The countdown is on to the return of M on the international motorsport stage. The Mini WRC Team was presented to the public at the Mini Plant in Oxford recently.
This season, the team will compete at selected rounds in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC ). The aim is to gain valuable experience, in order to be perfectly prepared for the complete 2012 World Championship season.
The car has been developed by Prodrive, based on the Mini Countryman. It is equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine derived from the MINI production models. These are developed by BMW Motorsport for use in series run according to FIA Super2000 regulations, including the World Touring Car Championship. Beside its works involvement with the Mini John Cooper Works WRC, Prodrive is supplying customer cars to private rally teams.
“The FIA World Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying, making it the ideal platform for demonstrating the competitive spirit of our brand,” says Ian Robertson of BMW.
“Experience is a very important factor in motorsport. For that reason it is essential we learn as much as possible within a very short time, in order to make up ground on our rivals. The new regulations mean the gap to the top is smaller than it would have been at another time. We want to annoy the opposition as soon as possible.”
The Mini WRC Team will be putting its faith in experienced drivers when it faces up to the challenge of the WRC for the first time in 2011. Kris Meeke (GB ) and his co-driver Paul Nagle (IR ) have proven their ability in impressive style, listing the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC ) title as just one of their achievements.
Daniel “Dani” Sordo (ES ), who will compete alongside his new co-driver Carlos del Barrio (ES ) in 2011, has many years of World Championship experience. Twenty-nine podium finishes from 84 starts in the WRC just go to show the former Citroën works driver has what it takes to battle it out at the top.