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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...

2017 AC Schnitzer MINI Cooper Cabrio JCW

Caricos hosts this press release on the AC Schnitzer version of the 2017 MINI JCW Convertible:
AC Schnitzer has been attracting attention for almost 30 years, and not just as a specialist for BMW tuning. The Aachen-based tuning specialist also offers custom-made and unusual components for MINI vehicles.

The Hatch, Clubman and Cabriolet by AC Schnitzer meet the wishes of the typical MINI driver for an individual, striking and expressive vehicle.

Expressivity on the road is provided by AC Schnitzer with performance upgrades which come with a two-year warranty, e.g. for the MINI Cooper from 136 HP to 170 HP. Sporting desires are fulfilled by the MINI Cooper S which, after the performance upgrade by the AC Schnitzer engineers, delivers 235 HP instead of 192 HP. The MINI JCW benefits from a power gain of 34 HP from 231 to 265 HP.

A striking note is provided by the exhaust system, available with or without sound pipe. Rear silencers with integral exhaust gas valve, tailpipes in "Sport" or "Sport Black" design, and "Track Mode" valve control with remote control for sound optimization, are an essential feature when MINI drivers want to express their individuality. The AC Schnitzer Racing exhaust system also comes in a particularly extrovert export version. Like all exhaust systems for the MINI, the origins of the striking sound are revealed with the AC Schnitzer "Sport" or "Sport Black" tailpipe.

The bodystyling components from the Aachen-based company provide a more individual look for enthusiastic MINI drivers. The aerodynamically efficient front splitter doesn't even need painting and is easy to install: thanks to its surface structure which precisely matches the standard wing recesses, the AC Schnitzer front splitter is always a perfect fit - whatever the colour of the base vehicle. Together with the décor set, the rear "Technology & Design" sticker and the rear skirt film, a great appearance is guaranteed.

The MINI by AC Schnitzer also stands out with expressive design in the interior. Aluminium pedals and footrest, together with velours floor mats also impress the passengers.

The AC Schnitzer range naturally also includes AC Schnitzer wheelsets based on the new AC1 BiColor or Anthracite alloys in 19-inch. These rims were specifically developed for the current generation of MINI with its modified pitch circle. They are fitted with tyres size 215/35 R 19 or 225/35 R 19 for the Clubman all round.

Together with the AC Schnitzer suspension spring kits (lowering by approx. 20–30 mm at the front, approx. 25-35 mm at the rear), the MINIs by AC Schnitzer are not only sure to drive safely through corners but will always be on the wish list of all MINI fans looking for a more individual, striking and expressive drive.

6,000 Summer Miles With The New Clubman

MotoringFile reflects on its 6,000 miles with the new MINI Clubman:
. . . Our Clubman is officially broken in and part of the MotoringFile family. And in all of those 6,000 miles we’ve had zero problems and nothing but a fantastic ownership experience. . . .

Test Drive Of The 2016 MINI JCW

MTTS 2016 Recap

MINI offers this official press release:
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – July 27, 2016- MINI TAKES THE STATES 2016 (MTTS), the legendary two-week cross-country rally for MINI owners and enthusiasts, came to an end this weekend at The Thermal Club in Palm Springs, Calif., after an epic 4,397 mile adventure that started at Atlanta Motor Speedway on July 9th. Travelling through two national parks and eight race tracks, the biennial trek attracted a record 4,000 plus MINI owners over the two weeks, with more than 900 owners going “all the way”. At times the group swelled to more than 1,500 owners and 700 MINI vehicles of all shapes, colors and sizes.

Although the loyal MINI community never needs a reason to rally, this year they motored with a purpose. The group, with participants from all over the U.S. and around the world, took to America’s country backroads and freeways to #DefyHunger with charity partner Feeding America . By the time the rally had come to a close at the Thermal Club, the group had raised enough money to provide more than one million meals to help people facing hunger though their fundraising efforts, easily topping the initial goal of 800,000 meals.

