MINI United: First International
Annual Meeting of the Global MINI Fan Community.
MINI United is celebrating its premiere ‘ and many fans of the brand are coming: Several thousand participants from three dozen countries have registered for a unique three-day event on the Misano Race Track south of Rimini in Italy, with fans of MINI coming from countries as far away as Ghana and Thailand. Other participants are coming by car from distant places such as Lisbon, Birmingham, and St. Petersburg to enjoy this very special highlight of the season.
The main attraction is the MINI CHALLENGE World Final, where the best drivers in the national MINI Clubsport Series will be battling it out for the official MINI CHALLENGE World Championship.
Clubsport action is however only one of the highlights in this three-day Festival, where fans of the MINI brand will also be enjoying parties with live music and fashion shows as well as a generous pool area, stunt shows or the opportunity to experience the limits to driving physics themselves on the race track. “MINI United will be a truly outstanding event only an innovative brand like MINI is able to offer “, states Dr. Kay Segler, Vice President MINI Brand Management.
Twenty Drivers going for the MINI CHALLENGE World Championship.
The best MINI CHALLENGE participants from Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA will be competing for the MINI CHALLENGE World Championship at MINI United. The first MINI CHALLENGE World Final comprises a Versatility Contest made up of two circuit races and two race slaloms in technically identical CHALLENGE MINI Cooper S’s boasting the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit, two kart races, as well as a driving skill test on a Yamaha Quad. All four disciplines ‘ each with a different rating ‘ will be included in the overall result.
The attractive prize waiting for each of the winners is a weekend trip to Great Britain, the country where the MINI was born, where in both London and Oxford they will have the opportunity to enjoy that authentic MINI air and will even receive some spending money for their stay (1st place: Euro 1,500.-; 2nd place: Euro 1,000.-; 3rd place: Euro 500.-).
The expert guests will include Mike Cooper, the son of legendary MINI tuner John Cooper, and Finnish rally driver Rauno Aaltonen, winner of the European Rally Championship in a Mini Cooper in 1965 and winner of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1967. Entering a Special Guest race in the 154 kW (210 hp) MINI Cooper S, Aaltonen will be competing with the likes of ex-Formula 1 drivers Alex Zanardi, Paolo Barilla, and Marc Surer.
Three-Day Active Programme and a Genuine Lifestyle Ambience.
Beyond the race track, MINI United will offer the MINI enthusiast an exclusive, action-packed programme with highlights such as MINI Driver Training offered by “Rally Professor” Rauno Aaltonen as the Chief Instructor. Driving some fast laps on the Circuito Santa Monica, Aaltonen and other professionals will take along passengers on a very special taxi ride. And in an equally special show, professional stuntmen will demonstrate what a MINI can do with the right kind of skilful, high-precision driver at the wheel.
Participants in MINI United will even be able to test their skills on the race track themselves ‘ either in their own MINI or, after dark, on roller skates with the entire circuit brightly illuminated. Another experience they will find just as thrilling is to compare their skills with other drivers on the slalom track or the kart racing circuit. And a very special sensation will be the test drives on tyres intentionally without air, showing that the runflat tyre system developed by MINI’s partner Dunlop enables the driver to go on motoring even on empty tyres with hardly any kind of restriction.
The Festival is naturally “wrapped up” in a very special lifestyle ambience, several bands including “Dead Grateful” starring Mike Cooper on the guitar making live appearances. A number of great names from the disc jockey scene will be adding to the party mood, including Sonique, a star DJane already popular in many countries.
MINI Collection fashion shows held in the Central Event Tent will be bringing a touch of Paris and Milan to Misano, and the large, generously designed Pool Area reminiscent of the famous clubs on Ibiza or Mykonos will enable participants to relax and chill out.
In various Workshops, finally, specialists will be explaining the philosophy behind the design and technical features of a MINI, and a number of international art students will be presenting their photos for a competition in the very popular MINI International Customer Magazine. And last but not least, guests bringing along their children will be able to leave them under professional supervision in the Kids Area.
World Debut of the MINI Cooper S with the John Cooper Works GP Kit.
