Prodrive upgrades WRC Mini


Prodrive has confirmed more than 100 modifications to the Mini John Cooper Works WRC which is set to be homologated this week.

The Banbury-based firm has revealed further details of the upgrades which will fit directly onto all current Mini John Cooper Works WRCs. Improvements to the engine have led to a three per cent power hike.

Prodrive has redesigned the induction system with a new restrictor and restrictor feed, while the engine cooling system has been made more efficient, with the introduction of an electrically-operated water pump, which not only reduces parasitic losses, but enables the engine temperature to be more accurately controlled.

Without a belt-driven water pump the alternator has been moved and the area around the drive belt made more robust, with a shorter drive belt which is simpler to change. With all these modifications, the engine management system software and associated electronics have been upgraded with optimised fail-safe modes and enhanced driver and co-driver in-car displays.

As reported by AUTOSPORT last week, the only visual change to the car will be to the front spoiler, which will improve cooling, the car's aerodynamic performance and allow the car to run at lower ride heights.

In time for the rougher gravel rallies, the Mini will also feature a new heavy-duty suspension package from Ohlins.

The use of a lithium-iron battery and a lighter rear wing means a total weight saving from the car of 10 kilos, allowing the team to place ballast in the car more strategically.

Team principal Dave Wilcock said: "Both drivers [Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke] were really pleased with the developments and could feel the increase in performance both directly from the engine and in the dynamic behaviour of the car over the rough stages.

"This is a significant step forward for the MINI WRC, but our development work hasn't stopped and the engineering team are already looking at the next set of improvements for later this year."

The Prodrive WRC Team will next compete on the Rally of Portugal (March 29-April 1) with Sordo and Patrik Sandell.

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