“The turnout for MTTS 2016 was incredible and we could not be more proud of the MINI community for everything they’ve done to help us support Feeding America,” said Tom Noble, Department Head, MINI Brand Communications. “Our owners not only gained the support of their friends and family at home but they also engaged with people in the local communities along the route. Because of their efforts we are able to help Feeding America to get healthy food to where it’s needed most.”

The two-week adventure through 14 cities in 15 days kicked off with a team of parachutists who dove from planes 3,000 feet in the sky towards a fleet of MINI Convertibles filled with food donations, asking everyone in attendance to “jump in” to help #DefyHunger.

And that’s just what they did. “Hunger exists in every county in the United States, and it’s a reality for 48 million Americans who don’t know where they’ll find their next meal,” said Nancy Curby, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, Feeding America. “It’s an issue that will not and cannot be solved unless we do it together, and we couldn’t be more grateful to see the support from MINI USA and their loyal community.”

Official press photos and b-roll from the entire 14-day event are available for download on MINIUSANEWS.com. Browse through a collection of amazing stories from the road captured by the MINI USA team on the MTTS 2016 Blog on MINIUSANEWS.com. Media interested in updates on MINI USA can also follow us on Twitter at @MINIUSANEWS.

About MINI in the US

MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 126 MINI passenger car dealers in 39 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of six unique vehicles.

About Feeding America Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Journalist notes: Media information about MINI and its products is available to journalists on-line at www.miniusanews.com. Follow us on Twitter at @MINIUSANEWS

Consumer information about MINI products is available via the internet at: www.MINIUSA.com.

Clubman ALL4 "Despite 4x4 Capability, The Car Is Not An Off-Road Vehicle"

U.K.'s Sunday Express reviews the new MINI Clubman ALL4 and has some nice things to say. However, reporter Craig Thomas opines:
. . . The big question, though, is whether the All4 adds anything to the Clubman’s on-road abilities. In reality, it actually takes a lot away. . . .

A Visit To MINI Plant Oxford

BMWBlog takes us on the tour and tells us all about it.

A Trip To Where The First JCWs Were Made

ars technica uk takes a new MINI JCW to the birthplace of the original JCW and provides a history lesson.on the moniker.

Autoweek Reviews The 2016 MINI Convertible

Autoweek associate editor Graham Kozak reviews the 2016 MINI Convertible and concludes:
. . . The Mini is a pleasant-to-drive machine that just so happens to be a ragtop wearing vintage-ish sheetmetal and optional bonnet stripes. I have a hard time believing that anyone in its target audience will care one bit that BMC never built a drop-top back in the 1960s. So, while I don’t see it stealing much thunder from the MX-5, it’s fairly well executed for what it is -- and after a sunny day’s drive, not quite as baffling as it first seems.

20 MINI Cooper JCW Pros For Malaysia

love:mini reports 20 MINI JCW Pros will be produced as a limited edition for Malaysia and discusses their unique features, including:
. . . Mechanical changes are made up of the inclusion of a JCW Pro tuning kit, which consists of a performance-optimised engine update and a valve silencer system (RM10,000). The package is good enough to boost output on the base B48 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo engine from 192 hp to 211 hp. Torque is also bumped up to 300 Nm from the standard 280Nm seen on the Cooper S 5 Door.

As for the exhaust flap system, this one offers two sonic modes. There’s Sport for a full sound to accompany everyday driving and Track, which offers backfire pops and cracking for added visceral appeal. Selection can be done wirelessly via two clicks of the Bluetooth 4.0 controller. Carbon tailpipe trim (RM3,000) apply a finishing visual touch. . . .

Not All MINI Drivers Are Good Drivers

PowerNationTV posts this video of a Tacoma, WA asshat MINI driver causing a major traffic accident. Come on people. There are other people on the Interstate. Don't be an asshat.

