More than 3,300 enthusiastic MINI owners nationwide will get behind the wheel for MINI Takes the States, a two-week cross country road trip open for MINI owners and enthusiasts. The road trip kicks off on August 21 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in Monterey, California and concludes on September 4 at the Lime Rock Vintage Festival in Lakeville, Connecticut.
When online registration closed, a total of 3,347 MINIs were registered for the drive, 175 of which signed up to travel the full length of the trip ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” from Monterey to Lime Rock. For the first leg from Monterey to Santa Barbara, CA, 754 have registered to participate. The most popular leg of the journey proved to be Jersey City, New Jersey to Lakeville, Connecticut, where nearly one thousand MINIs are expected to join the rally.
MINI Takes the States is being held to celebrate MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s vibrant owner community, the launch of the MINI Cooper S with the John Cooper Works Kit (ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMINI GPÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â) and the fact that The Cooper Car Company is the featured marque at the Monterey weekend. In contrast to MINIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s size, the event has the rather large secondary tag line of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe 2006 MINI TransAmerican Motortastic Road Trip To End All Road Trips RallyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
The start of the MINI Takes the States rally will follow on from a special customer delivery event for the first ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMINI GPsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â to arrive in the country. The ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMINI GPÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â 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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMINI GPsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â will come to United States with the first 41 of these cars to be scheduled for a special early delivery in conjunction with the program ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” The first 32 cars will be delivered in Monterey with the remaining 9 to be delivered when the event arrives into New Jersey.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMINI 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,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are currently planning a number of surprises and activities for participants along the route, and I encourage everyone ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” MINI owner or not ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” to keep an eye out for us in August and join in the fun for a day, a week, or even the full trip.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Get Up and Go
MINI Takes the States will launch on Monday, August 21, 2006 at PirateÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Cove Beach & Pier in Monterey, CA after the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. A kick-off celebration will be held on the beach, complete with live entertainment from 7:00 a.m. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” 10:00 a.m. Over 750 MINIs will depart on the first leg of the 15-day, 3,123-mile trip as early as 9:30 a.m.
Participants were encouraged to register online at www.minitakesthestates.com where they were able to select any or all sections of the cross-country drive in which they plan to participate. Registrants were provided a registration kit complete with a special wristband – one for themselves and one for their co-pilot ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” that entitles them to special MINI surprises and VIP access to special events along the way.
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 daily.
LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Party Along the Way
MINI USA will be hosting along with its dealers and advertising partners, multiple MINI-branded attractions and events along the route. In addition, larger regional events will be offered in key cities to participants of MINI Takes the States. A full listing of the cities and events along the way can be found at www.minitakesthestates.com .
On Day 8 of the journey, MINI will bring together a group of live entertainers for a MINI Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee with John Hiatt as the headlining act. This free open-air music festival in NashvilleÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Centennial Park will celebrate local music styles (including jazz, country, blues, and rock & roll). Other local bands and food vendors will also be participating in the event, which is expected to draw over 1,000 MINI enthusiasts.
The following day, MINI will host a tailgate party outside of the Busch Stadium for the St Louis Cardinals vs Florida Marlins Baseball game. An estimated 500 MINI owners will enjoy authentic tailgate concessions prior to the game and will have the opportunity to watch the game on giant screens. Many lucky participants will be randomly chosen to receive skybox tickets for the game.
When the MINI caravan reaches Indianapolis, IN, more than 250 MINI owners and enthusiasts will be given access to Indianapolis Motor Speedway & Hall of Fame Museum. MINI Takes the States participants will be invited to a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the track, full access to the museum and a private reception. The event will conclude with a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for participants to take parade laps around the speedway.
LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Wrap It Up
On Day 14, before driving up to Connecticut for the Lime Rock Vintage Festival in Lakeville, CT, MINI Takes the States participants are invited to the official Wrap Party in Jersey City, New Jersey. The location at Exchange Place Plaza, which offers spectacular views of the Manhattan Skyline, will be the site of an open-air music and art festival along the Hudson River with the band Everclear as the headlining act.
New Jersey will also be the site where MINI USA will specially deliver the remaining 10 MINI GPs to their lucky owners. The next day, the rally will end in Lakeville, Connecticut at the Lime Rock Vintage Festival where MINI USA will have a large hospitality tent with displays and concessions. MINI owners will also be given the opportunity to participate in a special parade lap around the Lime Rock circuit.
Source: MINI USA Press