Mini officially launches WRC team and car (+video)

Mini officially launches WRC team and car (+video)

Mini’s re-entry on to the international rallying scene has now reached fever pitch with the official launch of the team less than a month ahead of its first WRC event, the Rally d’Italia Sardegna (May 5 – 8). In an event held at the company’s plant in Oxford, England, the all-new Mini WRC Team unveiled its two Countryman-based Mini John Cooper Works WRC cars, and introduced its drivers/co-drivers for 2011.

Using the Countryman as a base, the MINI WRC car was a team effort between Prodrive and BMW Motorsport. BMW sorted out the 1.6-litre turbo engine, which was built to comply with FIA Super 2000 regulations, including the World Touring Car Championship. Prodrive will run the MINI works team on a daily basis and will also supply customer cars to other teams, in both WRC or S2000 guise.

Mini’s main objective in its debut season is to gain experience and prepare to take on a full 2012 season. This year the team will compete in six events: Rally Italy (May 5 – 8), Rally Finland (July 28 – 31), Rally Germany (August 18 – 21), Rally France (September 29 – October 2), Rally Spain (October 20 – 23) and Rally Great Britain (November 10 – 13).

The wheel men controlling the two cars will be Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo, with co-drivers Paul Nagle and Carlos Del Barrio respectively.

“We have an experienced team, a talented driver pairing and, most importantly of all, a strong partnership with MINI. We are now eagerly looking forward to demonstrating the performance of the car on its debut in Sardinia in just a few weeks,” said David Richards, Prodrive CEO.

Mini’s milestones in the WRC include three Monte Carlo Rally wins back in 1964, 1965 and 1967, with Paddy Hopkirk, Timo Mäkinen and Rauno Aaltonen respectively, each behind the wheel of the classic Mini Cooper S.

Check out images of the Mini WRC Team car below and a short video.

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