This is a very important event, as it marks the company’s return to the series. The vehicle was developed by the UK motorsport specialists at Prodrive and follows the rules of the 2011 season. MINI announced that Briton Kris Meeke will be one of its drivers.
The vehicle will use a turbocharged 1.6 liter engine and follow certain cost restrictions that have been introduced for the teams taking part in the championship. The engine is mated to an Xtrac six-speed, sequential gearbox.
However, MINI doesn’t plan to become a full player (or, should we say racer?) in the 2011 season. The company will only take part in 13 rounds of the series. The “all-in” approach will be used for the 2012 season. Prodrive will also offer private team the opportunity to buy a MINI Countryman WRC.
“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.”