Here's What Jalopnik Thinks Of The 2016 MCS Convertible

Jalopnik provides its first drive review of the 2016 MINI Cooper S Convertible and concludes:
. . . If a fun, sporty convertible is your thing and you don’t mind spending a bit more dough, then the new Mini Cooper S ‘vert ticks all the right boxes. . . .

CNet On Cars Examines The New MINI Clubman


MINI To "Defy Labels" During Rio Olympics

MINI will provide long form interviews with a selection of athletes at the Olympics as part of its "Defy Labels" marketing campaign, according to Automotive News, such as:

X-Raid Team To Contest Baja Aragon

love:mini reports three MINI ALL4 Racing contest Baja Aragon in Spain while the other half of the team completes the Silk Way Rally.  Baja Aragon occurred July 22 - 24, 2016 and, according to the article:
. . . The event is one of the most popular ones on the FIA World Cup calendar. The tracks are demanding, with both driver and co-driver having to be fully focused all the time if they want to make it to the top. Rocky sections represent a true punishment for the tyres and in addition, the distance to cover in the Baja Aragon is rather long, compared to other Bajas. . . .

Overview Of And Results From The Silk Way Rally

The Daily Mail examines the almost 6,700 mile Silk Way Rally in which MINI ALL4 Racing had several teams, a run from Moscow to Bejing across the Gobi Desert.

love:mini reports four of the top five finishers were MINIs!:
. . . At the end of the 14-stage marathon with a total distance of more than 10,000 kilometres, Al-Rajhi finished second behind Peugeot’s Cyril Despres. Right behind the Saudi, three other MINI ALL4 Racing pairings also secured top-five positions: third place was clinched by the Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov who raced for Team VRT and were followed by Harry Hunt (GBR) / Andreas Schulz (GER) and Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) /Anton Nikolayev (RUS) in fourth and fifth positions respectively. And Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ) and Vladimir Demanyenko (RUS) took their MINI ALL4 Racing to 10th place. . . .

MTTS 2016 In Sturgis

Rapid City Journal covers MINI Takes The States 2016 as it hit Sturgis,

MTTS 2016 Invasion Of Cheyenne, WY

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle covers MINI Takes The States 2016 stop in Cheyenne, WY.

Sales Stop And Recall For New MINI Clubman

MotoringFile reports:
. . . MINI USA has issued a delivery Stop & Recall on all MINI Clubman produced from July 1, 2015 through July 14, 2016. According to those in the know the head airbag (side airbag curtain) may not deploy properly in a side crash. The good news is that the fix will be quick and easy.

Approximately 2,700 vehicles are in dealer inventory and additional vehicles have been recently sold and are subject to the recall as well.

The Fix

Surprisingly the fix will be a 100% software related. This means that all owners will have to do it take their cars to dealers for a quick software

Our advice – if you have a MINI Clubman that is subject to this recall (like we do) hold tight. You’ll be notified by MINI when a fix is available and ready at your local dealer.

It’s worth noting that the Clubman received four starts in the stringent Euro NCAP tests late last year. Whether this issue relates to Clubman sold outside the US is unknown at this time.

MINI Exterior Design Chief Expounds On The MINI Vision Next 100 Concept

BMWBlog covers MINI's Head of Exterior Design, Christopher Weil's discussion of the MINI Vision Next 100 Concept in this video:

MTTS 2016 Hits $800,000 Feeding America Fundraising Goal

MotoringFile reports on the progress of MINI Takes The States 2016 and notes that MTTS has already achieved its $800,000 fundraising goal for Feeding America, and MTTS 2016 is only half over!

Silk Way Rally 4 MINI ALL4 Racing In Top 6

After Stage 9, with six stages remaining, love:mini reports four MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles are in the the top six.

BMWBlog Spends A Few Days With MTTS 2016

BMWBlog spent a few days on the road with MINI Takes The States 2016 and writes about the experience.

"Go-Kart Time"

Motor Trend reviews the 2017 MINI Convertible and calls it "a tiny bundle of open-air fun."

