WHAT'S COMING UP?

Annual Meeting: Miner's Leap Winery/Old Sugar Mill Details

Hi Everyone, It's that time of year again.  Our annual meeting will be held on September 17, 2017 at Miner's Leap Winery. Meetin...

MINI JCW Team Readies For Laguna Seca

MotoringFile has this Official Press Release:
Official Release: The Brownsburg, IN based MINI JCW Team has loaded their MINI F56 John Cooper Works cars for California to take on this season’s third Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. One of the most famous American race tracks, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will present the MINI JCW Team with another great test of speed and braking capabilities.

Team owner Luis Perocarpi said “We were very disappointed with our brake issues in Sebring. We fought hard all weekend but Mark Pombo’s brakes just didn’t hold out for the entire race and they gave out on his last lap”. After returning to the shop in Brownsburg, Indiana outside Indianapolis, the team has been working very hard to update the cars in time for Laguna Seca. In light of the braking performance issues at Sebring, IMSA has approved the team’s switch from the Cooper S model’s brake caliper back to the original John Cooper Works (JCW) brake calipers for better stopping power.

The MINI JCW Team had a top 10 finish at Laguna Seca last year in only their second outing. Last year Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca gave the team some braking challenges with its difficult corners, everyone on the team is anxious to see how the new IMSA approved OEM MINI JCW brakes will perform at the feet of their drivers.

The Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge race from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca can be live streamed on IMSA.com Saturday April 30th at 4:25pm ET and will be broadcast May 8th on FS1 at 8:00am ET.

MINI Tech Shapes MINI Buyers

Digital Trends at the NYAIS interviewed Ralph Mahler, Head of Product Management and Patrick McKenna, Department Head of Product Planning to discuss these two new model introductions, MINI’s focus on technology, and the future of the MINI brand.

MINI JCW Racing Team Gear Now Available

According to MOTORING FUN:
. . . Available in Mens or Ladies cuts, the jerseys feature the MINI John Cooper Works Racing Team logo on the front and a graphic of the 3 LAP Motorsports MINIs on the back.

U.K.'s Daily Post First Drive In A 2016 MINI Convertible

The Daily Post has Graham Scott take a first drive in the 2016 MINI Cooper Convertible. He exclaims in his review:
. . . If you’re looking for a convertible this summer that’s fun, then this fits the bill nicely. Fun, stylish, well made, it ticks the boxes and is noticeably better than its predecessor in key areas. It also offers good value for money even if something like the Fiat 500C is actually cheaper. Let your hair down.

Rob Smith Takes Another Crack At The Trophy

shropshirelive.com carries an article on MINI Challenge UK racer Rob Smith:
Multiple MINI Challenge race winner Rob Smith says he is eyeing nothing less than the coveted saloon car championship title this year after today, confirming his continuation in the popular category in the headline F56 Class. Delighted to extend his association with long term sponsors Evergreen Tyres, a leading value tyre manufacturer, national tyre wholesaler GroupTyre UK and BMTR, the longest established tyre specialist in Britain, the 23-year-old from Telford will again pilot a 260bhp MINI. . . .

Spy Photos of 2017 Countryman JCW

Car Advice has photos of the vehicle testing on the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

MINI Malaysia Teases The New MINI Clubman

According to paultan.org:
MINI Malaysia has released a new video on its YouTube channel, titled “Hit Chaser” – it follows the story of John O, the lead singer of local sensation Paperplane Pursuit, as the band went on to become a Billboard-charting act. . . .

Can You Make A Business Case For Producing The Superleggera?

Gabe Beita Kiser tries in an article for Car Buzz. Kiser pleads (and we couldn't agree more):
. . . the Mini Superleggera keeps things simple with a classic and iconic look, like a reincarnation of the Jaguar E-Type. A properly done chassis by BMW could give the Superleggera the ammo it needs to fight the Mazda MX-5 Miata while a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder could supply the gunpowder with about 200 horsepower of grunt. BMW could go as far as to supply the Mini with a light inline-six if horsepower figures in the neighborhood of the 300s are needed, although the bean counters would probably ax this idea in order to preserve sales of the M2. Regardless, the zippy and fun Superleggera would help to preserve Mini's playful image, one that is steadily being eroded by its bigger cars.

