David Richards says he is confident there will be 10 Mini John Cooper Works WRCs running in next year's World Rally Championship.
The Prodrive chairman said he has been delighted with the take-up of the Mini in WRC and S2000 form so far this year – which is why he has set his sights on double figures for 2012. Two of those cars will be factory Minis, leaving the company to sell eight more WRCs at around $650,000 each. Sources suggest it's upward of $16,000 more to rent a Mini than a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for a single round of the WRC.
"I believe there will be 10 Mini WRCs in the championship next year," said Richards. "When we came back into the championship with Mini we had two aims: first, to get Mini in there and winning and second, to build cars for the customers around the world, both of these are very important to us.
"There will be at least 20 cars, a mixture of Super 2000s and WRCs, out there for the end of this year, so there will be plenty of cars out there for people. We haven't started talking to people about putting deals in place for the start of next year, we're still in the middle of producing the cars."
Richards added that the livery of the factory Minis, revealed yesterday, would be changed to reflect sponsorship of the team.
"The launch was always intended to be without sponsors, but there will be further announcements later," he said. "The livery will evolve."
The team will compete in the WRC for the first time in next month's Rally d'Italia, where five Mini WRCs will be present.