Los Angeles' Petersen Automotive Museum Has Been Nominated


VISIT        |        EXHIBITS        |        CONTACTS


USA Today's 10best.com has nominated the Petersen as a contender for its Best Transportation Museum award. Help it top the list by casting your vote now. Your participation will help further the museum;s mission to explore and present the history of the automobile in its new and greatly improved museum.


Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

323-930-2277

www.petersen.org

www.carstories.com






Mini Countryman PHEV Spied Charging

autoblog has a plethora of spy shots of the vehicle sucking electrons.

First Drive Review Of The MINI JCW Convertible

Ben Griffin provides a first drive review of the new MINI John Cooper Works Convertible for recombu and writes, in part:
. . . We always come away feeling impressed having driven a Mini, but it is hard to ignore the fact the cheaper versions and their less firm suspension setups play better with UK roads. With the JCW version, you will thank the road gods for bump-free stretches of tarmac, which are few and far between. . . .

". . . Gets Big, Bruh"

Jim Mateja reviews the 2016 MCS Clubman for the Chicago Tribune.

Mateja's criticism:
. . . A couple of gripes with the manual, one being that it would be appreciated if clutch and brake pedals were better aligned with driver feet and legs, and not at a slight angle to the side. If blessed (saddled?) with 3E sneakers, you'll find clutch and brake rather close together. . . .

Harmonious Car Assembly

U.K's Daily Record goes to Plant Oxford and examines how MINI coordinates its manufacturing.

Do You Have A MINI Motoring Journal?

A piece of sweet marketing swag MINI provided owners highlighted on Just A Car Guy's blog.

MCS JCW Manual Review

The Motor Report reviews the 2016 MINI JCW equipped with a manual transmission. It finds:
. . . We were glowing when we rated the MINI JCW automatic back in 2015, but the manual takes the enjoyment factor to new heights.

It’s the gearbox to get if you’re all about the warm-and-fuzzy feelings that you get from driving, as it amplifies all of the other traits that we love about this scrappy lil’ hatch.

If you’re a rational type or a nerd for speed stats, you’ll probably find more appeal in the faster, more frugal six-speed auto.

But there’s really just one choice for those seeking the most fun behind the wheel of a MINI Cooper JCW - and it’s the one with three pedals.

And that's why you'd buy the manual.

MTTS2016 - Day 6 Detroit to St Ignace

Thursday, July 14

DAY 6 - ST. IGNACE, MICHIGAN.



Check your compass. You have reached the northernmost point of MTTS 2016. Today you cross the five-mile long Mackinac suspension bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. Look out your window and see Lake Michigan on your left and Lake Huron on your right! St. Ignace was founded as a mission by the famous French explorer and priest, Jacques Marquette in 1671, who explored nearly the entire length of the Mississippi River. Today, it is popular for its proximity to Mackinac Island and has become a destination for summer tourists and MINI Motorers who try to break world records.
We started the day at M1 Concourse.  Only those who won drawing from Detroit evening event got to do a hot lap around the track.  The rest of us was limited to 20 mph, with a Police escort to I-75 North as we made our way to St. Ignace.

M1 Concourse
164 South Blvd W
Pontiac, MI
7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Complimentary 
 
St. Ignace is a free night for us, so we're all just doing our own thing.   We've travel 1, 383 miles, and have been through the following States:
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • Michigan
.... tomorrow Wisconsin.




 
Here's Larry Anderson & Christine Toibin with “Ryno” Greg Rynearson, one of the owners of Cops & Doughnuts in Clare, MI.  Their story:
 
There is a doughnut shop and bakery in Clare, Michigan that has been in constant operation since 1896. This foundation business was within weeks of closing when the members of the Clare Police Department came to the rescue. All of them. That’s right, all nine members of the local police department banded together to save this historic business.
Dubbed “Cops and Doughnuts,” the business boasts handmade confections of all types. Join us for a warm fresh doughnut and a steaming cup of cops coffee while you enjoy the police decor and friendly, and very safe, atmosphere. Come and see the new store in Clare that everyone is talking about.
 
