World Rally Championship racer
, based on the Countryman crossover
and developed by British motorsports and engineering firm Prodrive, recently made its official world debut and has since been throwing up dirt at a number WRC events in Europe.
Next year the rally car, officially titled the MINI WRC, will compete in the full FIA WRC season and to mark the occasion we may see the launch of a road-going version.
The guys at Autocar
have scooped a road-registered Countryman at Prodrive’s facility in Banbury, UK, which was sporting some of the performance modifications designed for the actual MINI WRC.
These included a full bodykit, fixed carbon fiber rear wing, and custom alloy wheels. Some powertrain modifications that could be carried over from the WRC car include a high-flow exhaust system and uprated 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with more than 230 horsepower on tap.
Adding to the vehicle’s credibility, Prodrive boss Dave Richards has stated in a previous interview that Prodrive-tuned MINIs were possible. Prodrive has launched a number of road-going cars in the past based on its motorsport designs. Some notable mentions include the Prodrive-tuned Aston Martin V8 Vantage
and Subaru WRX STI
You’ll note that MINI is yet to reveal a hotted-up Countryman developed by its own in-house John Cooper Works tuning division so perhaps this time Prodrive will get the nod for the car’s development. However, it's more likely that we will get both as we've seen a sporty MINI Countryman with some typical JCW upgrades running up some hot laps at the Nurburgring already