Many guests attending MINI United will be thrilled from the start even on their way to Misano: Meeting at three places in northern Italy (San Remo, Brenner Pass, Lago di Como), they will be driving down to the Adriatic together in a Way2United Convoy. This means that thousands of MINIs will be coming to Misano “under their own steam”, virtually every model different from all the others.
At the event enthusiasts will be able to admire some truly unique MINIs, such as the special MINI designed by Missoni and Bisazza, the XXL MINI Stretch Limousine, or the classical Minis once owned by David Bowie, Michael Caine, and Paul Smith. Visitors to MINI United will also be able to enter their own car in various contests, with prizes going for the best design ideas, the longest journey to the event, the highest overall mileage, and the funniest nickname. And as a special highlight, the 700, 000th MINI will be presented to a purchaser from Hong Kong at the event.
Guests of MINI United will be experiencing a very special surprise in the “Sneak Preview Box” ‘ the world debut of the exclusive MINI Cooper S featuring the John Cooper Works GP Kit: This 160 kW (218 hp) MINI reduced in weight by approximately 40 kilos or 88 lb has been developed especially for the most sporting and ambitious driver, presenting the atmosphere of MINI CHALLENGE on the road.
MINI CHALLENGE World Final 2005.
?Going for the World Champion ship in Four Disciplines.
The future MINI CHALLENGE World Champion must be one thing in particular: a genuine multi-talent. The decision for this title being awarded for the first time as an Official World Championship will be fought out on the race track, candidates competing against one another, inter alia, in two races and on a slalom course. In both disciplines they will be driving a 154 kW (210 hp) MINI Cooper S featuring the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit in CHALLENGE specifications.
The overall score will also include two kart races and a driving skill event with the drivers riding an all-terrain quad. With the four categories ‘ races, slalom, kart events, and quad ‘ offering a different number of points in each case (see the table below), the largest number of points (55 per cent) will be awarded in the races themselves.
The Races: the Leading Discipline in the MINI CHALLENGE World Final.
The two races on Circuito Santa Monica each cover a distance of 16 laps, the starter grid for the first race being determined in a 30-minute qualifying session. The starter grid in the second race, in turn, will depend on the results of the first race, with the first six drivers being lined up in reverse order (in what is called a “reverse grid”). In other words, the sixth driver in Race 1 will be in pole position for Race 2, the winner will be in sixth position on the grid.
This arrangement also featured in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) guarantees extra excitement, with the crowd experiencing a larger number of dramatic overtaking manoeuvres. Drivers will receive points for their individual results in each race, the winner of each race, for example, scoring 1,650 points. In all, the two races account for 55 per cent of the overall rating.
Aiming for Supreme Driving Precision on the Slalom Course.
The second discipline is the slalom event, with the drivers once again competing in technically identical racing cars. The slalom course to be completed twice by each driver is laid out on a separate section at the race track. Each cone pushed out of position or toppled over by a driver accounts for a three-second time penalty added to the actual driving time. The share of the slalom event in the overall score is 20 per cent.
Kart and Quad Adding up to One-Quarter of the Overall Score.
The kart event accounts for 15 per cent of all points, with the drivers competing in two separate races. Again, the starter grid for the first race is based on results in qualifying, while the starter grid for the second race will be lined up in reverse order, according to the results of Race 1.
The fourth and final discipline in the MINI CHALLENGE World Final is a Driving Skill Tournament on all-terrain quads on an offroad course.
In this case once again, not only the actual driving time is crucial in this event, but also the number of obstacles/cones pushed out of position or toppled over by the driver, each accounting for a one-second penalty. The result in this event has a 10 per cent share in the overall score.
The driver with the highest number of points after all four individual contests is the official MINI CHALLENGE World Champion. And just like the drivers finishing second and third, he ‘ or she ‘ will be rewarded by a weekend trip to Great Britain, the country where the MINI was born. Travelling to both London and Oxford, the winners will be able to enjoy that authentic MINI air and will even receive some spending money for the occasion (1st place: Euro 1,500.-; 2nd place: Euro 1,000.-; 3rd place: Euro 500.-).
