From time to time the question comes up, “why doesn't MINI take part in the WRC (World Rally Championship). They took place in it's equivalent in the 60's and were obviously quite successful. Wouldn't it be a great way to bridge the two models both classic and new? Well Stuart from the BMW Group recently explained (in an answer to a comment on Bridger.us/MINI) what some of the reasoning is behind not being involved in the WRC at the moment:
“The current car is too short, it would have to be grown by a good bit, and we'd have to make 5000 to that spec in order to fulfill the rules and regs of homologation and type approval. Aerodynamic aids could, if built in to the body, be the answer. So if 5000 of you want to volunteer to be owners of MINI WRC cars, then it might be possible I guess. Oh yes they might cost a little more then a current 'S'.”
Another reason may also be the enormous amount of money that BMW spends on it's F1 program as well as taking all those M3s racing across the US and the rest of the world. Of course this is not to mention all the 3 series touring cars that BMW supports in Europe. So with all that in mind the MINI going racing might just be considered a bit low on the totem pole for BMW these days.
I suppose it also begs the question what percentage of MINI owners actually follow the WRC. It's certainly becoming more popular in the US due to the SpeedChannel's coverage but is it enough to justify what must be substantial start-up costs when you know that one of your largest markets simply doesn't get it? Beyond that a homologized WRC MINI for sale to the public would have to be all-wheel drive (using BMW's xDrive maybe) and would probably need to pack at least 300hp. Tempting?