Racers take note, looks like MINI is getting serious about Racing (from 4Car):

>Until now, competitive race series such as the John Cooper Challenge have been run on a country-by-country basis, but BMW is considering a series of linked international series, all to the same template. There are plans for Mini racing championships in Asia (a pan-Asian series with events in Japan, Indonesia, China and Hong Kong) and North America, and there is also interest in smaller-scale championships in countries including Italy, Belgium and Spain.

>All the championships will use the 2008 Mini racer, which will be “more extreme” than the current motorsport-adapted Cooper S, according to a project insider, and “more professional, more like a proper racing car.” It will be more like the car used in the German Mini Challenge than the British John Cooper Challenge car: it will not be road-legal, and it will have more sophisticated aerodynamic features, such as a diffuser-type rear spoiler. It will be completely stripped-out to just seats, basic instruments and a roll cage, and will feature necessary additions such as fire extinguishers and track-to-pit radios.

[ Motorsports: MINI Prepares “More Extreme” Racer ] 4Car