Autocar recently caught up with the Head of MINI Stefanie Wurst on the topic of the MINI brand and its support for for motorsports. For those that don’t know MINI has been apart of several racing series since the brand’s relaunch in 2001 including the incredibly entertaining MINI Challenge spec series that has raced in Europe and Japan for years. But with there brand going electric, what could the future of MINI’s racing program be?
Autocar put the question to Wurst at the Munich IAA Motorshow and got some insight into what’s potentially on the table; “We don’t have the big budgets so we have to be inventive. It’s about looking at which kind of platforms can we credibly participate in to emphasise the go-kart feeling and the electric future of the brand” She said.
It’s a prudent response that shows that MINI is clearly looking at continuing Motorsports involvement but in new ways.
She went on, “There are two options. Either we say the MINI Challenge is a format we have to expand to new markets in the future, or we participate in one of the new electric platforms. This is the choice we have to make. What kind of engagement is the right one for us? If it’s one that we own [MINI Challenge] then we would have to export it more: we have it in the UK and Japan, but big markets like China are lacking. I would like to have a more unified strategy.”
It’s great point she makes and one that is even more obvious in North America, one of MINI’s largest markets. Outside of the successful JCW Racing Team (which MINI USA supports, there’s no large-scale MINI visibility in the motorsports. Owning a series like the MINI Challenge surely costs more but that does give brand an opportunity to both control the show and market it from holistically.
What do you think? Should MINI continue to go racing as it transforms into an electric brand or should it stick with ICE race cars as long as it can?