Technically Identical Cars Fighting for the World Championship.
The two races forming part of the overall contest for the official World Championship title in all MINI Clubsport Series are guaranteed to be absolutely fair, with all drivers taking the wheel of a brand-new Challenge Racing Car based on the MINI Cooper S prepared by the Racing Headquarters on behalf of MINI and technically identical in every respect.
No modifications of any kind are allowed on the cars during the entire event, so that the driver’s talent is the one and only factor determining the results in the race.
The racing cars comply in full with the technical MINI CHALLENGE specifications. The “basic” car as such is the MINI Cooper S with the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit, available from all MINI dealers. Featuring the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit, the 1.6-litre power unit is perfectly prepared from the start for racing requirements, the supercharged four-cylinder power unit developing a sturdy and reliable 154 kW (210 hp).
Racing Car and Driver’s Equipment for Superior Safety on the Track.
Right from the start, safety has been given a high standard of priority in developing these Clubsport racing cars: Featuring a welded-in steel safety cell, a bucket seat, a shoulder seat belt, an automatic fire-fighting system and a safety net in the driver’s door, the MINI Cooper S is perfectly prepared for the risks of motorsport, which can never be excluded altogether. A further important point is that all drivers are required to wear the HANS helmet safety system (head and neck support) carried over from Formula 1. A sports steering wheel and power steering in turn, give the drivers perfect control over their car at all times, and a further safety factor quite unique in this class is the ABS anti-lock brake system adjusted to racing conditions and providing all safety functions required. ?
The race suspension of the MINI Cooper S as well as the John Cooper Works brake system are also attuned to high-speed requirements, with the cars coming on 7 x 17-inch light-alloy rims complete with 205/620 R 17 tyres.
Specifications MINI Cooper S.
MINI CHALLENGE Racing Version for the World Final 2005.
‘ Engine/Power Transmission
‘ Type: Four-cylinder inline engine with supercharger, fitted crosswise in the engine compartment, power boosted by the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit and a special racing exhaust
‘ Capacity: 1598 cc
‘ Max Output: 154 kW (210 hp) at 6 950 rpm
‘ Top Speed: Approx 230 km/h (143 mph)
‘ Compression Ratio: 8.3 : 1
‘ Max Torque: 245 Nm (181 lb-ft) at 4 500 rpm
‘ Transmission: Front-wheel drive, sports gearbox with six forward gears
‘ Chassis and Suspension: Independent suspension all round, John Cooper Motorsports suspension by KW with infinitely adjustable dampers, anti-roll bars front and rear, adjustable spring strut dome bar at the front
‘ Brakes: John Cooper Motorsports brake system / Front: inner-vented discs, dia 330 mm (13.00″), thickness 26 mm (10.24″), four-piston fixed callipers made of aluminium / Rear: discs, dia 259 mm (10.20″), thickness10 mm (0.39″), four-piston fixed callipers made of aluminium
‘ Rims: 7 x 17-inch BBS light-alloy rims
‘ Tyres: Dunlop racing tyres without (slicks) and with (rain) tread, tyre dimensions in both cases 205/620 R 17
‘ Steering: Hydraulically boosted rack-and-pinion steering
‘ Design and Configuration: Unitary all-steel body, three doors, aerodynamics package with adjustable rear spoiler, occupant protection ensured by the steel safety cell welded to the body, Recaro bucket seat, six-point seat belt, automatic double-chamber fire-fighting system
‘ Dimensions: Length 3 655 mm (143.9″) / width 1688 mm (66.5″) (1925 mm /75.8″ with mirrors) / height 1416 mm (55.7″) (adjustable).
‘ Wheelbase: 2 467 mm (97.1″)
‘ Weight, unladen: Approx 1180 kg (2602 lb) including driver
MINI CHALLENGE World Final 2005 ‘ Entrants.
