Hot off the presses, here’s MINI USA’s official press release about MINI Takes the States:

>MINI USA today announced MINI Takes the States, a two-week cross country road trip open to MINI owners and enthusiasts that will kick off on August 21 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in Monterey California and end on September 4 at the Lime Rock Vintage Festival in Lakeville, Connecticut.

>MINI Takes the States is being held to celebrate MINI’s vibrant owner community, the launch of the MINI Cooper S with the John Cooper Works Kit (“MINI GP”) and the fact that The Cooper Car Company is the featured marque at the Monterey weekend. In contrast to MINI’s size, the event has a cheeky, secondary tag line of “The 2006 MINI TransAmerican Motortastic Road Trip To End All Road Trips Rally”.

>The start of the MINI Takes the States rally will follow on from a special customer delivery event for the first “MINI GPs” to arrive in the country. The “MINI GP” is a limited edition high performance MINI Cooper S that made its North American Debut at the New York International Auto Show this past April. A total of 415 “MINI GPs” will come to United States with the first 80 of these cars to be scheduled for a special early delivery in conjunction with the program – The first 45 cars will be delivered in Monterey with the remaining 35 to be delivered when the event arrives into New Jersey.

>”MINI owners always bring an unparalleled level of enthusiasm and energy to whatever they do, and I am excited to spend two weeks on the road with them,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA. “We are currently planning a number of surprises and activities for participants along the route, and I encourage everyone – MINI owner or not – to keep an eye out for us in August and join in the fun for a day, a week, or even the full trip.”

>Let’s Get Up and Go
MINI Takes the States will launch on Monday, August 21, 2006 at Pirate’s Cove Beach & Pier in Monterey, CA after the Monterey Historic Automobile Festival. After a kick off celebration on the beach, complete with live entertainment, hundreds of MINIs will head out on the 15-day, 3,123-mile trip. Participants are strongly encouraged to register online at where they can select any or all sections of the cross-country drive in which they plan to participate. Registrants will be provided a special wristband, one for themselves and one for their co-pilot which will entitle them to special MINI surprises. The route involves an estimated 5-6 hours of driving each day with scheduled MINI-branded stops along the way geared towards the interests of MINI owners and enthusiasts. Anyone interested in the event should check the event website on a regular basis as new information will be updated on a daily basis.

>Let’s Party: Regional Events
In addition to the multiple MINI-branded attractions and offerings along the route, two larger regional events will be offered to participants of MINI Takes the States. The Southern Regional event, scheduled for Day 8 of the journey, will bring together a group of live entertainers for a MINI Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. This free open-air music festival in Nashville’s Centennial Park will celebrate local music styles (including jazz, country, blues, and rock & roll). Local bands and food vendors will also be participating in the event, which is expected to draw over 3,000 MINI enthusiasts. In the Central Region on the next day, MINI will be hosting a Tailgate Party outside of the Busch Stadium. An estimated 500 MINI owners will enjoy concessions and local entertainment before the Cardinals vs. Marlins game later in the day.

>Let’s Wrap It Up
On Day 14, before driving up to Connecticut for the Lime Rock Vintage Festival in Lakeville, all MINI Takes the States participants are invited to the official Wrap Party in Jersey City, New Jersey. The location, which offers spectacular views of the Manhattan Skyline, will be the site of a free open-air music and art festival along the Hudson River. New Jersey will also be the site where MINI USA will specially deliver the remaining 35 MINI GPs to their lucky owners. The next day, the rally will come to an end in Lakeville, Connecticut at the Lime Rock Vintage Festival.

Once again if you are in a club and planning on attending MTTS, please let MINI USA know about it by commenting on this previous MotoringFile story: Let’s Plant: MINI Clubs & MINI Takes the States.