We’re less than a week away from what looks to be the largest MINI event ever in the US and we’re happy to present you final details on routes and events courtesy of MINI USA. Both PDFs are available to view below:
Official Release: Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel drives a MINI Countryman during his stay in Budapest at the F1 Grand Prix. The car having its market launch only in September was offered to Sebastian by BMW Group Hungary. The driver currently 4th in the World Championship was happy to have the car at his disposal â€“ he sat excitedly into the new MINI model and drove straight to the Hungaroring from the airport. The black MINI Cooper S Countryman was delivered from the new modelâ€™s international media launch to Budapest to be Sebatianâ€™s companion on the Hungarian roads and was handed over by Henning Putzke, Managing Director of BMW Group Hungary. continued →
Britain’s Autocar is reporting that Prodrive boss David Richards would ideally like a British driver behind the wheel of the Countryman WRC:
“The driver choice will be down to Mini and ourselves,” said Richards. “Mini doesn’t really seem to have a preference on driver choice or where they’re from, but I’ve always had a patriotic streak in me and it’s well documented that Prodrive has had success with British drivers before. It’d certainly have appeal if we were to take a third British driver to a world title, and in a British car.”
Reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Kris Meeke and Skoda UK IRC driver Guy Wilks seem to be favorites with Meeke being the front runner given his highly rated skill.
Yeah, a heady claim. But we aim to back it up with over 400 photos of the new MINI Crossover. For full details on the R60 and our review, click over to the MotoringFile R60 section. And don’t be afraid to dig into a few pages, there are lots of details on the car that stretch back since the launch six months ago including some behind the scenes shot at the recent photo shoot and a look at the earliest design sketches.
The full gallery is above. The new photos are after the break. And be sure to check out the behind the scenes photos on pages 5 and 6 of the gallery below.
(Updated) It’s official, MINI is making a comeback on the international rally circuit. Starting in 2011, MINI will compete in selected rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and will go on to contest the entire season from 2012 onwards. Sources are telling us that MINI has made a 3-4 year commitment (to start) with the program. This are the first official steps back into the highest levels of rally racing since MINI won the Monte Carlo 1,000 Lakes Rally and Acropolis Rally in 1967.
But what about the established players in the WRC? Does MINI even have a chance? The short answer is more of a chance than you’d think. There are two big things in MINI’s favor. First are the WRC regulations that will effectively level the playing field and introduce a new engine configuration (more on that in a minute). The second is the fact that the Countryman WRC is being built by Prodrive, the most successful rally outfit of the past 20 years. You can read more about Prodrive here in our recent feature on the company: “Why the Prodrive WRC MINI Countryman is Important“
As expected the car that will be competing is the MINI Countryman WRC and as we’ve reported it is being developed by Prodrive. The race car (design in close cooperation with MINI) will be heavily based on the production Countryman. But here’s where it gets even more interesting. At the heart of the racing car is a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo-charged engine from BMW Motorsport. The car complies with the new Super2000 regulations put in place by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which stipulate the use of turbo engines with 1,600 cc displacement and four-wheel drive combined with an increased emphasis on road relevant technologies over previous WRC regulations. The result is a significant 25 per cent reduction in overall costs. The first test drive for the MINI Countryman WRC, which will also be available to customer teams, is planned for autumn 2010.
That last bit shouldn’t go unnoticed. We expect several privateer teams to invest into the MINI Countryman WRC and run the cars alongside MINI.
Drivers linked to the car are rumored to be Norwegian rally protege Mads Ostberg and rally legend Marcus Gronholm.
One final thing. If you like the look of this car stay tuned. Rumors persist that MINI will build a special edition JCW Countryman WRC with similar looks and surprising performance.
Official Press Release: This decision sees MINI continue its success story in the world of rallying. In the 1960s, the MINI Cooper S caused a sensation with victories at the legendary Monte Carlo Rally. The company also tasted success on many occasions in the European Rally Championship. Having already demonstrated the sporty character of its models in many countries in the MINI CHALLENGE, the brand is now taking its presence in motorsport to a new level with the commitment to the WRC.
BMW Group announced today it will be the Official Mobility Partner of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) from now through 2016. In fact every BMW & MINI dealer BMW is literally raising the Olympic flag to celebrate this long-term commitment starting tomorrow morning. That’s how big BMW is viewing this partnership. BMW Group will also be the Official Mobility Partner of four National Governing Bodies (NGBs): USA Bobsled & Skeleton, US Speedskating, USA Swimming and USA Track & Field.
Official Release: Jack Pitney, Vice President of Marketing for BMW of North America, USOC Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird and short track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno, the most decorated U.S. winter Olympian of all time, were all in New York City to make the partnership announcement.
1st Gen MINI R50: One & MC Hatch R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt. R53: MCS Hatch 2nd Gen MINI R55: Clubman R56: Hatch R57: Convertible R58: Coupe R59: Roadster R60: MINI Crossover R61: MINI Crossover Coupe 3rd Gen MINI F54: Clubman F55: Five Door Hatch F56: Hatch F57: Convertible F60: MINI Crossover F58: Traveller
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