Prodrive tests upgraded Mini for World Rally Championship
|By David Evans||Friday, March 2nd 2012, 17:26 GMT|
The latest evolution of the Mini John Cooper Works WRC will be inspected by the FIA for a new homologation next week.
Prodrive was busy testing the new parts on the Mini in Southern Spain until early this week. Both Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke drove the car for two days each, completing close to 500 miles on gravel.
The new car includes a revised front spoiler - which is the only visual alteration from the current Mini - a lighter rear wing and some minor engine tweaks.
Beyond the homologation changes, the next specification of Mini will include further development of the Ohlins dampers and a new lithium ion battery. Providing the car passes its homologation inspection next week, the new car is expected to be seen for the first time on Rally of Portugal at the end of next month.
Prodrives Richard Taylor said: "The tests went very well, the drivers are very happy with the car and both of them felt the improvements. We certainly got what needed from the test."
Taylor also played down talk of a major restructuring of the team, following its loss of manufacturer status and the change of team name from Mini World Rally Team to Prodrive WRC Team.
"Because we're not doing the full championship," said Taylor, "we've been able to move everybody on the rally programme a little closer together to share the resources."
It is believed some technicians have been moved from building and running Minis to the Aston Martin race programme. On the subject of redundancies, Taylor added: "It's not appropriate to comment on that, simply because - in that direction - there has been very little movement. We're talking [about redundancy for] one or two people."