2011 – MINI AWD Turbo lines up in the FIA WRC in 2011.

MINI WRC TEAM. Press Kit.

  • 18.03.2011
  • Press Kit

The legend returns: MINI lines up in the FIA WRC in 2011.

The legend returns: MINI lines up in the FIA WRC in 2011.
Munich, 1st March 2011. The countdown is on to the return of MINI on the international
motorsport stage. This season, the new MINI WRC Team will compete at selected rounds in the
FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The aim is to gain valuable experience, in order to be
perfectly prepared for the complete 2012 World Championship season. The MINI John Cooper
Works WRC has been developed by Prodrive, based on the MINI Countryman. It is equipped
with a 1.6-litre turbo engine derived from the MINI production models, which was developed by
BMW Motorsport for use in series run according to FIA Super2000 regulations, including the
World Touring Car Championship. Beside its works involvement with the MINI John Cooper
Works WRC, Prodrive is supplying customer cars to private rally teams.
“The FIA World Rally Championship is the pinnacle of rallying, making it the ideal platform for
demonstrating the competitive spirit of our brand,” says Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of
Management, Sales and Marketing BMW Group. “Experience is a very important factor in
motorsport. For that reason it is essential we learn as much as possible within a very short time,
in order to make up ground on our rivals. The new regulations mean the gap to the top is smaller
than it would have been at another time. We want to annoy the opposition as soon as possible.”
The MINI WRC Team will be putting its faith in experienced drivers when it faces up to the
challenge of the WRC for the first time in 2011. Kris Meeke (GB) and his co-driver Paul Nagle (IR)
have proven their ability in impressive style, listing the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge
(IRC) title as just one of their achievements. Daniel “Dani” Sordo (ES), who will compete
alongside his new co-driver Carlos del Barrio (ES) in 2011, has many years of World
Championship experience. Twenty nine podium finishes from 84 starts in the WRC just go to
show the former Citroën works driver has what it takes to battle it out at the top.
Rallying is far from new territory for MINI. In the past, success in this popular motorsport
discipline has played a crucial role in defining the brand’s image. Three victories at the Rally
Monte Carlo in the 1960s made the Mini Cooper S a true legend. Mini also competed in the
European Rally Championship, where it once again notched up countless triumphs.
“MINI can look back on a successful tradition in rallying,” says Dr Wolfgang Armbrecht, Senior
Vice President Brand Management MINI. “Even up to the present day, there is a core group
within the MINI community for which MINI and motorsport just belong together. The WRC
provides an excellent communications platform for the MINI Countryman, upon which the MINI
John Cooper Works WRC is based.”
The MINI WRC Team has now completed thousands of kilometres of exhaustive testing as part
of an intensive development programme for the MINI John Cooper Works WRC, with further
sessions planned ahead of the team’s debut on Rally Italia in early May. The car to be used in the
2011 FIA World Rally Championship will be presented at the official Team Launch on 11th April
2011 at the MINI Plant Oxford.
Prodrive, an experienced motorsport operation, was chosen as the partner in the quest to
continue the brand’s success story. The company, founded by David Richards, is viewed as one
of the most respected and successful in rallying. “This project is a truly passionate opportunity,”
believes Richards. “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. We aim to use 2011 as a preparatory year, amassing experience in
order to ensure we are fully competitive from the start of the following season. But let’s not
underestimate the task ahead of us or the stiff competition we will face on the way. However, our
target is firmly set on winning the World Championship title again with MINI.”
Prodrive was founded in 1984, and has established itself as one of motorsport’s leading
independent teams. Currently employing about 500 staff, the company is based in Banbury (GB).
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.
The MINI Countryman is the youngest MINI model and also the first to be equipped with an allwheel-
drive system. Therefore this model provided the logical basis for a competitive rally
derivative. The flagship MINI Cooper S Countryman is powered by a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol
engine, supplemented not only by a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection, but also
fully variable valve management – so offering by far the best relationship between engine power
and fuel consumption in its class. The engine produces an impressive 135 kW / 184 bhp, and
accelerates the MINI Cooper S Countryman from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds.
As part of the MINIMALISM concept, a range of fuel- and emission-reducing features are fitted
as standard and/or in appropriate 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; under
extreme conditions up to 100 per cent, offering a new, high-traction rendition of the agile
handling so typical of MINI.
“MINI powered by BMW Motorsport”: The heart of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC is the
1.6-litre, four-cylinder Di turbo engine, which is also available in the MINI production models. The
production engine was further developed by BMW Motorsport for the use in various categories
according to FIA Super2000 regulations. The power transmission takes place via an Xtrac 6-
speed, sequential gearbox. For its outings on the rally stages, the MINI Countryman chassis has
been fitted with a roll cage developed by Prodrive, which exceeds the strict safety requirements
of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

