I drove down to Austria last weekend. Over 40 Minis were meeting near Salzburg to join the Mini Track Day 2004. We are all members of the German “newMINI-IG” a Mini dedicated Online forum (http://www.new-mini-ig.de).

A couple of members organized the event in their time after work and did a great job! We did two nice tours through the Austrian mountains, had dinner and (lots of) drinks together. At the track we met even more Mini enthusiast and it was a great and fun weekend.

MINI does a great job with open and accessible pit “tents” where all 30 teams from the MINI Challenge prepare their cars. You can watch them do the last tweaks, speak to the teams and drivers and take lots of photos.

As the weekend was a “Track Day” we even got to drive on the track in smaller groups on Saturday and Sunday! Very cool!

Races were going on on both days. On Saturday it was raining like mad so the first cars had some trouble staying on the track during the qualifying session however the race itself went very well. 19 year old Katrin Droste made the pace – starting from the pole position and eventually winning the race.

On Sunday it was nearly dry – but unfortunately not incident free. Rauno Aaltonen went off the track fighting for his position and spun his car in a fast bent. He then rolled the car after hitting the guardrail. He got out ok and had to watch the last laps from the side lines. Yellow flags didn't prevent a crash involving several cars in a tight set of curves in the same lap. A handfull of cars were involved but all ended up finishing the race. Alexander Burgstaller eventually won. With this 1st place he also won the 2004 Mini Challenge series.

Here are some pictures of the weekend: www.hubertus.net/mymini/trackday2004/