Depending on the balls that BMW has, it could extend the car and give it a solid roof to create a four-door Grand Coupe. And why not? The Germans are doing it with every other two-door and Mini doesn’t exactly have a history of sticking to its two-door guns. Going down the sedan/coupe route and adding the electric motors as Mini had initially planned for the car would open new doors. With a low price, a plug-in hybrid or even an electric Superleggera could give the Model 3 some solid competition despite its reduced practicality. As Mini has shown us before, emotion and retro design can trump reliability, practicality, and logic to create moneymaking cars that look great and are fun to drive. Please Mini, make it happen.

U.K's Independent Reviews The MINI Convertible

Sarah Bradley of Autocar writes for The Independent, in part:
. . . The soft-top drops in 18 seconds at the touch of a button, and even with it down the interior is surprisingly bluster-free. . . .

MINI Celebrates 15 Years Since Relaunch

BMWBlog looks at Oxford Plant employees as they celebrate 15 years since BMW relaunched the MINI.

Here's What You Get For About One and A Half Million Dollars

Australia's motoring reviews the 2016 MINI X-raid ALL4 Racing, equipped to take on Dakar, but only gives it a 72 out of 100.  Maybe it's the purchase price?

Tips To Get You Through Until MTTS 2016

The Daily Toggle provides 8 tips to get you through the three months until MTTS 2016, including:
4. Perfect your car dancing.


Clubman Sales Surging

autoblog notes:
The Mini Clubman has a polarizing design, but those who like it are snapping it up. According to Automotive News, the Clubman is on pace to become Mini USA's best selling model. Almost 1,700 vehicles were sold during the first quarter of 2016, and the vast majority – 1,037 units – were sold last month alone. These facts are made all the more noteworthy because Mini's sales fell 15 percent during the first quarter. . . .

New MINI Convertible Rain Warning App

BMWBlog discusses the new MINI application:
. . . The rain warning app checks the forecast in the area you are heading towards and if the chance of precipitation is high enough and you’re riding with the top open, it will display a notification telling you that you might want to close shop. . . .

11 Tips To Prepare Your MINI For MTTS 2016

The Daily Toggle provides the tips, including:
. . . If you’re packing enough to weigh down your MINI, you’re probably not packing right. . . .

auto123.com Reviews The MINI Cooper S Clubman

auto123.com decides in its review:
. . . MINI has found the ideal balance. . . .

JCW MINI Wins In Debut At Castrol BMW Race Driver Series

New Zealand's Scoop Culture reports, in part:
Auckland’s Milan Klinac claimed a race win on debut of his John Cooper Works MINI at the Castrol BMW Race Driver Series title deciding round held at Hampton Downs in the weekend.

The sixth round for the three-category series was a focus on title placings for most when Klinac arrived with the MINI. Purchased three weeks prior it was part of the national touring series of cars – formerly campaigned by Auckland’s Courtney Letica. . . .

MINI Moke Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

The Cairns Post of Australia reports:
IT’S a wheeled icon of the North that goes by many names – but to anyone that’s not a fanatic it’s just a Moke.

Leyland, Morris, Mini Moke; these diminutive vehicles have been buzzing around Australian roads and into the hearts of fans for 50 years as of last Thursday [March 31, 2016]. . . .

Express Has "7 Reasons To Buy A MINI Clubman"

U.K.'s Express's list of seven reasons includes this as no. 7:
7. That go-kart feel. The Clubman’s longer wheelbase, compared to the hatch, makes it a very slightly different proposition to drive, but not in a negative way. It still has that engaging, fun-to-drive, go-kart-like feel that is Minis USP, and it still feels grippy and agile – but it also feels a little more composed and rides a little better that the hatch, which is no bad thing.

Lightpainting With Classic Minis

JBH recounts how two classic Minis are perfect for lightpainting.

MotorWeek Tracks A 2016 MINI JCW

MINI Challenge Race Car Considered For Track Car Of The Year

evo puts the MINI Challenge race car in contention with elite track day cars -

Motor Trend's First Drive Review Of 2016 MCS Convertible

Motor Trend takes it for a spin and among its observations:
. . . The structural enhancement marks the single biggest improvement in the all-new topless Mini. Buyers of 20-year-old Mercedes SLs won’t get into one and think, “Wow, this thing is solid,” but they won’t suggest you buy one so you can finally use that “SH8KY MNI” license plate you’ve been dreaming of. . . .

