Just when you thought all hope was lost of seeing a Prodrive MINI next year, Rallybuzz.com has now posted a story that is the first sign of life we have had from the project in a couple months time. The silence then began to drive rumors that funding had been cut and that Prodrive was looking at teaming with Toyota for a WRC bid. That being the dumbest rumor I have ever heard has now brought us a proof of life that the MINI project is on track.
Reports are indicating that the outfit could be testing this summer with a BMW 1.6 turbo charged engine. When asked by Motorsport News, David Lapworth ruled out using an adapted 2.0 litre engine on the project. The Prodrive technical director had this to say about the idea:
It was not a viable solution to produce a mule engine to get the car running now. I can see the value in Ford and Citroen doing it and I can understand that temptation, but we didn’t feel there was any value in us doing that. We expect to be testing before the end of the summer.
So as it looks now, we will have three manufacturers next year as this project seems to be moving along nicely. Good to hear that it is actually still on line and shows that the whole Prodrive/Toyota rumor was in fact a bunch of people with not enough to do in a day. Thank you rallybuzz, Motorsport News for giving us this proof of life on the car and its progress.