Rumor: BMW Set to Terminate Prodrive Relationship

MINI Countryman WRC

Autosport is reporting that MINI is set terminate its relationship with Prodrive and take over the WRC team going forward. Here’s an excerpt from Autosport:

The BMW Group is expected to terminate its contract with Prodrive tomorrow, ending the Banbury firm’s involvement in the Mini World Rally Team – and casting doubt over the future of the programme.

AUTOSPORT’s sources have confirmed the decision to end the Anglo-German alliance. AUTOSPORT has been unable to get confirmation from BMW in Munich, but sources within the firm have confirmed the end is imminent for what has been a short and unhappy partnership.

You can read more at Autosport

  • JonPD

    I hope this rumor is false. Pro-drive is the best in the business when it comes to rallying imo. I know their relationship has been contentious so sadly could be true. Still guess it could work out as at least MINI would still have the Pro-Drive MINI to race (yes I know that BMW Motorsports did do some of the development, though I expect Pro-Drive with tons of rally experience had sizable input.

  • Mjh93sa

    I second that sentiment. Prodrive have achieved wonders in a short time with the car and have an incredible history in rallying and with BMW. Don’t forget that they were responsible for the M3 rally cars of the 80s and the only WRC win for the M3. Having toured the Prodrive facility, the amount of investment that they have made in jigs, tooling and supporting this programme is immense. The customer car development alone must have been bringing in much needed money and development feedback as well.

    Money is tight everywhere, and should this prove to be true I would guess that this is the real root cause. With the likes of Ford losing their title sponsors it’s not an easy time for rallying. If you look at the MINI WRC through last year you can see that they were even chasing sponsors on a race by race basis, so tight was cash.

  • JonPD

    Does make me wonder if BMW/MINI it thinking about throwing their money behind Motorsport Italia who recently had  the good results in their R60 at Monte Carlo. Would be sad to see MINI move from the English team to a Italian from a heritage perspective. (of course that maybe is not a worry since the Austrian built R60 is rather lacking in that same reguard 😉 ) since they had the recent goo

  • Anonymous

    Love to be a speck on the wall.

  • Bob Hayhurst

    Oh, the politics of money. Sorry to see the team fall by the wayside. Dani Sordo had come into his own and somewhat eclipsed Kris Meeks in earlier races. It seems we won’t know how that would have played out although I’m sure Meeks and Sordo both have bright futures.

  • Dr Obnxs

    This is sad if true. MINI has never really been behind those that race the car. The privateers and the WRC effort were the only serious effort to get any performance cred for the brand. Backing out of this stuff will do more to relegate the brand to stuff like the “openometer” instead of the performance levels that the chassis can provide.

    Let’s hope there is a lot of action in the new B-Spec stuff as that looks like it could be an affordable hoot!

  • JonPD

    See more info has hit the web and looks like this rumor is sadly true.

  • MaxMCS

    This is easily one of the stupidest things BMW could possibly do. Just when everybody was getting excited and the whole thing was beginning to make some headway, they’re going to shut it down? Bad, bad move, guys. Really disappointed here.