MINI is set to join the World Rally Championship in 2012, competing with the new Countryman crossover. Rumors to this extent swirled just ahead of the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year where the Countryman was unveiled, but nothing ever came of it. The MINI fans at MotoringFile say the project is still in the pipes and the race cars crossovers will debut some time this year (or next) for competition in 2012.
The team will be run by the notoriously successful Prodrive group, which successfully campaigned Subaru’s team until the Japanese automaker was forced to pull from WRC in 2008 when the economy turned sour.
The partnership with Prodrive certainly makes sense, as its also a British company and MINI has a long history in rally racing. Making the situation complicated could be the fact that Prodrive is now officially involved with Aston Martin (and also runs Aston’s Le Mans racing efforts). But with no conflict in the WRC series, if MotoringFile is right, we could see MINI in WRC in 2012. And if so, MINI might just consider delivering a high-performance Countryman (JCW anyone?).