Rumor: MINI to return to World Rally Championship

MINI | July 23rd, 2010 by 3

Rumor of the week comes from Autosport magazine. After months of speculation, the magazine reports that MINI and Prodrive will announce a World Rally Championship …

Rumor of the week comes from Autosport magazine. After months of speculation, the magazine reports that MINI and Prodrive will announce a World Rally Championship program in the near future. The new car will be based on the MINI Countryman model and is being prepared at Prodrive’s Banbury base.

Testing of the new machine is expected to begin soon and it will use BMW’s 1.6 liter turbocharged engine.

“When we start testing on our rally car development programme, it will be intensive,” said technical David Lapworth for Autosport. “We still have a good timescale to work towards for testing and we’re happy with where we’re at.”

According to their sources, MINI will officially launch the car next year in Rome, before the May’s Rally D’Italia Sardegna, but the car is not the car is not expected to compete in any of the first four rounds of next year’s World Rally Championship.

Rumor: MINI to return to World Rally Championship

For MINI, this will be the first factory backed MINI rally effort since 1960s. and the first time MINI has officially participated in a FIA sanctioned series ever.

Norwegian driver Mads Ostberg is being tipped to do some of the early development driving – and to take one of the factory seats in next year’s WRC program.

[Source: Autosport ]

  • Laszlo

    this is good news. WRC was about to die or face a boring future with 1 or 2 manufacturer participating. It is exactly what they needed. BMW-Mini will bring a nice color into the race. Hopefully other manufacturers will follow.
    The recession capped the spending and many Japanese company felt that spending money on a Europe only venue will not be beneficial.
    They are correct though, WRC has to break and go into the East (China, India, etc) and to the US. The trouble is the basic idea of the WRC collides with the US lawyers idea of safe automobile racing.
    There could be a compromise and change the rules to adapt the lawyer dictated racing in the US. It is still fun although very limited and controlled, completely the opposite of what WRC always was.
    I love watching WRC and BMW-Mini could save that sport, so it is a great news.

  • Andrew

    Prodrive and BMW did well in WRC in the late 1980′s – I can imagine this will be equally interesting

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