Autosport.com reports that BMW will terminate its relationship with Prodrive, the UK-based organization that has developed the Mini WRC and run the Mini successfully in seven rallies.
According to autosport.com, the partnership has been troubled for some time, but the official decision was postponed until after the Monte Carlo Rally.
Late in 2011 BMW hedged on a previous announcement that it would contest the entire 2012 WRC championship with a two-car Mini team. Mini entered one car for factory driver Dani Sordo at Monte Carlo, but gave the car originally intended to Kris Meeke to a pay-to-play privateer. Financing for the team was the major source of the problem. Meanwhile, Sordo finished second in Monte Carlo. (Text continues after photo)
The entry list for Rally Sweden on February 9-12 includes a car for Sordo and a car for Swedish rally driver Patrik Sandell.
If BMW does in fact terminate the relationship with Prodrive, autosport.com says that the cars may be run by an Italian team, or that the program may be terminated. If BMW separates from Prodrive, it will be severing a relationship with the organization that developed the concept for the car, approached Mini with it, built and tested the car, and launched it successfully, finishing on the podium three times in their first seven rallies.
Roundel asked BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt about the Mini WRC program last weekend at Daytona, before autosport.com broke the story on the possible termination of the Prodrive relationship. When he was asked about plans for the team, he said that everything should be settled within a few weeks, noting the WRC’s own organizational problems, and remarking that the WRC was a good platform for Mini’s motorsport efforts. Stay tuned; we will keep you posted on the decision, or let you know if this turns out be just an Internet rumor.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News