 

Inside And Out Spy Photos Of 2017 Countryman

indianautosblog.com has them but they show very little.

500 MINIs Pass Through Lisbon, Ohio

wkbn.com reports on the procession through town during MINI Takes The States 2016.

". . . Fun, And Forgivably Flawed"

Uncova gives the MINI Cooper Convertible an "eight" for "Design and a "seven" for "Media & Connectivity." Its "Bottom Line":
The Bottom Line With its unique design and fun handling character, it's easy to forgive some of the 2016 Mini Cooper S Convertible's flaws, but wise buyers should take a close look at the non-sport Mini Cooper Convertible, which will likely offer equal satisfaction.

Silk Way Rally 2016 - Second For MINI ALL4 Racing On Day 3

love:mini reports:
Today’s Leg 3 of the Silk Way Rally signalled the start of demanding long distance cross-country rally driving. After the short but spectacular Special Stage of Leg 1, the five MINI ALL4 Racing crews were keen to show what they and their MINI ALL4 Racing were capable of from the start of Leg 2 (10-07-2016).

Unfortunately, the previous days of rain had caused many of the route tracks to flood. With the threat of yet more violent storms forcing the support helicopters to remain grounded, the Silk Way Rally organising team reluctantly had to cancel Leg 2 and the competitors drove orderly to Ufa for today’s start of Leg 3.

Leg 3 saw some fast driving across mostly gravel tracks and resulted in the MINI ALL4 racing #103 of Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) completing the section in second position. . .

Recognition For Two MINI Female Plant Oxford Engineers

Here is the press release that appeared at MotoringFile:
Two female engineers from MINI Plant Oxford have secured national recognition after they landed a top industry award from leading automotive magazine Autocar.

Philippa Napier and Rachel Neary have been named in the ‘Rising Stars’ category of the ‘Great British Women in the Car Industry’ initiative, which is run by Autocar in partnership with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The awards identify the top 100 British women working in the automotive sector as part of a push to celebrate the role of women in the industry and to address the challenges they face. The ‘Rising Stars’ category recognises a group of 10 young females who are ‘making their mark on the industry and blazing a trail for more to follow.’

Philippa, 22, from Thame in Oxfordshire, is a final-year engineering technician apprentice at MINI Plant Oxford. She has had a passion for cars since a young age and achieved her ambition to enter the automotive profession following a stint of work experience at the plant.

This led on to her winning a place on the company’s apprenticeship scheme, which has included taking a foundation degree in electrical and electronic engineering. Following her graduation Philippa will start her manufacturing career as a quality parts manager, which will see her supporting all quality related functions throughout the product’s lifecycle on the plant.

Philippa said: “It’s really rewarding to be recognised in this way and so I’m delighted to have made the list. Initiatives like this are so important in raising awareness of female achievement in our industry and getting more of us to consider a career in engineering.

“I’ve been a petrol head since a young age and always knew I wanted to work in the automotive industry. Originally I was going to go to university straight after sixth form, but after a successful work experience at MINI I realized that the best route for my career would be to get into the car industry via an apprenticeship. This offered me work experience as well as furthering my education.”

Rachel Neary, 25, from Liverpool, joined the plant as part of the BMW Group’s graduate scheme back in 2013 after securing a first class Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Liverpool.

She has already held roles at the Research and Innovation Centre in Munich and at Werk Leipzig, one of the BMW Group’s most progressive plants and home of electric BMW i car production.

In Oxford, Rachel is now part of MINI’s production steering team, which manages the transformation of sheet metal to painted body.

Rachel said: “I’m really excited and proud to be named in the Autocar Rising Stars list – it is a brilliant motivator to be recognised in such a way at the start of my career. It’s always been my ambition to be involved in the automotive industry and I’ve long been fascinated with cars, how they work and how they’re made.

