The manual transmission is back and MINI USA is celebrating by launching the MINI Manual Driving School. Located at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal California, the MINI Manual Driving School is intended to spread the joy of manual knowledge through a series of cources and on-track sessions. It’s also intended to show MINI’s comittment to rowing your own as a core brand vlaue.
MINI USA is seeing massive interest in the manual since it returned. In fact 30% of all JCW hardtops ordered recently have been manual – easily the highest take-rate of any manual car outside of a Porsche 911 GT3. With clear enthusiasm from would be owners, MINI is leaning into the manual and not only offering it but promoting it and then teaching how to use it.
The driving school is a half a day with sessions that start with safety, clutch friction point and the finner aspects of how a manual works. Then you get to the track and test shifting, shift points and emergency braking. Finally you end with a stop and go autocross and puts it all together.
The driving school is exclusively avilable at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal California.
Official Release: MINI Launches the MINI Manual Driving School
Thermal, Calif. – November 3, 2022 – MINI USA is bringing back the fun of driving a manual transmission by launching a new MINI Manual Driving School at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal, Calif. The announcement comes shortly after MINI USA confirmed the manual transmissions would return to specific MINI models for November production.
While the manual transmission has fallen to the wayside for many drivers over time, the excitement and passion for driving a manual has never faltered. To expand the accessibility and fun of driving a manual, MINI USA is offering a manual driving school that is open to any drivers looking for the opportunity to learn to drive manual in an engaging and safe atmosphere.
The BMW Group Performance Center West will be the exclusive location for the MINI Manual Driving School. Through the team of their experienced instructors, the school will incorporate both a classroom portion and a hands-on driving experience at the on-site test track. Since 1999, the BMW Performance Center has instructed over 500,000 participants at its two locations in Thermal, Calif., and Greenville, SC, through a wide range of driving courses. In 2016 it added MINI driving programs, and now plans to expand its instruction to teach students the fun of driving a manual.
MINI owners have long valued the manual transmission models offered by the brand. This initiative welcomes a new generation of manual drivers while allowing others to sharpen their skills after years of driving automatic. The course is designed to create a foundation for drivers to build their comfort with driving manual transmission vehicles, with the curriculum that focuses on vehicle controls, finding the friction point, practicing smooth starts, stops, acceleration, and more. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be tested on a timed course to assess the driver’s knowledge.
’’For over a decade, consumers have ranked MINI as the most fun to drive brand in America, which is exactly why we brought back the manual transmission,’’ said Rah Mahtani, Brand Communications Manager, MINI USA. ‘’The course is not only informative but also a fun and challenging learning experience for a new generation of MINI drivers that they will remember forever. ’’
The experience of manual vehicles goes far beyond the look and feel but focuses on the enjoyment of the drive. For most consumers, the opportunity to drive a manual is limited by their ability to learn how. With the BMW Group Performance Center classes, MINI is giving its audience the confidence to take their vehicles out on the open road and enjoy the experience to the fullest extent.