You already know MINI will be back in WRC this year, testing at a limited number of events ahead of a full push for the 2012 season. Here's the view from inside the company on what it means to throw gravel with the MINI badge.

With this years adoption of the cost-saving Super 2000 rules for transmission and electronics, plus a 1.6-liter turbo engine, MINI's return is timed to make the most of each racing dollar--and the marketing department certainly didn't miss that memo.

It remains to be seen if a special-edition street-legal rally Countryman--the platform for the WRC car--will be introduced to make the street-going version worthy of association with the racing model, even if only loosely, but we hold out hope that it will.