MINI Countryman WRC

Clear the decks for the new MINI WRC.

Paris. Visitors to the 2010 Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris (FR) can look
forward to a special treat: The new MINI WRC, which will contest the FIA World
Rally Championship from 2011, will receive its world premiere at this
international motor show. In addition, Kris Meeke (GB) has been confirmed as
one of the drivers who will contest the championship with this brand new rally
car.
The MINI WRC, powered by a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder Di turbo-charged engine,
recently received a baptism of fire, acquitting itself well during initial testing at
Prodrive’s rally track. The company commenced development of the car in
2009, and a concept of the MINI WRC will be displayed in Paris.
“The Paris Motor Show is the perfect stage, on which to launch our MINI WRC,”
says Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG,
responsible for Sales and Marketing. “The response to our announcement that
MINI will return to the world of rallying next year was very positive. The FIA World
Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying, making it the ideal platform for
demonstrating the competitive spirit of our brand. The development of the car is
running on schedule, and the preparations for the world championship are in full
swing. The MINI Countryman production model provided the ideal basis for our
new world championship challenger.”
The 2011 World Rally Championship will see the new MINI WRC contesting in
six of 13 scheduled rounds, with MINI competing in the full 2012 season. In
addition, Prodrive plans to make available customer versions to independent
teams for use in the championship.
Rallying is hardly unchartered territory for MINI. In the past this popular motor
sporting genre decisively shaped the image of the brand. The MINI Cooper S
became a true legend through its numerous victories on Rally Monte Carlo. The
European Rally Championship, too, saw MINI notch up serial successes.
“MINI can look back on a successful tradition in rallying,” says Dr Wolfgang
Armbrecht, Senior Vice President Brand Management MINI. “The interest in
motorsport among the present generation of MINI customers is massive. The
WRC provides an excellent communications platform for the MINI Countryman,
upon which the MINI WRC is based.”
Prodrive, an experienced motorsport operation, was chosen as the partner in the
quest to continue MINI’s success story. The company, founded by David
Richards, is viewed as one of the most respected and successful in rallying.

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