swing.” He asserts further that the MINI Countryman production model formed the ideal basis for its new world championship challenger.