Since its rebirth under BMW’s banner, Mini hasn’t had much of a chance to shine in professional motorsports competition. But as we’ve reported previously, Mini plans to return to rallying with its John Cooper WRC car. Mini’s day has finally come, it seems, as the brand’s WRC team officially launched today in Oxford, UK.
With a competition history as rich as Mini’s, the John Cooper Works WRC car has quite the reputation to live up to. But being developed jointly by Mini, Prodrive and BMW Motorsport, the car has more than just its racing pedigree backing it up. Based on the Countryman production model, the WRC car shares the same 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 engine with its more pedestrian street car counterpart. But the difference is that the John Cooper Works WRC’s engine has been tuned to comply with FIA Super 2000 regulations—meaning it packs up to 280 horsepower.
The Mini WRC team plans to contest six rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship, or roughly half of the entire season. Team drivers Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo were on hand at the launch event to demonstrate the new car’s capabilities. Seen in the video below, theses pro drivers show off just what this rally car can do. Eat your heart out, Ken Block...