MINI is contemplating a high-performance version of its World Rally Championship Countryman racer that would wear a WRC badge in showrooms, according to a CarAdvice source.
The road-going variant would be more powerful than the Countryman John Cooper Works model that is yet to be confirmed but has been spied testing in recent months.
The JCW is expected to use the same 155kW 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder as other John Cooper MINI models, such as the hatch and Clubman.
MINI, famous for its world rallying exploits decades ago in world rallying, re-entered the series this year with its new all-wheel drive Countryman, scoring some positive results before a full campaign in 2012.
The BMW Group’s member of the board of management, sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, was cagey about the prospect of a WRC-focused road version of the MINI Countryman but far from ruled it out when asked by CarAdvice at today’s 2011 Tokyo motor show.
“I think, first of all Countryman was a 4WD product so was a great product to put into [the WRC].
“We’re always looking at lots of things and you can expect we will also have high-performance derivatives in the future.
“That’s an interesting question [about a WRC-badged Coutryman]. Authenticy of a car that is designed for extreme is tricky to bring to the road.”
WRC multiple championship-winning car maker Citroen has a DS3 Racing road car that leverages its DS3 world rally success, while Volkswagen is also expected to produce a road-going version of its Polo R WRC car that enters the championship in 2012.