The big buzz heading into 2011 has been MINI and Prodrive collaborating for a WRC program. Two fantastic names in the lore of the WRC coming together to mount a challenge against the giants Ford and Citroen. Originally scheduled to miss the first four rounds of the next years championship, some words dropped by Technical Director David Lapworth on autosport.com may see the new team up its original 2011 commitment.
“We’ve got a good idea of where we’re going,” said Lapworth. “It’s going to be a minimum of six rallies, but once we get started I would think we’re unlikely to stop.” – Prodrive Technical Director David Lapworth
The original plan was to launch in Rome for the Italian round of the championship. There is however some level of buzz that the launch could come before that even. This is great news for MINI fans everywhere as it seems the whole rally community is waiting to see what is to come from the two organizations collaborative efforts. Prodrive have insisted they are taking their time on the project and must get everything right for the program to flourish. No small order as Prodrive has shouldered the blame for the exit of Subaru a few short seasons ago.
One interesting point is where Prodrive have come out and said the rallies they are penciling in have not been “cherry picked” to suit their new challenger. They do want to make sure the car is tested on all surfaces and in all environments before making the big push in 2012. So what do you think? Will Prodrive resurrect MINI in the WRC? Will they resurrect their own credibility in the sport? I am not exactly sure what to expect, but I am excited as are all rally fans for the car and really hope it succeeds at rallies top flight.