Team Austria: Johannes Stuck (18)
Team Bahrain: Fahad Al-Musalam (31)
Team Belgium: Sebastién Ugeux (34) Fran’ois Verbist (21) Gunther Raus (19)
Team Finland: Markus Palttala (28)
Team Germany: N.N. N.N. Thomas Winkelhock (37)
Team Great Britain: Barney Craggs (34) Rob Austin (43) Arthur Forster (37)
Oliver Glen Mortimer (22) Andy Sayle (47)
Team New Zealand: Mike “Eady” Robert (40)
Team Sweden: Fredrik Lestrup (21)
Team Switzerland: Remo Friberg (39) Urs Hintermayer (40)
Team USA: Brad Davis (53) Roy “Klaus” Kindor (46)
(Figures in brackets = age of driver)
MINI CHALLENGE World Final 2005 ‘ Schedule.
Friday, 28 October
14:00’15:30 Free All-Terrain-Vehicle Practice (offroad track)
16:30’17:00 Free Race Track Practice
17:30’19:00 Free Kart Practice (kart course in paddocks)
20:00’20:30 Free Race Track Practice
Saturday, 29 October
9:00’10:30 All-Terrain-Vehicle Race (offroad track)
11:00’12:30 First Slalom Race (short section on race track)
14:00’14:30 Kart Qualifying (kart course in paddocks)
15:00’16:00 Two Kart Races (kart course in paddocks)
18:00’18:30 Race Track Qualifying
19:00’19:30 First Race
Sunday, 30 October
9:00’10:00 Second Slalom Race (short section on race track)
11:00’11:30 Second Race
12:30’13:30 Winner’s Ceremony (Main Tent)
13:30’14:00 Qualifying Special Guests Race
14:30’15:00 Special Guests Race
MINI Clubsport Worldwide: Different Rules ‘ One Objective ‘ To Enjoy the MINI Brand.
As was to be expected with both the MINI brand in particular and motorsport in general, it all started in Great Britain, where, in the home country of motor racing, the first MINI Clubsport Series was held in 2002: the John Cooper Challenge. Ever since the philosophy behind this spectacular racing series, the fun of enjoying the MINI with all its sporting attributes, has spread over almost the entire globe.
Two fundamentally different types of events have been developed in the meantime: In some countries MINI Clubsport is held in the same way as a traditional brand trophy with “real” races requiring specially prepared cars and drivers holding appropriate racing licences. Other countries follow the Olympic spirit under the motto “Taking part is everything” and organise popular events for everybody and every kind of MINI, focusing on sporting challenges such as slalom races.
One of the countries in the second group is Switzerland, where the MINI Race Challenge has been held ever since 2003. Here the MINIs eligible for racing ‘ all of them fully homologated for road use ‘ are split up into four categories ranging from series models all the way to highly modified special racing versions. All the driver needs to participate, in turn, is a valid driver’s licence.
The season just ended comprised a total of 14 events, both slaloms and so-called sprint tests (consistency trials at higher speed). Entrants also received points for participating in a training course.
Counting no less than 57 participants in 2005, the Swiss MINI Race Challenge attracted growing interest among fans of the MINI brand in Switzerland.
MINI CHALLENGES taking up the Great Tradition of Motorsport.
The MINI CHALLENGE follows a very different philosophy in Bahrain, where all MINI Clubsport cars in the Kingdom on the Persian Gulf are serviced 100 per cent by the local organisation. Entrants thus receive “their” MINI Cooper Club Sport in race trim, ready-to-go for each event. Races are held, inter alia, on the Formula 1 track in Bahrain and on a hillclimb course.
In Great Britain, Belgium and Germany, the MINI Cooper S proves its talent exclusively on the race track. Apart from the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit available straight from the factory, the cars raced in these countries feature a comprehensive safety package (a safety cell, shoulder seat belts, a fire-extinguishing system) for racing requirements.
Developing maximum output of 154 kW (210 hp) , the MINI Cooper S was raced in Great Britain in no less than 12 races in 2005, with an average of 30 cars in each John Cooper Challenge race. The Belgian MINI CHALLENGE, in turn, has been held ever since 2003, an average of 20 drivers lining up on the grid on seven racing weekends last season.
