Paris Motor Show hosted the world premiere of the MINI 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.
Earlier this week, the a MINI Countryman WRC has been spotted during a test session around a race track in Europe. Despite being fully unveiled at the Paris show, the prototype rally car continues to sport the now-famous psychedelic camouflage seen on BMW and MINI test mules.
MINI Countryman WRC, which is being developed in cooperation with Prodrive is based off the Countryman production 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.
For its outings on the rally stages, the MINI Countryman chassis has been fitted with a roll cage developed by Prodrive, which exceeds the strict safety.
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.
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. Kris Meeke has been confirmed as the first driver to compete for Prodrive in the MINI WRC.