At the 2010 Paris Motor Show, MINI unveiled the Countryman WRC. The return of the MINI to WRC was celebrated in big style by the Oxford-based company and FIA’s boss Jean Todt was also present at the official unveiling.
MINI Countryman WRC, which is being developed in cooperation with Prodrive is based off the Countryman roduction model. The powerful heart of the racing car is a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder Di turbo-charged engine from BMW Motorsport. The power transmission takes place via an Xtrac 6-speed, sequential gearbox.
The car complies with the new Super2000 regulations put in place by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which stipulate the use of turbo engines with 1,600 cc displacement and four-wheel drive combined with an increased emphasis on road relevant technologies. The result is a significant 25 per cent reduction in overall costs.
Prodrive has been working on developing the MINI Countryman WRC since early 2009. The company was formed in 1984 by Richards, who won the World Rally Championship as co-driver to Ari Vatanen (FI) three years earlier. Prodrive will assist MINI’s WRC to prepare separate Countryman WRC models for privateer teams.
To ease the Countryman WRC into the rallying community, it will compete in just six of the 13 scheduled rounds for 2011 before undertaking a full season in 2012.
At the Paris Motor Show, it was also confirmed that reigning IRC champion Kris Meeke, 31, would be behind the wheel in its debut season.