Five New MINI Models Under Consideration

Automobile Magazine reports:
. . . The current list of potential Mini “superheroes” is as follows:

The MiniMini — not unlike the Rocketman concept (pictured) we’ve previously seen
The Coolbox — a wonderfully hip four-door sedan that would move the brand into new territory
The Roomba — a small minivan
The Superleggera — an elitist roadster with a hybrid powertrain, a concept version we’ve seen before
The Traveller — a practical yet compact crossover that would revive a classic Mini moniker


There are two other proposals floating around — a car described as a stylish, five-door version of the dying Paceman and an all-electric vehicle that isn’t tied to a specific form — but the cars listed above are the top candidates. . . .

MINI Sued In Class Action For Engine Problems

According to CarComplaints.com a class action lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleging engine defect in 2009-2014 MINI engines. The suit alleges:
. . . the cars are defective because their seals are made of a material that is prone to cracking. When the seals crack, fluids intended to lubricate the engine leak out of the system, which then causes overheating and engine damage. . . .

Carfection's 2016 MCS Convertible Video Review

BMWBlog discusses this video review:

Nevada City Adventure 2016 Set For May 21

Mini Mania's Nevada City Adventure 2016 is set for Saturday, May 21, 2016. Don't forget to RSVP.

What should you expect?
Join In On The Adventure of the Year!

This year's Nevada City Adventure is going to be epic! With lots of free goodies (including Free Dyno Runs), give aways, discounted services and parts and of course - the pleasure of meeting and greeting Classic Mini & MINI Cooper Enthusiasts from All-over!

Enjoy:
Music from The Bob Wood's Trio.
Free Lunch Sponsored by NIELLO MINI.
Free Dyno Runs.
Free Dyno Run/ECU Tune up for a lucky owner of a MINI Cooper F56 X.
Tech Talk Seminars.
Product and Service Discounts.
And of course our famous Nevada City Scenic Driving Tour!

Don't miss this Event!

BMW MINI Seeking New Talent

love:mini has an article that says, in part:
BMW Group has joined forces with other leading UK car manufacturers to help launch the Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service and develop the skilled workforce of the future.

The new Matching Service, developed and funded through the Automotive Industrial Partnership (an industry skills collaboration, supported by government), will help up to 10,000 high quality candidates per annum secure an automotive apprenticeship, where the company programmes to which they apply are oversubscribed. . . .

For Those Who Don't Care What Haters Think

Jalopnik says about the new MINI Cooper S Convertible:
. . . If you’re willing to adjust your life around your car, some of which involves a good driving experience with the openness of a drop-top, then the Cooper S Convertible is probably perfect for you. You just probably also happen to film montages of your weekend with an overdose of bright Instagram filters set to a playlist curated by Patrick George. . . .

The MINI April Invitational

Feeding America announces:
MINI USA is proud to partner with Feeding America®, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization dedicated to fighting domestic hunger through a network of food banks. In the U.S., there is more than enough food to feed the 48 million people struggling with hunger, and MINI dealers are proud to support Feeding America in its efforts to rescue healthy food to help families, children and seniors when they need it most.

During the national spring sales event – The MINI April Invitational – customers will receive a special offer on a new MINI model by registering and taking a test drive at MINI dealerships in the U.S. between Friday, April 15-Sunday, April 24. For every customer registration at their location, MINI dealerships will donate $20 to Feeding America, helping provide 220 meals* to people in need.

To learn more about MINI USA’s efforts to Defy Hunger, visit MINIUSA.COM/OFFER.

*$1 helps provide 11 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.

3 MINI ALL4 Racing Teams Compete At Sealine Cross Country Rally (Qatar)

lastusa covers the event and posts this press release:
Three MINI ALL4 Racing to compete at the Sealine Cross Country Rally (Qatar) – round 3 of the 2016 FIA Cross Country World Cup.

Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (GER) look to improve on their successful second place at round 2, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

Munich. The Sealine Cross Country Rally is the third round of the 2016 FIA Cross Country World Cup and takes place 17th-22nd April. Three MINI ALL4 Racing will start the rally that involves racing in the sands and rocky desert regions of Qatar in the Arabian Peninsular.

With race temperatures looking to achieve in excess of 40°C in the desert, this 1,960km race will no doubt call upon and underline the strengths of the MINI ALL4 Racing and its race-ready crews – previous desert race wins show the MINI ALL4 Racing is the car to beat in such climates.

Fresh from a successful second-place at the previous round (Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge), the MINI ALL4 Racing (#202) crew of Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (GER) will look to go one better in Qatar. Although only his second outing in recent years inside a MINI ALL4 Racing, Al Rajhi is on form and hungry for the win.

