The MINI John Cooper Works World Rally Car has been named Rally Car of the Year at the Autosport awards in London, the most prestigious event in the motorsport industry calendar.
The award follows an exceptional debut year for the new car, which has seen it exceed all expectations, taking podium positions in the World Rally Championship as well as numerous successes in international rallies around the globe.
“This award caps what has been a truly memorable debut year for MINI in the World Rally Championship,” said Prodrive chairman, David Richards. “ we never anticipated that we would be fighting for podiums so soon, let alone leading WRC events, as we did in France. This award is a testament to the dedication of the whole team behind the project in Banbury and the commitment of BMW and MINI who have fully supported the programme.”
Prodrive started development of a new World Rally Car in early 2009, but it wasn’t until 18 months later that the MINI John Cooper Works WRC ran for the first time at Prodrive’s proving ground in Warwickshire on September 1 2010.
In addition to the two Works Team cars, Prodrive has supported as many as four further customer cars in several World Rally Championship events this year. By the end of 2011, 15 MINIs will have been delivered to customers and in 2012 it’s anticipated that there will be as many as 80 car starts for customer MINIs in the World Rally Championship.
Dr. Kay Segler, head of MINI, who collected the Autosport award with David Richards, said: “Wherever MINI has competed this year, it has seemed like all the fans have been cheering us on. It is therefore fitting that it is the fans and readers of Autosport that have voted the MINI WRC as the Rally Car of the Year.”