The new and exciting MINI WRC was unveiled in Paris at the Paris Motorshow this week. The new MINI WRC which will be run by Prodrive in next years FIA World Rally Championship is equipped with Öhlins dampers. This also marks Öhlins Racings return to the WRC.
The new car also marks MINI:s return to top world rallying where MINI once shaped the image of the brand.
– MINI can look back on a successful tradition in rallying, says Dr Wolfgang Ambrecht, Senior Vice President Brand Management MINI in a pressrelease. The interest in motorsport among the present generation of MINI customers is massive. The WRC provides an excellent communications platform for the MINI Countryman, upon which the MINI WRC is based.
Prodrive was chosen as the partner for the MINI programme. The company is founded by David Richards and is viewed as one of the most respected and successful in rallying.
– This project is a truly passionate opportunity, Richards says. MINI is a cult brand which left a lasting impression during its previous motorsport campaigns. We are both extremely happy and proud to be on board as a partner when MINI returns to rallying.
MINI will contest selected rounds during 2011 as they use next year as a preparatory year for a full season in WRC 2012. For Öhlins Racings this means a return to WRC, an important step for the Öhlins as they are further increasing the rallying success and experience of the company.
– We are delighted to be back in WRC and to be able to return with Prodrive and such a strong brand as the MINI, says Johnny Bräster, Vice President at Öhlins Racing. Rallying has always been an important area for Öhlins Racing where we have had a lot of success and for us this is the restart of an increased presence in the rally world. We are looking forward and are committed to be a contributing factor to the success of this project.
The first driver chosen for the project is Northern Irishman Kris Meeke. He won the British Junior Rally Championship in 2002 and recently won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) last year. He is the first driver confirmed to drive the MINI WRC Countryman powered by 1,6-litre four cylinder Di turbo-charged engine. The car has already undergone a first initial test.