Prodrive, an experienced motorsport operation, was chosen as the partner in the quest tocontinue the brand’s success story. The company, founded by David Richards, is viewed as oneof the most respected and successful in rallying. “This project is a truly passionate opportunity,”believes Richards. “MINI is a cult brand which left a lasting impression during its previousmotorsport campaigns. We are both extremely happy and proud to be on board as a partnerwhen MINI returns to rallying. We aim to use 2011 as a preparatory year, amassing experience inorder to ensure we are fully competitive from the start of the following season. But let’s notunderestimate the task ahead of us or the stiff competition we will face on the way. However, ourtarget is firmly set on winning the World Championship title again with MINI.”Prodrive was founded in 1984, and has established itself as one of motorsport’s leadingindependent teams. Currently employing about 500 staff, the company is based in Banbury (GB).Among other successes, Prodrive has to date won six World Rally Championships, five BritishTouring Car titles, and scored three class victories in France’s classic Le Mans 24 Hours.The MINI Countryman is the youngest MINI model and also the first to be equipped with an allwheel-drive system. Therefore this model provided the logical basis for a competitive rallyderivative. The flagship MINI Cooper S Countryman is powered by a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrolengine, supplemented not only by a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection, but alsofully variable valve management – so offering by far the best relationship between engine powerand fuel consumption in its class. The engine produces an impressive 135 kW / 184 bhp, andaccelerates the MINI Cooper S Countryman from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds.As part of the MINIMALISM concept, a range of fuel- and emission-reducing features are fittedas standard and/or in appropriate combinations, including Brake Energy Regeneration, the AutoStart/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 withpermanent MINI ALL4 all-wheel drive, with an electro-hydraulic differential positioned directly onthe final drive varying the distribution from front to rear in an infinite process. Under normaldriving conditions up to 50 per cent of the engine’s power goes to the rear wheels; underextreme conditions up to 100 per cent, offering a new, high-traction rendition of the agilehandling so typical of MINI.“MINI powered by BMW Motorsport”: The heart of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC is the1.6-litre, four-cylinder Di turbo engine, which is also available in the MINI production models. Theproduction engine was further developed by BMW Motorsport for the use in various categoriesaccording to FIA Super2000 regulations. The power transmission takes place via an Xtrac 6-speed, sequential gearbox. For its outings on the rally stages, the MINI Countryman chassis hasbeen fitted with a roll cage developed by Prodrive, which exceeds the strict safety requirementsof the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

Meticulous development work the key to success.

The MINI John Cooper Works WRC has been developed by Prodrive, based on the production

model of the MINI Countryman, and complies with the new regulations enforced by the

International Automobile Federation (FIA). The development started back in 2009 when Prodrive

assembled a team of engineers, which was given complete freedom to design a new rally car.

The goal was to gain a precise idea of what the ideal car must look like, in accordance with the

new rules.

The engineers focussed on analysis for the initial months. Every minute detail of a rally car was

mapped mathematically. This work produced some interesting results, which had a fundamental

influence on the subsequent approach when designing the MINI John Cooper Works WRC and

on the allocation of technical resources at Prodrive. The company examined more than a dozen

cars from a variety of different manufacturers, measuring key areas such as wheel base, centre of

gravity, weight, tread width, etc.

After performing detailed measurements on the production model of the MINI Countryman, it

soon became clear to the Prodrive engineers this car would provide an excellent basis for a WRC

car. MINI shared all the essential data with the colleagues in Banbury, so that Prodrive could

apply the general design they had come up with previously to this car. One of the key

requirements of the development team was to keep the servicing effort required for the MINI

John Cooper Works WRC to an absolute minimum for private teams, without causing high

maintenance costs. At the same time, the performance should not be compromised. Twenty five

to 30 models will be manufactured per year – a relatively high number by motorsport standards.

For this reason, Prodrive had to ensure the car could also be run easily and economically at

remote locations around the world.

The result of these endeavours is the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. From an engineering point

of view, its design is extremely linear and simple. Prodrive invested a lot of time and effort to

achieve this. Among other features, all four uprights are interchangeable as are the anti-roll bars.

This means customer teams require relatively few spare parts in order to run their cars. In

addition, the car also offers many other innovations. These include the design of the roll cage,

which makes the MINI John Cooper Works WRC extremely safe.

“I am very proud of what our team of engineers has been able to achieve,” says David Richards.

“By combining the experience of David Lapworth our technical director, who has been with

Prodrive since the very beginning, with the inspiration and new ideas from a team of young

engineers we have been able to produce a radically new car. However, let’s not underestimate

the challenge that faces us as I’m sure our competitors are working equally hard on their new

cars for 2011, but if you are going to be a new entrant to any championship, there is no better

time to join than when there’s a new set of technical regulations and a new tyre supplier.”

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