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Based on the new MINI Countryman: MINI WRC
Six 2011 FIA WRC rallies before its full 2012 season

MINI WRC: back to the world rally championship.

06 October 2010: It is in the city of light (Ville Lumière) that the MINI WRC was presented to the public before it goes to the tracks of the FIA World Rally Championship next year in the hands of Kris Meeke (GB).

As the 2010 Mondial de l'Automobile (Paris motor show, public days from 2 to 17 October) hosted the world premiere of the MINI WRC, the BMW owned British brand declared that the development of the new rally car started last year on the Countryman basis.

“The FIA World Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying, making it the ideal platform for demonstrating the competitive spirit of our brand... The MINI Countryman production model provided the ideal basis for our new world championship challenger”, said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing.

The MINI WRC is based on the MINI Countryman.

After contesting in six of the 13 scheduled rounds in 2011, the MINI WRC will compete in the full 2012 season.

 MINI WRC

The MINI WRC gets the BMW Motorsport-developed 1.6 litre, four-cylinder Di turbo-charged engine with an Xtrac 6-speed, sequential gearbox. The engine is also available for other championships running to the FIA’s Super2000 regulations.

The new rally car recently received its baptism of fire with the initial testing at Prodrive’s rally track in England. Prodrive will also provide customer versions to independent teams for use in the championship.

 Prodrive

Preparatory 2011 year,  followed by title ambitions for 2012. 

Founded by David Richards in 1984, the Prodrive motorsport expert company was chosen to revive MINI’s rallying success. “MINI is a cult brand which left a lasting impression during its previous motorsport campaigns... we aim to use 2011 as a preparatory year, amassing experience (to be) fully competitive from the start of the following season... our target is firmly set on winning the World Championship title again with MINI.” says Richards.

It is worth mentioning here that in the sixties, the MINI Cooper S was very successful with several victories on Rally Monte Carlo.

MINI WRC: BMW Motorsport 1.6 litre, four-cylinder Di turbo.

Based in Banbury (GB), Prodrive currently employs over 500 staff. Among other successes, Prodrive has to date won six World Rally Championships, five British Touring Car titles, and scored three class victories in France’s classic Le Mans 24 Hours.

 Kris Meeke

Kris Meeke, who has been confirmed as the first driver to compete for Prodrive in the MINI WRC, won the British Junior Rally Championship in 2002. With support from his long-term mentor and former rally world champion, the late Colin McRae (GB), Meeke established himself on the rally scene. The Northern Irishman celebrated his most recent success last year, when he won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in a Peugeot 207 S2000 (Team Peugeot UK).

 MINI Cooper S Countryman

As the youngest MINI model and also the first to be equipped with an all-wheel-drive system, the MINI Countryman provided the logical basis for a competitive rally derivative.

Baptism of fire: initial testing with Prodrive in England.

The MINI Cooper S Countryman is powered by a 1,6-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, with a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection, as well as a fully variable valve management. The engine produces 135 kW (184 hp, 181 bhp), and accelerates the MINI Cooper S Countryman from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds.

As part of the MINIMALISM concept, several fuel- and emission-reducing features are fitted as standard and/or in specific combinations, including Brake Energy Regeneration, the Auto Start/Stop function, Shift Point Display and the need-based operation of ancillary components.

All MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI Cooper D Countryman are optionally available with permanent MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive, with an electro-hydraulic differential positioned directly on the final drive, varying the distribution from front to rear in an infinite process.

Under normal driving conditions up to 50 per cent of the engine’s power goes to the rear wheels (up to 100 per cent in difficult situations).

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