Rumor: MINI to Join WRC with Countryman?

Autocar and British publication Motorsport News are reporting that BMW is seriously considering entering the World Rally Championship (WRC) with the upcoming Countryman. This ties in very nicely with the report that MINI has green-lit a special motorsport version of the Countryman that would be even more powerful and focused than the JCW model.

The Motorsport Sport news quotes a source within the WRC saying that MINI executives had a “very postitive response” to the series. Additionally 1960’s rally legend (and MINI ambassador) Paddy Hopkirk was quotes as saying, “Everything they do they do well. If there is aproblem they will throw more money at it until they get it right. Without the [BMW Sauber] F1 project there could be more money to do that.”

Considering the timing of the Countryman model cycle and the availability of the “über” JCW Countryman, we wouldn’t expect anything before 2011.

+ MINI Linked to Rally Return / Autocar

  • James Irmiger

    FINALY! I’ve been waiting for MINI to have something that met WRC specs. I’m giddy with anticipation for the homologated road model, though they really will have to turn up the heat to knock off Citroen.

  • robble

    I love the MINI brand but to pit it against an STI in an offroad race? gulp

  • JonPD

    Would be a interesting concept, still rather sad that the highest performance model of the brand is forming up to being a 4 door micro suv.

    Still could be a decent car for WRC although not exactly the thing I would like to have people think of when they think about performance in the Mini brand.

  • Brian

    MINI SAV AWD Turbo Diesel 300lb/ft torque. It would be a sales home run.

    I guarantee it now, i’m on record.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1238400603 Jack Mosher

    THIS WOULD BE SO COOL!! Finally, MINI’s rightful return to proper rallying! I can tell you right now I’d be absolutely hooked on every event, every race, every stage… everything. Totally sweet!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=780739777 Chris Harte

    I would’ve thought BMW would compete before Mini. Also I think the R53 was 4″ too short (read that somewhere long ago). Wouldn’t a “SAV” be in a different class?

  • Jack07734

    Back when everyone was complaining about how usless a AWD MINI would be I said “Think WRC”

    I guess this is the time that I say I told you so. :)

    Happy Motoring, Jack

  • Steve S

    Sounds interesting but if a JCW clubman is about 40k with options what is a motorsport version of the countryman going to run 45k? It’s going to need at least 300hp to keep up with a stock Evo or STI. A clubman is only 300-400lbs light as it is, make it bigger and add AWD and there you go. Really curious to see what engine they put in it, the S motor just isn’t big enough.

  • http://www.lilcoopr.com lilcoopr
    I love the MINI brand but to pit it against an STI in an offroad race? gulp

    I have faith in MINI that if they are going to attempt this, they know their competition and feel that they have a serious chance of success. Just look at Targa Newfoundland as an example.

    This is really exciting news. I love that MINI has been focusing on performance aspects of the brand and with the collapse of the BMW F1 team, there will be much more focus and dedication afforded to such an endeavor.

  • Chris B.

    Would be a fantastic marketing strategy for not just the new SAV but the MINI brand. Look at how participating in WRC has elevated perceptions of Subaru and it’s engineering now how as well as it’s cars. This would get people to take MINI more seriously than just a cute, eco friendly car company owned by BMW. More people will associate MINI with performance beyond just those “in the know”.

  • JonPD

    Just wait for a Mini SUV to become the model people think of as a Mini performance car and then the JCW cars are just going to be cute street girl cars lol. It will be fun though to watch and see if this happens.

    Pretty sure BMW is aiming their brand away from myself these days but to each their own.

  • KPH

    Sadly WRC is under the radar in the U.S., but world wide is another story. If BMW is willing to invest in rally there’s no better test track than sideways at 100+ on some Finnish logging road. The whole car gets tested, tweaked, seriously played with and the results passed on to us, albeit trickled down. As mentioned, where would Subaru, Mitsubishi, et al be without past association with WRC? What better venue for the 4 cyl cars? In WRC these cars are THE draw. As exciting a rumor as this is I’m with Robble. The anxiety factor during the MINI learning curve would require medication. Or perhaps not.

