Wilcock believes the MINI John Cooper Works WRC is losing out in the power stakes to its rivals in the FIA World Rally Championship, which heads to Spain this week for the 2012 season-closer.
Under the guidance of chief engineer Jason Hill, Prodrive’s race engine team is developing a series of tweaks for 2013 in conjunction with its counterparts at BMW Motorsport in Germany to up the performance of the 1.6-litre turbo engine that powers MINI’s WRC challenger.
“The MINI unit is very strong and there is headroom to increase the output of the 1.6 litre engine,” said Hill, who has worked on successful Le Mans campaigns with Aston Martin and Ferrari. “We have refined the engine calibration, turbo control and transmission control strategies which have made better use of the hardware we have and are being implemented now, but in the longer term there will be a new evo pack in conjunction with BMW Motorsport, including a number of mechanical enhancements, which will bring a major step change in performance early next year.”
Wilcock said: “We know the chassis is very good, our performance in low grip conditions has clearly demonstrated that. The aero also works well and the car is easy on its tyres and while we are continuing to refine these areas, it is a given that more power will automatically bring with it better stage times. We know there is much more to come from this engine; more than enough to give us the performance to put us at the head of the pack and give us the opportunity to win our first event.”
Spanish hero Dani Sordo will head Prodrive’s charge on the mixed-surface round in Salou from 8-11 November. Finn Jarkko Nikara will make his debut for the squad in a second John Cooper Works WRC.