The German MINI CHALLENGE entered the 2004 season with a brand-new concept, the organisers intentionally opting for a particularly sophisticated, high-class setting for their events. So the field of up to 37 drivers proudly made their appearance prior to several Formula 1 races, as part of the programme surrounding the German Touring Masters (DTM), at the Oldtimer Grand Prix, or in a four-lap race accompanying the 24 Hours of the N’rburgring on the famous Nordschleife or Northern Circuit.
The 2005 MINI CHALLENGE, in turn, was made up of 13 races, the cars entered in these German events all being MINI Cooper S’s complete with the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit, that is the same models also being raced in the MINI CHALLENGE World Final in Misano.
German MINI CHALLENGE highlighting the Lifestyle Element.
The German MINI CHALLENGE is now taking a new approach in the social programme surrounding the race as such: Drivers, teams, sponsors, and guests meet in the Paddock Lounge, enjoying local cuisine, chill-out music, a bar, and a large plasma TV. And all teams are able to use a fully prepared working area in the Pitstop Tent, the huge Drivers’ Club, with all the facilities they require.
Celebrities from the worlds of sports and entertainment also enjoy this lifestyle atmosphere time and again, gaining a first-hand experience of MINI CHALLENGE as if they were sitting in the cockpit themselves: Cora Schumacher, the wife of Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher, drove the first race of her life in the MINI CHALLENGE. And former Formula 1 drivers Marc Surer and Christian Danner, as well as Finnish “Rally Professor” Rauno Aaltonen and ex-world class skier Luc Alphand, have also hit the headlines and set the pace a number of times in the MINI CHALLENGE, making successful guest starts in various events.
Mini in Sport ‘ a Winner for Four Decades.
Everything was carefully planned well in advance: Parallel to the development of the Mini for road use, BMC’s Racing Department was already in the process of preparing the first prototypes for motorsport. In a racing scene otherwise dominated by the three-litre Austin Healey, Alec Issigonis’ revolutionary new “baby” quickly developed into a genuine sports machine designed and built for real business. And indeed ‘ the score system in force at the time based on categories varying in terms of engine size favoured the Mini originally powered “only” by a small 850-cc engine.
In the car’s very first racing appearance, the Norwegian Viking Rally in September 1959, Team Manager Marcus Chambers himself was sitting at the wheel. And in the 1960 Geneva Rally the Mini scored its first win in its category, with brothers Don and Erle Morley forming a highly successful team. Just two years later, the Mini was already good enough to bring home overall victory, Pat Moss, the sister of legendary formula 1 driver Stirling Moss clinching victory in the Dutch Tulip Rally.
Another two years later the Mini Works Team left its powerful mark in the annals of motorsport once and for all: Out of 36 Minis in total no less than six Minis entered the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally ‘ already acknowledged as the most famous rally in the world ‘ on an official mission coming straight from the Company. This was one Mini Cooper in the so-called Group 3 version (closely linked to the series model) developing 70 hp from 997 cc, and five Mini Copper S’s developing maximum output of 90 hp from 1071 cc in ‘ improved ‘ Group 2 trim, together taking on more than 290 competitors. Indeed, some of the car’s rivals had more than twice the engine output of the original Mini in racing trim, such as the 4.7-litre Ford Falcon, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE, the “hunchback” Volvo 544, or the Alpine-Renault.
Winning the Monte Carlo Rally with Legendary Starter Number 37.
In a genuine “David beats Goliath” battle, the Mini quickly proved its merits: Thanks to the car’s compact dimensions, wide track and long wheelbase, roadholding and, in particular, behaviour in bends was simply perfect even at a top speed of 160 km/h or almost 100 mph. In the process Irishman Paddy Hopkirk driving the Mini Cooper S held his own all the way in an exciting duel with Swedish racing driver Bo Ljungfeldt at the wheel of a Ford. The last stage of the event, the famous ‘ if not to say, infamous ‘ “Night of Long Knives”, turned into a genuine poker game for the right tyres. The decisive ‘ and most demanding ‘ trial was the drive up the 1607-metre (5271-feet) Col de Turini, some drivers placing their bets on spikes, others going for tyres with special surface tread. Tyres with an asymmetric tread, in turn, were intended to ensure optimum traction. Even “ice spies” went out on to the snowbound serpentine roads shortly before the start in order to warn drivers of possible hazards.
