Mini Countryman WRC testing

Well it's finally happened, BMW is coming back to the WRC and this time they're using the Mini Countryman. Spied testing at Portugal's WRC course, the Mini Countryman is surprisingly nimble but still appears a bit sluggish when compared to the other WRC cars. Driven by Markko Martin, Kris Meeke, and Andy Priaulx, the Mini Countryman is designed to compete in the S2000 and National Championships by making use of a 1.6 liter turbocharged engine. The 1.6 liter used is the same as the BMW 320 TC which is used by private cars in the World Touring Championship. Will the Mini Countryman be a competitor or a laggard?

"It was fun," said Priaulx after the test. "It was good because Meeke could teach me how everything worked and was brave enough to sit next to me while I was driving the car. It is a fabulous car, I am confident we will succeed. It was a unique opportunity and I am very grateful David Richards. But before anyone gets excited about my arrival at the rally to say that for now, at this point in my career, I am not in the rallies."

If that quote gives us any input on the Mini's performance capabilities, it just might be a good year for BMW. In my personal opinion, the wide stance and low center of gravity is going to allow the Mini to dominate the corners; the straights are a completely different story. The Mini Countryman is fairly heavy for it's motor, weighing in around 3,000 pounds. With the weight reduction applied by the WRC conversion, at best the car could weigh 2,500 pounds. Is that enough to keep up with others in the S2000 and National Championship classes? We'll see!

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Source: Tampa Sports Car Examiner

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