There’s been talk lately about how new, low-cost 3D printers are fueling a consumer-driven wave of do-it-yourself innovation and personal manufacturing.

Yet despite all the focus on the accessibility of low-end 3D printer offerings, there’s been some fairly significant advances in higher-end technology that are helping to transform how companies not only prototype products, but also produce commercial parts.

Prodrive, a leading motorsport company and the primary engine behind the design and engineering of the MINI John Cooper Works World Rally Car, is one of the companies leveraging 3D printing advances to bring efficiencies to its development processes and optimize its car designs. Prodrive Chief Design Engineer Paul Doe is slated to share details on the company’s three-phased 3D printing implementation at the RAPID 2012 Conference and Exposition next month, but he recently gave us a sneak peek into his presentation.

The rest is here: Prodrive Shifts 3D Printing Into High Gear