When Sir Alec Issigonis designed the Mini for the British Motor Corporation back in 1959, little did he know he would be creating one of the world’s most iconic automobiles. But that’s what the vehicle has become, starting humbly as an automobile that was intended to be an affordable, economical runabout and eventually charting its own path as a symbol of pop culture.
But the Mini’s story is a two-part tale that also involved the input of racer and race-car designer John Cooper, who, with his own talents and skills, elevated the automobile into a certifiable motorsport legend. Cooper single-handedly turned the Mini into a contender in the realm of auto racing, culminating in three historic wins at the Monte Carlo Rally in the mid-1960s.
That indomitable spirit of the Mini today continues with the current crop of cars manufactured under the BMW Group. It still retains its position as a fashion and trendsetter in the realm of automobiles. It has also retained its position as a vehicle that boasts impeccable driving characteristics, predominantly its legendary go-kart-like handling. As such it is not surprising to find the Mini continuing to lead the pack in the compact premium car category, a feat it has managed for the past two decades.
THE MINI EXPERIENCE
In order to showcase the capabilities of the iconic model, BMW Group Malaysia organised its Mini Track Day 2020 at the
Sepang International Circuit. The event brought together fans of the brand and driving enthusiasts for an afternoon of passion-driven fun on track, driven exclusively by a range of flagship Mini models.
The setting was part automotive playground and part showcase with several models on display as well as current generation models produced by the BMW Group. Guests were also given a rare opportunity to get up-close and personal with the classic Mini JCW. Also taking centre stage was the latest model offering in Malaysia, the new Mini Countryman Blackheath Edition.
The limited-edition dramatic all-black design Mini Countryman variant, reminiscent of the stunningly dark shrub land of Blackheath, South East London in the United Kingdom, took centre stage welcoming guests that evening. Limited to only 48 units and featuring an evocative blacked-out suit, it remains a stunning a first-ever special edition of the second generation Mini Countryman.
Amidst the models on display were informative displays highlighting the historic milestones of the model. “Passion is synonymous with Mini, and it has earned that reputation by imparting more than just passion-fuelled drives for the past 60 years but also by playing a significant role in ensuring that passion translates safely on the road,” explained Sashi Ambi, BMW Group Malaysia’s head of corporate communications.
The Mini Track Day 2020 unveiled the best qualities of the brand, specifically its iconic and timeless presence, superior and signature drive as well as handling. In order to demonstrate the capabilities of the car, the event served up a range of thrilling activities, which allowed participants to demonstrate and put their driving skills to the test during the Mini John Cooper Works (JCW) Track Experience and Mini Driving Experience.
Drivers went behind the wheel of some of Mini’s most powerful JCW models including the new Mini JCW Countryman 306HP and the new Mini JCW Clubman 306HP, as well as their 3- and 5-door counterparts – offering concentrated power with motor racing genes.
As guests, we were given the exclusive opportunity to take several allocated vehicles on the racetrack to experience for ourselves the pure performance and signature go-kart feeling that Mini is known for through the decades. Additionally, the Driving Experience also showed drivers how they can get the most out of a Mini in terms of safety, performance and driving fun.
This included experienced high-speed handbrake turns, further underlining the great handling of the Mini vehicles, complete with state-of-the-art technology, modern levels of safety, quality and reliability. Most importantly, drivers expanded their driving skills and gained knowledge about correct vehicle handling and driving in critical situations, behind the wheel of one of the world’s most coveted and appealing models.