The second MINI ALL4 Racing (#203) to challenge for the overall win at Qatar is that of Russian pairing Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov. This dynamic duo are no strangers to the desert and all the difficulties that it holds, but experience counts for a lot when dealing with high temperatures and racing surfaces that can puncture tyres as easily as breathing.

The third MINI ALL4 Racing (#205) sees a welcome return of Portuguese driver Ricardo Porém, with fellow countryman and brother Manuel Porém in the co-driver’s seat. Ricardo is a confirmed fan of the MINI ALL4 Racing as a result of winning the 2014 Baja Portalegre inside this iconic car. All eyes will be on the Portuguese pairing to see if race success can be replicated once more.

Race action will start on Monday 18th April when the rally competitors leave the modern facilities of the Losail Circuit to start Leg 1 of the 5 Leg race.

Race calendar: 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

19/02 – 22/02 Baja Russia
02/04 – 7/04 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
17/04 – 22/04 Sealine Cross-Country Rally Qatar
08/05 – 15/05 Pharaons Rally
23/06 – 26/06 Italian Baja
22/07 – 24/07 Baja Aragón
11/08 – 14/08 HunGarian Baja

25/08 – 28/08 Baja Poland

03/10 – 08/10 Rallye Oilibya du Maroc
21/10 – 23/10 Baja Portalegre 500

Felbermair New Head Of MINIUSA

According to Automotive News:
David Duncan, vice president of Mini of the Americas, will take on a new role as head of BMW Group’s head of corporate and special sales, the automaker said today.

Duncan, who will begin in his new job May 1, will be succeeded by Thomas Felbermair, who had a similar role with Mini in Europe. Duncan will oversee Mini’s corporate fleet sales and European delivery, among other responsibilities. . . .

Racing Driver Butler-Henderson New MINI Brand Ambassador.

MotoringFile carries this MINI UK press release:
Official release: MINI UK is proud to announce British racing driver, Charlie Butler-Henderson, 37, as a new brand ambassador.

2016 will represent the first time Butler-Henderson competes as a MINI ambassador but he is in no way new to the track. He has driven in the British Touring Car Championship, MINI CHALLENGE 2015, Ginetta G50 Cup and the Trofeo Abarth 500 Great Britain.

Butler-Henderson has racing in his blood, coming from a long line of motorsport heritage. His father, Guy, was a member of the British karting team; his Grandfather, Lionel, raced cars for racing legend Fraser Nash, and his sister Vicki, TV presenter on 5th gear and Top Gear, is known as the first woman to win a Maserati race at age 30 in the Maserati Trofeo support race at the British F1 GP in 2002.

Butler-Henderson joins the MINI racing team, participating in seven MINI CHALLENGE events this season, starting on 23rd April at Donington Park. The MINI CHALLENGE is a series of races held at some of the UK’s most iconic tracks – Brands Hatch GP, Donington, Oulton Park, Silverstone and Snetterton – where fans of MINI and can tear around the circuits in the newest specially developed MINI John Cooper Works race cars. Charlie currently holds the 2015 MINI CHALLENGE Championship title, crossing the finishing line within two seconds of his competitors.

Catch Charlie and all the action on Channel 4 next month when the MINI CHALLENGE series makes its debut with a thirty minute programme offering petrol heads some of the most exciting and thrill-a-minute racing in the UK.

Commenting on the new partnership, Butler-Henderson says, “This is a very exciting year for me and I am honoured to be working with MINI; it is a dream come true. I am looking forward to putting my Union Jack MINI JCW to the test at Donington Park in two weeks and hope to retain my title.”

Nicolas Griebner, MINI UK Head of Product, “MINI has racing in its DNA so we are really excited to be supporting such a fantastic and charismatic racing driver – I’m looking forward to seeing him in action defending his title throughout the season.”

Charlie will be among the motorsport legends at Goodwood Festival of Speed from 23rd – 26th June, racing up the famous Hillclimb in the MINI CHALLENGE car (twice daily on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.)

When Butler-Henderson is not racing, he has a MINI John Cooper Works Hatch to drive around the UK (pictured above). Launched in 2015, the MINI John Cooper Works Hatch offers premium performance for the road. With a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine and TwinPower Turbo Technology, the MINI John Cooper Works achieves top speeds of 153mph and reaches 62mph in 6.3 seconds.

