Mini has launched the latest development version of its new Countryman WRC car in Monte Carlo.
The model is the first development car to carry the red and white livery that will be used in the WRC; previous development cars have sported a yellow and black camouflage, while the Paris model was just a show car – a standard road model with accessories and a red and white livery.
The Prodrive-developed car is around 95 per cent complete and the changes from this S2000 version to the full WRC-spec car will be minor, such as tweaks to the rear wing.
Power for the Countryman WRC comes from a 1.6-litre turbocharged BMW Motorsport engine. Mini driver Kris Meeke said: “In every step of development, the engine feels stronger and the dotted line on the graph looks encouraging.”
Meeke said when Subaru pulled the plug on its Prodrive-run WRC programme, Prodrive tried to identify the perfect characteristics for a WRC under the new-for-2011 regulations. “All of this development has gone into the Mini chassis,” said Meeke.
Mini will enter the Countryman WRC into six events this year, starting in Sardinia. Customers' cars will appear earlier in the season in Portugal, however.