Prodrive, which turned the John Cooper Works WRC from concept to frontrunner in a little more than a year, will continue to build and develop the machine in conjunction with BMW Group, while also supporting its legion of customer teams. It has also pledged to continue operating its successful team in the world championship with Spaniard Dani Sordo continuing to head its challenge.
“I am delighted that the future of MINI in the WRC has been secured on a long-term basis,” said Dr. Kay Segler, senior vice president MINI Business Coordination and Brand Management. “We remain convinced that the sport of rallying is perfectly suited to our brand. The situation we now find ourselves in means the MINI Motorsport family can, and will, continue to grow on the rally scene. With three podiums from just seven starts in the world championship, the MINI John Cooper Works WRC has already emphatically proven its potential. I am confident that our customer teams around the world will continue to thrill MINI fans with this car over the coming years.”
Dr Segler continued: “The FIA was just as interested in the long-term presence of the MINI brand in the WRC as we were, and was actively involved in finding a constructive solution. We are grateful for the good cooperation and the understanding it has shown us.”
He also praised Prodrive’s involvement with the John Cooper Works WRC project, adding: “With its great enthusiasm and hard work, the Prodrive team has played a major role in the remarkable sporting success we have achieved on our initial outings with the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. On behalf of MINI Motorsport, I would like to thank everyone at Prodrive for their efforts so far and we look forward to working with them in support of our MINI John Cooper Works WRC customers in the future.”
WRC Team MINI Portugal will contest the remaining 12 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship powered by Nokia, a statement from BMW Group’s corporate affairs department has also confirmed.
Sordo and fellow former Junior world champion Patrik Sandell will head Prodrive’s MINI squad on Rally Sweden this week.