MINI WRC Team released

Source: MINI Calgary newsletter

MINI has finally taken the wraps off the official WRC car.  We think it looks fantastic, and hope some of that is going to be available to everyone.

Official Release: The return of MINI to one of the biggest stages in motorsport is approaching ever closer. On Monday, the MINI WRC Team was officially presented to the public at the Team Launch, which took place at the MINI Plant in Oxford (GB). This season, the team will contest six rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with the MINI John Cooper Works WRC. The car will be tested against its rivals for the first time at the Rally d’Italia Sardegna from 5th to 8th May 2011. The goal in the debut season is to gain valuable experience to be perfectly prepared to take on the entire 2012 World Rally Championship.

More news and video coming soon 🙂

Hybrid Mini Spotted Testing In The Arctic

Courtesy of autoblog.com

Once you’ve put an all-electric drivetrain into a Mini Cooper, is it that hard to hybridize one? Well, yes, especially since BMW’s limited testing program was intended to give the company information about a plug-in architecture. But our spy photographers have discovered what’s believed to be the first Mini Cooper prototype fitted with a hybrid drivetrain.

The body certainly looks the same, but – as you can see in our high-resolution gallery – BMW has affixed a sticker in the window that clearly says “hybrid test vehicle.” We don’t know many details about the powertrain sitting under the bright red paint, but sources indicate that this is a through-the-road hybrid, with the front wheels powered by a normal engine and the rear wheels motivated by an electric motor. Things like displacement, total horsepower and battery size are all as mysterious as they ever were, but rumor has it – no, really this time – that a hybridized Mini will be available when the next-generation arrives in 2013.