Kris Meeke says this week's Rally GB will be the first true test of the Mini John Cooper Works WRC's competitiveness on gravel.
The car has undergone further development since its last forest outing on Rally Finland in the summer and Meeke says the Welsh stages will demonstrate exactly where the team is at on the loose.
"We did a day on the loose on the Catalunya Rally last month," said Meeke. "But that didn't really count - because of the dust we couldn't actually see where we were going for much of the time. We know where the car is on the asphalt from France and Germany and we know the car's really close [to the leaders]. But we'll know much more about the gravel after this week.
"The good thing is that we have some new stages on this rally and nobody knows those roads. We'll have a level playing field to really see where we are with the car, which will be really useful for the future."
Meeke added that he is a big fan of Friday;s new stages in North Wales.
"I love them," said the former Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion. "About 10 years ago, I competed on my first ever special stage - and that was stage four [Dyfnant] on this rally. I don't remember the stages at all, but I do know that I love these roads."