I've been hooked lately on Unseen64's Youtube channel and just recently happened upon this video of the last collaboration between Nintendo and Rare. Donkey Kong Country Racing was to combine the allure (and cast) of Diddy Kong Racing while still incorporating the animal companions of Donkey Kong Country! They even had characters from DK64!
It looked awesome! Unfortunately we know that Microsoft bought Rare and they stopped making good games for the better part of a decade and Nintendo made a terrible barrel racing game. Sad to see what could have been.