Two years ago when MINI first announced their interest in joining the WRC, it didn’t come without some confuzzlement from pretty much everyone. Asking questions like ‘Why?’ and most importantly…‘Why?’; it was easy to wonder how the quirky Brits would turn a dying race series into a successful marketing strategy.
Insistent on the endeavor, the doctor (CEO Dr. Kay Seglar, that is) and the MINI racing team spent nearly all of 2011 making their JCW Countryman WRC challenger race ready. After all efforts were thrust full force on the project, they soon found themselves amongst budget issues and even a late registration into the 2012-2013 season.
Issues aside and championships guaranteed, it looked like MINI was ready to take the WRC head-on and be a force to reckon with in years to come. But, no. After only a year of their initial whole-hearted enthusiasm, MINI now says that the WRC series was a “very difficult commercial environment,” and will be ditching all efforts of continuing success.
Taking home only three podium starts and a best finish of second place, the MINI team has continued to struggle in the arduous series.
Although MINI will be pulling all funds from next season, they say that privateers still wishing to run the JCW Countryman WRC may do so under FIA regulations.