In recent years CES has transformed into much more of a car show than it used to be. It was a pleasant surprise to find that MINI was not only in attendance but hosting some very exciting activities so it made sense to snap some pics for Motoring File. Mr. McKenna was kind enough to take time out from his schedule to tell us about the event, which ends tonight at midnight and features a DJ playing inside a Countryman, a stage for attendees to rock out on, a track to test drive the new 2 Door and 4 Door MINIs, and much more.
Motoring File (MF): This is MINI’s first appearance at CES so it’s kind of a big deal. What inspired MINI to participate at this show?
Patrick F. McKenna (PFM): We’ve been doing something called MINI Motoring Challenge. We’ve brought it to Los Angeles, New York, we’re going to bring it to a few more cities in 2015 and we thought this would be great to bring this to CES with a high-tech audience that would appreciate it. We have driving going on and in true MINI fashion we have silent disco.
MF: What is silent disco?
PFM: It’s essentially everyone on headphones and Spotify is here curating content and people here can rock out to it. As a viewer you don’t know what they’re listening to because it’s three different channels each with different music playing and the listener can select from any of them. The listeners get on stage and dance so it’s really fun to watch them rock out. It gets especially fun at night.
MF: What is there for people to do here besides silent disco?
PFM: We’ve got the driving course, the jumbotron, this is the first year for the High Roller, which is the world’s tallest observation wheel, and we’ve pretty much taken over this whole Linq area which is also new so this is a hot spot for people walking through.
At night we light up the track with LED lights. With the new LED lighting on the new hardtop and 4 Door, we wanted to capitalize on that with the lighting on the driving course. We play into the disco theme perfectly with this.
MF: Do you think this will be the first of many CES shows MINI will attend?
PFM: I hope so. It already feels like a good vibe. We have a lot of MINI customers coming through who are thrilled we are here. More than anything else it’s fun – we’re not taking ourselves too seriously so we have kind of a party atmosphere going on.
MF: Where can people find out more about your presence at CES and the test drives going on here?
PFM: If people are attending CES, the BMW booth at the convention center has handout special event cards complete with a map of where the course and Linq area are located, and online they can find out more on our Facebook page. #minimotordisco is the hashtag for the event.
MF: Thanks very much for the interview!
Author’s notes: The fact that anyone can just walk up, enjoy a test drive, receive a MINI T-shirt and a free ride on the High Roller is pretty spectacular. One doesn’t need to have a CES badge or even be attending the show to do this and the value of the evening ticket for the High Roller is $34.95. Not a bad freebie to catch on a night out in Vegas. You can see the video of my hot lap in the new 4 Door with a driver from MINI here. Meanwhile, there are additional photos below from the party.