MINI Re-evaluates Relationship With Soccer Star Wambach

Democrat & Chronicle says:
MINI USA, re-inventors of the iconic British automobile, says it is “re-evaluating” its endorsement relationship with Abby Wambach in after the retired soccer star from Pittsford was charged with driving under the influence, according to the Associated Press.
She is featured in this MINI commercial:

"Goes Big By Staying Small"

Cheatsheet examines the state of MINI at the 2016 NYIAS and observes:
. . . at a time when most automakers are itching to drop everything that isn’t a crossover to… build more crossovers, Mini is in the unique position of offering cars that can’t easily be pigeonholed, providing a stylish alternative to the faceless, beige rank-and-file. And at the New York Auto Show, the brand positioned itself to become even more competitive with the world premieres of the John Cooper Works Convertible and all-wheel drive Clubman All4. . . .

Next Up - A MINI Sedan?

MotoringFile reports:
Autocar, that UK bastion of credible automotive journalism, is reporting that a MINI sedan is looking likely. . . .

MINI Meet West 2016 - June 6-9, 2016 In San Diego



MINI Meet West 2016 takes place in San Diego, June 6 through 9, 2016. The organizers recently issued this press release:
Mini Meet West, June 6 - 9th, 2016
San Diego, California

Mini Meet West registrations have been flowing in, and we have been working on each event, bringing you the best of the best. A caravan of Minis will be coming from Oregon, through the Pacific Northwest, and following the glorious roads, all the way down to San Diego, where we will be meeting them in the parking lot, with the local media recording the event.

Our Show and Shine, held in the grassy area of Spanish Landing Park East, is shaping up to be an excellent day, greeting old friends and new, right along the water of the Bay, where boats gently rock in the calm waters. The photo opportunities will have us all excited, and our team photographers plan to take both candid and posed shots. Don't forget the awards! Classes for both Minis and MINIs abound. Afterward, a cruise is planned, which will run through the historic Balboa Park, full of Museums, fountains, statues, a Carousel, and gardens galore. Balboa Park was built for the 1915 Pan California Exposition, on the scale of a Worlds Fair. Many of the buildings from 1915 still exist, and are in constant use. The Automotive Museum at Balboa Park will be our focus, after the Show and Shine, or participants are welcome to head out to the World famous beaches, the shopping district, the Gaslamp Quarter, Mission Bay, Old Town, or the Zoo.

On Wednesday, the thrills and excitement of an Autocross will unfold, in the massive parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium. With unprecedented room to stretch out, the Autocross will give everyone an opportunity to feel their engines and squeal their wheels! A funkhana, with slower speeds and amusing obstacles, will run simultaneously with the Autocross, on a separate area of the parking lot. We'll be serving box lunches, so that no one has to leave!

Thursday is our Rally Day, and we plan two Rallies. One longer Rally, which will encompass less populated areas of the County, and will run through some of the stunning countryside and twisty lanes that San Diego natives enjoy when no one else is here! The shorter Rally route is a showcase of San Diego, from its beaches, to its high elevations and sweeping views, into downtown. If you want to see San Diego all in one day, you can't do better than the short Rally route.

Thursday night, we have our banquet. A buffet style, so that you can choose your meal and eat your fill, with entertainment and raffle prizes drawn and awards given. While the adults are banquetting, the kids will be entertained by a free Lego workshop, with an emphasis on learning fun, right across the hallway. The adults can enjoy their meals and conversation, and the kids will have their special meals and Legos. The time is going to fly for everyone!

Some of the raffle prizes that have already been donated, are:

One set of new tires for Classics, donated by Yokohama Tires
One set of new tires for MINIs, donated by Yokohama Tires
One set of new tires for Classics, donated by Falken Tires
Two nights at the Hard Rock Hotel, in the Gaslamp, (a $600 value!) donated by St Clair Insurance/Coverage for your Toys

For a full list of donations, sponsors, events, the calendar, and registration, please see:
www.minimeetwest2016.com

our active Facebook page is:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/minimeetwest2016/

We hope that you will join us at Mini Meet West!

BMW And MINI Car-Sharing Coming To Seattle

According to Tech Times:
. . . The Seattle Times is reporting that the automaker announced Friday that it's launching a car-sharing service, ReachNow, in Seattle.

The way the program will work is it will essentially allow drivers to get access to a car whenever they want, ranging from the BMW 3 Series to Mini Cooper and even electric BMW i3 models as part of its 370-vehicle fleet with which to start out. . . .

