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The more we hear about Mini's quest to run the Countryman in the World Rally Championship, the less and less it sounds like a publicity stunt. The company has just finished testing its prototype rally beater at Prodrive's private test facility, putting the car through its paces over four days and multiple road surfaces. According to Mini, most of the abuse took place on a tarmac circuit, though the team did spend plenty of time getting the car situated on a few low-grip stages. The R&D was prep for an excursion to Portugal, where the team plans to put the Countryman through a full week of gravel testing.

Despite the psycho-swirly camo, Mini says that the racer is currently wearing "an interim body and aero package" while the minds at Prodrive concoct the final lines. It remains to be seen who the company will come up with to helm its high-riding missile. We're just happy to see Mini back in the WRC. Hit the jump for the brief press release.

[Source: Mini]
Show full PR text
MINI Countryman WRC completes shakedown.

* 09.09.2010
* Press Release

Munich. The new MINI Countryman World Rally Car has successfully completed its shakedown phase at Prodrive's private proving ground in Warwickshire.

This initial part of the car's test and development programme took place with the engineering team driving the car over four days, primarily on tarmac, but also including several kilometres on loose surfaces and Prodrive's low grip facility. The car will now travel to Portugal for a week of testing on gravel.

"As with any totally new car, it is vital to take time to ensure all the systems are working as intended before embarking on a week long gravel test," said David Lapworth, Prodrive technical director.

This first test car is running with an interim body and aero package, while design of the final World Rally Car bodywork is underway.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm skeptical...
        • 4 Years Ago
        0-60 in over 10 seconds stock? why should you be, bwahahahahaha.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not. Mini should do just fine in WRC, and I'm sure it'll be a very competitive spec car.

        Just don't expect it to run against a WRX or 911 on the track...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @zamafir - right, because every vehicle in the WRC is a bone stock base model...
      • 4 Years Ago
      This ought to be interesting. Kudos to Mini for following through and further more, doing something other companies wouldn't have done. All these compliments are to be taken witha grain of salt however. If this still turns out to be a one season thing done just to promote their car, I take it all back. But if they're in to win, coming back season after season, then there's no reason why they're any less deserving of a winning title than long time players like Ford or Citroen. Besides, after that stupid Mini vs Porsche promo which rubbed a lot of auto enthusiasts the wrong way (myself included), this should help heal their reputation a bit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah, yeah... bring the WRC version I can buy off the lot. Make it a manual, and give me an extra few ponies and a modest body kit. Give it all to me at under $30k and I'll be in line with my checkbook.
      • 4 Years Ago

      MINI:

      Bring a WRC inspired car to market for the masses please.

      Make it small, light, AWD, w/ a conventional manual transmission and priced under $30k and they'll come running to buy it - however, they'll have to get in line behind me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm sure there will be a mass-market version - that was the whole point of the rules changes - to allow the legions of FF cars to sell "WRC"-labeled knock-offs.
        • 4 Years Ago

        JohnHH:

        As long as the Subaru WRX STI qualifies as a 'knock-off' in this regard & the Mini WRC car has similar performance per dollar (or better) I'm on board wholeheartedly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        im waiting for ford to do this with the fiesta/focus in north america, but if mini did it sooner, I too would also be in line
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let's hope it shed a few hundred pounds and threw in at least a turbocharger or two.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh contrary factory endorsed Subies are considered Group A.

        Junior racers who would have used older Subarus are not allowed to compete in the S2000 class but that would not effect Subaru's decision to withdraw.

        The S2000 class was introduced in the 2010 season, while Subaru dropped out for the 2009 season...

        • 4 Years Ago
        It's too bad that WRC changed the rules so that FF cars can even consider being competitive, while properly-engineered cars like Subaru aren't even allowed.

        WRC is a joke now, a pasty shadow of its former self and no longer worthy of being considered a proper successor to the legendary Group B.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ray, please do yours.

        WRC moved to S2000 spec racing format using common drivetrains. Subaru's boxer and symmetrical AWD system are not allowed because they don't conform, so of course they're going to drop out of the format.

        When the WRC outlawed Subaru's engineering, of course Subie leaves the format.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @John

        Please do your research...

        There are still a few Subies competeing in WRC although none of them are factory backed because Subaru itself dropped out of WRC. They say to save money others say it was because they hadn't finished a single rally with a podium finish in years...
        http://www.wrc.com/news/subaru-pulls-out-of-the-wrc/?fid=8541

        Not to mention that this Mini is probably going to be competing in the S2000 class not the open class, where you would find the Subies.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope the WRC car quality is better than the production MINI or they will not even finish a race.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That goes for any car entering a rally, WRC or not. No car goes into a race like that bone stock, and comes out alive on the other end...

        My friend has been racing his 1975 Saab 99, a model which has a pretty storied factory racing history, for about 5 years now. He fabricates and over-engineers everything, and components will still continue to be tested and broken. A rally car goes through more strain in one stage than a typical car probably goes through in it's lifetime.

        I'm talking about things like snapped balljoints, taco'd A-arms, domed suspension towers, bent frames, roll-over damage, melted clutches...
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