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Filed under: Motorsports, Mini



The road taken by Mini to the World Rally Championship has been anything but smooth. After contesting a handful of rallies last season, Mini and Prodrive (the outfit running the team on the manufacturer's behalf) was set to contest the full calendar this year. But then the team failed to register in time, and dumped the promising driver it had plucked from the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and things did not look good.

Late last week the talk around the motorsport press was that parent company BMW was preparing to pull the plug on the entire program (much as it had with the Sauber team in F1 a few years ago), but while an announcement has been made, it's not nearly as drastic as had been expected.

What Mini has done is downgrade its involvement from full-on works effort (that is, a team fully financed by an automaker) to a works-supported private team. So what does that mean exactly? In practical terms, not very much. Prodrive will continue development of the Mini John Cooper Works WRC car for both the official entry and for additional privateer teams running customer cars in the WRC and other series. And Prodrive seems optimistic that the new arrangement will actually enhance the program, not downgrade it.

What is 100% clear is that BMW wasn't happy with how things were shaping up, so it demanded a change. Just what effect that change will bring, however, seems more confined to the relationship between Mini, Prodrive and the FIA. Follow the jump for the full announcement.Continue reading Mini changes tracks with Prodrive WRC team

Mini changes tracks with Prodrive WRC team originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 07 Feb 2012 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



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