MINI Cooper Vs Audi A1 Vs Citroen DS 3

BMWBlog interprets the AutoExpress comparison:
. . . Ever since BMW took over MINI, the British brand has been producing some very high quality vehicles that have proved to be fun, practical and reliable. The MINI Cooper takes first place in this test and it absolutely deserves it.

Made From A Mini Moke

Bring A Trailer highlights this Mini Moke-based Mooncraft Moke Sport on Craigslist in Fountain Valley, California for $46,500.

MINI's "Big Hitter"

U.K.'s Daily Record's article by Bruce Booth starts:
IF you asked me which model epitomised the great British love affair with everything MINI then it has to be the jacked-up, beefed-up Countryman.

Forget the rest, for this was the “Big Daddy” of the range, the first to feature five doors, five seats and four-wheel drive.

Yet the car still offered the same charm and all-round appeal that has been part of the MINI heritage that started way back in 1959.

* * *

Two MINI ALL4 Racing Podium, Four In Top Five, At Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Here is the BMW Group PressClub USA press release:
Munich. The MINI ALL4 Racing crew of Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (GER) completed the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, round two of the 2016 FIA Cross Country World Cup, with a hard-earned second place. Joining them on the rostrum in third place was the fellow MINI ALL4 Racing crew of Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and Michel Perin (FRA).

Further success for MINI came with four MINI ALL4 Racing completing the race within the top five, and a total of five of these iconic long-distance cross-country rally cars completed within the top ten.

The pairing of Yazeed Al Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk proved to be an exceptional one with a top five finish at the end of every stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. “I’m very happy,” said Al Rajhi. “It is not an easy rally. There are a lot of risks in the dunes because of the steep drops and the sand. We managed it well and controlled our race to achieve the position.”

Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) once again showed why he and co-driver Michel Perin (FRA) are a force to be reckoned with. Although this event was Hirvonen’s longest desert race to date, he took a stage win (St 4) and finished third place overall.

Hirvonen: “Five days of only dunes and sand makes it a lot tougher than I thought. It has made me sweat more than I ever have. But still, it was a good experience and it has been a good week. To finish third is a good result.”

For American Bryce Menzies, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was his first race at the controls of a MINI ALL4 Racing – and the first race he has had to contend with five days continuous racing in desert conditions. For these reasons alone it is little wonder he and co-driver Andreas Schulz (GER) were celebrating their fourth place at the end of this challengine race.

Menzies: “It was very challenging for the first couple of days; getting stuck twice. If it wasn’t for these mistakes we would have done really well. Overall it felt really good to be in the MINI ALL4 Racing; learning what it can do and what it can take. Despite feeling ill for the last couple of days the race was a real blast.”

Jakub Przygonski (POL) with Tom Colsoul (BEL) in MINI ALL4 Racing #209 continued his learning curve of racing on four-wheels. The former motorcycle rally rider placed his MINI ALL4 racing in fifth place at the end of the five day race.

“I enjoyed the race a lot, said Przygonski, “because I learned a lot on how to race hard in the dunes. I have also learned the level of competition in the cars is the same as with the bikes and that it is very high. So yes, I am happy with the result.”

United Arab Emirates driver Sh. Khalid Al Qassimi and co-driver Khalid Al Kendi (Abu Dhabi Racing #203) were the fifth MINI ALL4 Racing crew to complete inside the top ten with a determined seventh place.

German duo Stephan Schott and Holm Schmidt staged a magnificent recovery after slipping back in the race order on day three of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. At the end of the final stage (St 5) they finished in 11th to secure 18th overall.

The Russian pair of Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (#201) became front runners amongst the MINI ALL4 Racing during the early stages of the rally. Unfortunately an incident mid-point of the race led to retirement.

2016 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: MINI ALL4 Racing positions at race end

PositionDriverCo-driver#TeamTime
2ndYazeed Al Rajhi (KSA)Timo Gottschalk (GER)204X-raid Team17:47:02
+32:13
3rdMikko Hirvonen (FIN)Michel Perin (FRA)205X-raid Team17:53:02
+38:13
4thBryce Menzies (USA)Andreas Schulz (GER)211X-raid Team17:59:04
+44:15
5thJakub Przygonski (POL)Tom Colsoul (BEL)209X-raid Team18:06:33
+51:44
7thSh. Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE)Khalid Al Kendi (ARE)203Abu Dhabi Racing18:56:01
+1:41:12
18thStephan Schott (GER)Holm Schmidt (GER)210X-raid Team28:45:33
+11:30:44

