MINI CHALLENGE GETS FACTORY BACKING MINI UK only interested in single-make racing
Tech and parts support as well as a move to the British GT package for next year
MINI UK has played down the potential to move into other forms of motorsport alongside its investment in the Mini Challenge.
Since its rebirth in 2001 as part of the BMW group, MINI has largely pursued a rallying marketing strategy, having backed projects in the World Rally Championship with Prodrive and the Dakar endurance rally, both using the Countryman model. The former WRC chassis now compete in the FIA World Rallyx Championship with British tuner JRM.
MINI UK head of product Nicolas Griebner said that while the brand’s return to backing UK race series is one thing, a standalone project elsewhere was a way off. A British Touring Car Championship attack would be denied by the BTCC’S rules on car dimensions, which must be 4.4-metres or longer. The largest five-door MINI is 3.9m.
Griebner said: “Our focus is on single-make series and making the Mini Challenge one of the best series in Europe. We now have a portfolio of products for different customers and uses, but our plans focus on strengthening the volume and awareness of our most iconic model, the three-door hatchback [Cooper]. Motorsport will focus on this.
“We’ve done the WRC and Dakar and rallycross, but those cars are more prototype than production and there are no plans for the factory to go back to rallying. I see our immediate future in circuit racing.”