After BMW/Mini announced their withdrawal from World Rally Championship as manufacturer team, more than few of us were left wondering what that means for Prodrive. To further complicate things, BMW said they are focused on further development of the car together with famous British squad. In order to clear things up, Prodrive released a statement confirming their 2013 plans. And it’s all good news from what I can see – they’re as determined as ever to remain active WRC player. And hopefully, if BMW/Mini ever decide to restart their WRC involvement as manufacturer, it will be with proper winning team such as Prodrive. All politics aside.
Official statement by Prodrive follows below.
Prodrive is continuing to target a full programme of events in the World Rally Championship in 2013 backed up by a comprehensive development programme for both the MINI John Cooper Works WRC and S2000 cars.
This follows the announcement today by MINI that it remains committed to rallying and that BMW Motorsport would continue to develop the car’s 1.6 turbo engine in conjunction with Prodrive, despite MINI ceasing direct financial support for its works team in the WRC in 2013.
Prodrive’s existing long term contract with MINI remains unchanged. This ensures the sales, support and development of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC and S2000 cars, as well as the supply of engines and parts from BMW Motorsport for use by all teams in the WRC, regional and national rallies throughout the full homologation period of the car to 2018.
The Prodrive WRC Team has operated as an independent, private team since early 2012 and will continue to do so in 2013 with the aim of adding to the three WRC podium places already achieved by Dani Sordo.
“We understand MINI’s decision and in the current challenging economic climate it was not unexpected. It is however good news that MINI remains enthusiastic about the WRC and wishes to see MINI rally cars continuing to run competitively in the WRC and other championships. We look forward to continuing to work with MINI and BMW Motorsport to maximise the performance of both WRC and S2000 MINIs on behalf of our mutual customers and our own WRC team,“ said Richard Taylor, Business Development Director at Prodrive.
“We have been developing our own plans for 2013 WRC participation with the MINI John Cooper Works and will announce next season’s Prodrive WRC Team entry and driver details in the due course. We have a number of further enhancements to engine, chassis and transmission scheduled for introduction in the first quarter of 2013 and look forward to making these available to our many rally partners, who already operate MINI JCW cars around the world,” continued Taylor.
The Prodrive WRC Team is now concentrating on preparations for Rally Spain in November where it will run two MINI John Cooper Works WRC cars for Dani Sordo and the young Finnish driver, Jarkko Nikara.