This quickly became the great hour of the Mini Cooper S, the small but muscular engine, the car’s superior agility, and front-wheel drive quickly taking Paddy Hopkirk and co-driver Henry Liddon right to the top of the overall rankings, as if they were running on rails. Even during the last stage of the event, a circuit race on the Grand Prix city course of Monaco, Hopkirk did not give his Mini Cooper S the slightest rest. And ultimately he brought home a genuine sensation, finishing the race no less than 30.5 points ahead of Ljungfeldt and scoring the first victory for the Mini Works Team in the Monte Carlo Rally. Ever since, starter number 37 and the car’s registration number 33 EJB have been absolute highlights for fans of the brand everywhere.
Rauno Aaltonen brings home the European Rally Championship in the Mini Cooper.
Originally conceived as a low-cost, money-saving means of transport, the small Mini suddenly became a genuine legend of motorsport widely acknowledged as the “small man’s” sports car. With a new version boasting a 1275-cc power unit entering the market in summer 1964, the Works Racing Department quickly conjured almost 100 horsepower out of this agile four-cylinder, the new Mini Cooper S standing out as a clear winner right from the start.
On account of extremely bad weather conditions the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally ranks as one of the most difficult events of all times. Dense snowfall in the mountains reduced visibility for the field initially consisting of more than 200 teams to virtually zero. Then, on a night stage nothing short of torture from Saint-Claude to Monte Carlo over a distance of 610 kilometres or 378 miles, a fierce snowstorm wrought havoc among the teams, only 35 cars eventually reaching the famous city state on the Mediterranean. One of them was Finnish driver Timo Mäkinen in his Mini Cooper S, completing five out of six special trials in record time and marking Mini’s second win in the Monte Carlo Rally. Another Finnish driver, Rauno Aaltonen, rounded off the 1965 season for the Mini Works Team, bringing home the European Rally Championship.
The following year was destined to be the absolute highlight, with Mini looking not only at its third win in a row in the Monte Carlo Rally, but also at all three top places on the podium. And believe it or not – Mäkinen, Aaltonen and Hopkirk made the impossible possible, crossing the finish line first, second, and third. But then came a terrible shock, the “Three Musketeers” being disqualified under extremely debatable circumstances due to four additional headlights not complying in full with French homologation standards.
Feeling more than angry, the drivers and indeed the complete Mini Cooper S Team returned to the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally bent on revenge. As if it were a stroke of justice, “Flying Finn” Rauno Aaltonen driving starter number 177 left the competition far behind, ultimately clinching victory 12 seconds ahead of Lancia works driver Ove Andersson. And so the previous year’s misfortune was forgotten once and for all, Mini bringing home victory in the Monte Carlo Rally for the third time.
Numerous Wins for Mini Drivers on the Circuit.
Racing the Mini in countless circuit events, Mini drivers have been almost as successful as their team colleagues in rally racing, private drivers scoring one class win after the other in their small power machine from Abingdon all over Europe. With the Works Team focusing mainly on the British Touring Car Championship, the John Cooper, Broadspeed and Equipe Arden Teams dominated the class up to 1300 cc. And in the process drivers such as John Love and Alec Poole scored so many points that they even brought home the Championship.
Despite outstanding results, it became evident towards the late ’60s that the Mini Cooper S had passed its zenith as a rally car. Because now new, modified rules clearly gave preference to more powerful cars with larger engines ‘ and the ambitious team was certainly not willing to settle for “nothing but” class wins. So the last official works race was the Rally of the Hills in Australia in 1970, with Brian Culcheth at the wheel.
While this brought a great era to an end, the legend remained: The ’60s were the decade of the Mini ‘ no car offered the same kind of sporting performance for so little money, provided such outstanding driving pleasure, and ensured optimum handling within minimum exterior dimensions.