Mini launches world rally car in Paris
* Mini WRC is based on the new Countryman * Will compete in six rounds of next years World Rally Championship * Developed by six-times World Rally champions Prodrive...
Mini chose the Paris show to unveil the car that it will campaign in next years World Rally Championship.
The Mini WRC is based on the new Countryman and has been developed by Prodrive, a company already with six World Rally Championships to its name.
The two chose the Countryman as the basis for the rally car, as it was the first Mini to be available with four-wheel drive and suited the requirements of Prodrive, who had been looking for a suitable car for the 2011 championship.
To compete in the event, the rally car has permanent four-wheel drive and is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine that drives through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
The new car will compete in six of the 13 rounds of the championship in 2011, gaining vital experience before competing in the full season the following year.
The first driver to be confirmed is Kris Meeke, who won the British Junior Rally Championship in 2002 and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge last year.
For Mini, its a return to past glories. The Mini Cooper S became a legend through its numerous victories on the Rally Monte Carlo. Mini also notched up serial successes in the European Rally Championship.
Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing at BMW, said: The FIA World Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying, making it the ideal platform for demonstrating the competitive spirit of our brand.
Prodrive boss David Richards said: I firmly believe the new Mini WRC car will capture the imagination of todays generation of rally fans just as it did in 1964 and, as it did then, this interest will spread well beyond the world of motorsport.