  • Axel

    True be it Subaru and Mitsubishis 4 doors rule that area, hence, Mini Countryman also has 4 doors, but for them to be able to compete I suggest as others here, put in the 2 liter turbo Diesel and then they can look at these big guys otherwise DONT EVEN TRY IT!!!!

  • eto

    I’ve wondered from the beginning if the Countryman would be MINIs entry into WRC. It is the right platform and would bring MINI back into the motorsports world that made people see it as more than a tiny people-mover. It will be interesting to watch how this aspect of the MINI that everyone hates evolves.

  • eager2own

    all of a sudden I’m loving the Countryman

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1134606899 Dean Cory

    Hmm Countryman to WRC. HMMMM!!!!!! What is next? Countryman in the Dakar race?

    Maybe there is a reason to love the behemoth after all?!?!?!

    It does make sense that BMW will have BILLIONS to throw at WRC/Dakar it since they quit Formula One and aren’t going to NASCAR!

    But then again the Boys at WHITE ROOF RADIO seem to know more about what BMW/MINI is doing than the chaps in Germany!

    Danica Patrick Wins the Pepsi 400 in her Go Daddy BMW 5 series.

  • bee1000

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/77631 : “World Rally cars, 2011 onwards, will run with 1.6-litre turbocharged engines”

    I couldn’t remember what was going on with WRC regulations, but Autosport published that quote last week. It certainly wouldn’t be a negative for Mini.

  • dr

    I half expected the brandies to say that rally isn’t true to the brand..ha…but to see so many doubters of success, This I am a bit surprised by.

    I love the MINI brand but to pit it against an STI in an offroad race?
    True be it Subaru and Mitsubishis 4 doors rule that area, hence, Mini Countryman also has 4 doors, but for them to be able to compete I suggest as others here, put in the 2 liter turbo Diesel and then they can look at these big guys otherwise DONT EVEN TRY IT!!!!

    I can only imagine that similar things were said when Mini came to race in 1963….and oh how the giants fell!

  • nickmini

    Let’s win the Monte Carlo Rally again with 4 driving lights! Go Mini!

  • Vanwall

    The original Mini rally cars won because they were designed for, and entered in, specific classes in an elaborate handicap scheme the rulemakers came up with to encourage a broad spectrum of entries – BMC was very clever in figuring out what it took to win, and eaily had the best organization and drivers. The Monte isn’t the same anymore since they deleted the compulsory figures, anyway. The handicap was tweaked eventually enough to make rallying and winning in a Mini a pretty impossible proposition, and much more to Ford’s Escort and the Porsche 911’s benefit, who promptly became the de facto powers. MINI is on a much more even playing field this time, and that’s acually harder to compete in. It would nice to see another Monte win, tho.

  • Sideways Eh!

    Come all you haters and nay-sayers…come to the darkside of the MINI brand…I have been preaching this ever since we first heard of the MINI SAV…I kept thinking DAKAR…WRC…now it looks as if those dreams of seeing MINI go up against the rest of the rallying world are starting to come true! Oh you better believe! the mighty MINI will become victorious once again!

  • M_POWER

    Why do people bring up EVO and STI? Don’t understand it….Mitsubishi pulled out of WRC bunch of years ago, there are no signs it is ever coming back. Subaru had its last year in 2008, so Subaru IS NOT competing in WRC. At the moment, we have buch of Ford Focus teams battling it out with several Citroen teams. Also, diesels, as far as I know are not allowed (or at least with current technology it would seem foolish to use them)….While I am sure BMW can cook up the 2.0l turbo engine past 300hp, not so sure they could come up with a solid AWD system to match current competitors. But then again, who would have predicted Citroen would have a run they had in past 5-6 years with S. Loeb? Citroen hasn’t had a AWD in any of it’s models since 80s I think….Also, I am pretty sure that BMW’s engine should have to be a non-Prince motor, since using a Prince would I am sure be vetoed by PSA (who run Citroen)….

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