Race calendar: 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

19/02 – 22/02 Baja Russia
02/04 – 7/04 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
17/04 – 22/04 Sealine Cross-Country Rally Qatar
08/05 – 15/05 Pharaons Rally
23/06 – 26/06 Italian Baja
22/07 – 24/07 Baja Aragón
11/08 – 14/08 HunGarian Baja

25/08 – 28/08 Baja Poland

03/10 – 08/10 Rallye Oilibya du Maroc
21/10 – 23/10 Baja Portalegre 500

MINI Cooper To Revamp Brand

According to David Kirkpatrick at MarketingDive:
Dive Brief:
  • The Mini Cooper brand is facing challenges in an automotive world full of SUV and luxury car competition, according to a report by Bloomberg.
  • To address its challenges, Mini is making larger vehicles and looking to appeal to new customers as well as fans.
  • “They are definitely reaching a new audience," Ted Marzilli, chief executive officer of YouGov Plc’s BrandIndex, told Bloomberg. "The question is whether all of their customers will come along for the ride.” . . . .

A MINI Story - Whip It. Whip It Good

The Daily Toggle enlightens its readers with the story of Li Shou, a cat that ate a 40 cm antenna off a classic Mini Cooper and lived to meow about it.

". . . The Very Definition Of Niche"

That is how Carscoops headlines its review of the 2017 MINI Convertible JCW at the 2016 New York International Automobile Show. 

2016 MINI Clubman ALL4 At NYIAS

BMWBlog has the photos and description.

New Movie From MINI

BMWBlog reports:
. . . MINI UK just released a short film featuring the new MINI Convertible and it couldn’t be any closer in concept to the iconic Bill Murray flick – “The Groundhog Day”. . . .

MINI Brand Experience Amsterdam

MotoringFile reports, in part:
. . . Amsterdam doesn’t have room for a huge car dealership in the heart of the city. In December, 2011 MINI opened the MINI Brand Experience store in Amsterdam. Do they sell MINIs? No, but they sell the experience and boat loads of merchandise. . . .

Love For A 1965 Mini

Boston.com features an article on Ken Lemoine, founder of the Boston Cup car show, and his love affair with his 1965 Morris Mini Traveller.

2016 MINI JCW Convertible At NYIAS

BMWBlog covers the car with photos and an article.

TrueCar Awards Go To The 2014 MINI Hardtop And Countryman

Go to The Daily Toggle to read more:
. . . The MINI Cooper Hardtop and Countryman were honored by TrueCar in their first ever TrueCar Pre-Owned Value Awards yesterday. The Countryman was named in the subcompact utility segment and the Hardtop in the Premium Compact segment. . . .

Gold Rush Or Fool's Gold?

By Dia Show Tuning, found at The Daily Toggle.

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: 4 MINI ALL4 Racing In Top Five After Stage

Just in, this press release from BMW Group PressClub USA:
Munich. The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, round two of the 2016 FIA Cross Country World Cup is shaping up for an exciting finale. After Stage3 of this prestigious desert race, four MINI ALL4 Racing are placed within the top five. To further underline the MINI ALL4 Racing’s long distance desert capability, six MINI ALL4 Racing fill positions 2nd to 7th place.

At the end of St 3 (Al Ain Water) and four days of intense racing across the desert stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the Russian pairing of Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (#201) have placed their MINI ALL4 Racing in second place. With two stages to go, it is still too early for last year’s winner Vasilyev to think about a repeat win.

“Today showed the true nature of the race – the dunes were very difficult,” said Vasilyev. “Thankfully there was no rain but I still drove carefully. Not because it is Konstantin’s birthday today, but to maintain the fight.”

Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (GER) in MINI ALL4 Racing #204 finished today’s stage in fifth place and presently sit in third place overall. Despite Al Rajhi’s desert experience, at one point he too fell victim to the sand, which resulted in a short delay.

Al Rajhi: “We got stuck and had to get out of the car to get free. This unfortunately lost us time. The last section in the smaller dunes helped because it was was very fast...”

Jakub Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) take up fourth place in the race standings. Today’s seventh at stage end does not reflect on the speed of this MINI ALL4 Racing crew. On the opening day’s stadium Super Special Stage, Przygonski set the fastest time much to the delight of this amiable man from Poland.

Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) continued his experience of racing in the dunes with a hard fought third at the end of today’s 280km race. Hirvonen and co-driver Michel Perin (FRA) are placed fifth overall. After two day’s racing in cool and wet conditions, the desert heat returned but didn’t thaw the ice-cool Finnish driver. “No drama! Nothing special,” said Hirvonen. “We did get stuck several times but not heavy – just put it in reverse gear and we were fine.”

For American Bryce Menzies, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is his first full FIA long distance desert race and first time inside a MINI ALL4 Racing... although you wouldn’t think so. With the experienced Andreas Schulz (GER) by his side, at the opening day’s Super Special Stage they set the same time as pole setter Jakub Przygonski. Today’s stage saw them cross the finish line in fourth to place them sixth overall.

United Arab Emirates driver Sh. Khalid Al Qassimi and co-driver Khalid Al Kendi (Abu Dhabi Racing #203) are the sixth of the MINI ALL4 Racing crews currently placed inside the top ten. Today’s stage netted a valiant fourth and seventh overall despite Al Qassimi receiving a back injury during the previous stage.

There are now two stages of just over 490km total left to play out before the end of the 2016 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on Thursday 7th April.

2016 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: MINI ALL4 Racing positions after St3

PositionDriverCo-driver#TeamTime
2ndVladimir Vasilyev (RUS)Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS)201G-Energy Team11:17:38.0
+15:19.0
3rdYazeed Al Rajhi (KSA)Timo Gottschalk (GER)204X-raid Team11:24:32.0
+22:13.0
4thJakub Przygonski (POL)Tom Colsoul (BEL)209X-raid Team11:32:47.0
+30:28.0
5thMikko Hirvonen (FIN)Michel Perin (FRA)205X-raid Team11:39:07.0
+36:48.0
6thBryce Menzies (USA)Andreas Schulz (GER)211X-raid Team11:40:17.0
+37:58.0
7thSh. Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE)Khalid Al Kendi (ARE)203Abu Dhabi Racing11:54:55.0
+52:36.0
28thStephan Schott (GER)Holm Schmidt (GER)210X-raid Team19:12:51.0
+8:10:32.0

Race calendar: 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies.

19/02 – 22/02 Baja Russia
02/04 – 7/04 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
17/04 – 22/04 Sealine Cross-Country Rally Qatar
08/05 – 15/05 Pharaons Rally
23/06 – 26/06 Italian Baja
22/07 – 24/07 Baja Aragón
11/08 – 14/08 HunGarian Baja
25/08 – 28/08 Baja Poland
03/10 – 08/10 Rallye Oilibya du Maroc
21/10 – 23/10 Baja Portalegre 500

Tuned To Be Faster Than A Bugatti Veyron Over 400 Metres.

U.K.'s Express has a feature article on Tom Barnes who has spent the past decade pimping his red Mini which does a quarter of a mile in 10.2 seconds compared to the Bugatti's 10.4 seconds

CarAndBike's First 2016 MINI Cooper Convertible Drive

India's carandbike gives a first drive review of the 2016 MINI Cooper S Convertible and, in part, observes:
. . . The MINI Cooper S Convertible lacks no drama while driving it even for a short while. The 2-litre, 4-cylinder turbo motor roars in delight every time you down the pedal in any driving mode you choose (Green, Mid, and Sport). The super quick 6-speed automatic with steering shift paddles adds to the drama except when the potholes kill it with the stiff suspension makes you grit your teeth. BMW instructors allowed us to get a quick sense the MINI's quick acceleration, solid braking and the go-kart type handling through slaloms. . . .

MINIs Take New York

During the 2016 NYIAS MINI took its cars on a day in New York for a photoshoot.  Check out the photos from the photo shoot at MotoringFile.

2016 MINI A Top Safety Pick

Kansas City Infozine announces the 2016 Mini Cooper qualifies for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick+ award and provides this video:

MINI's Brooklyn Gambit

Bedford+Bowery reports MINI is converting an Old Brooklyn Bazaar building into an eatery, gallery and a "creative pipeline."

AOL Cars In Lisbon Test-Drive's 2016 MINI Cooper Convertible S

Grandtourer Cars discusses the event and culls:
. . . Our well-appointed Cooper S test vehicle’s dash was dominated by a large 8.8-inch but the Mini convertible is comfortably the best one they’ve made yet. . . .

No MINI 4-Door JCW

BMWBlog reports there will be no 4-Door MINI Cooper JCW although the Clubman is slated to get the JCW treatment.

NORCAL MINIS CALENDAR & OTHER EVENTS