“Completing my physics degree and a student placement with another major car manufacturer gave me the knowledge and passion to go on and pursue my dream of a career with BMW. My aim for the future is to progress within the industry and to be at the forefront of developing the future of mobility. It’s great to see more women than ever within the automotive industry and to see such achievements celebrated and encouraged.”

Frank Bachmann, MINI Plant Oxford Managing Director, said: “Everyone on the plant is really proud of what Rachel and Philippa have achieved. I believe they both have very bright futures ahead of them and that their stories can play a part in encouraging more young women into automotive manufacturing careers.”

BMW Group UK is passionate about getting more females into the industry. As well as apprenticeship opportunities, each year the company runs a unique scheme for young women to get the chance to follow MINI production from body panels and engine building, to a completed car rolling off the line as part of its ‘Girls Go Technical’ programme.

The programme is an exciting opportunity for young women aged 15-24 to experience the day to day challenges encountered by our engineers and technical apprentices in our state-of-the-art, world class plants in Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall.

Four days are spent at the heart of our manufacturing operations to gain an in-depth awareness of manufacturing and engineering processes, an insight into the range of careers available, including technical roles, as well as the chance to enhance interview and job application skills.

Applications for February 2017 Girls Go Technical placements will open in the Autumn.

Use MINI Videos To Acquaint Yourself With Your MINI

MINIUSA maintains a comprehensive MINI Video site with how to videos for all manner of MINIs and their bits, like this one:

Just Drive There Reviews The 2016 MINI

Just Drive There asks whether the 2016 base MINI can "still blow the doors off" and is non-plussed. It concludes:
. . .Overall the Mini Cooper is a good car. And that’s the problem, it is just average. It should not be average; it is a Mini after all! Where is the legendary chassis, the legendary chuckability and the legendary look? All in all, the car has no character. I guess you could say it has finally been Germanized…. Honestly, if it were not for the neo-retro-ish styling in the interior, from the driver’s seat it felt no more special than a VW Polo or Honda Civic. . . .

MTTS2016 - Day 5: Pittsburgh to Detroit

Wednesday, July 13

DAY 5 - DETROIT, MICHIGAN.



Motor on to “Motor City.” Detroit is a hub of middle-American diversity. Originally founded by French explorers in 1701, Detroit was once compared to Paris because of its scenic parks and beautiful architecture. It served as a key stop for refugee slaves escaping into Canada via the Underground Railroad. It was also a major entry point for Canadian spirits during the prohibition in the 1920s. Whether you dig the Motown groove or revel in the design of the first horseless carriage, you will be intrigued by this city that put the world on wheels.
 
We had a great send-off from Baltimore.  Police escort with a blocked expressway out of the Lot H at Camden Yards.  
 
We met at the bus for our group photo and were videotaped by MINIUSA.  I hope we make the highlight video.
 
 
Tomorrow we're on to Detroit.  

The morning Rise & Shine times have changed to:
7:30 - 9am.

The Meadows
210 Racetrack Rd
Washington, PA
7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Complimentary


MEET @ BUS @ 8AM for NorCal MINIs Photo.

If you follow route, besides Lisbon, you'll be going through Zoar Village, it was founded in 1817 by a group of 200 German Separatists seeking escape from religious persecution in their homeland - cute little place. You should also see a few Amish along HWY 250. Try to pick an Amish Restaurant for lunch if you have time.


EVENING
Eastern Market
2934 Russell Street
Detroit, MI
6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Complimentary onsite parking.
Service animals only.

Brands Hatch Festival To Feature MINI JCW Challenge Edition

kentnews.co.uk highlights the events at the upcoming Brands Hatch Festival:
. . . The on-track show will be headlined by the Mini Challenge, which is now firmly established as one of the nation’s leading one-make saloon car championships, with the grid divided in half to provide some six races across Saturday and Sunday.

The deluxe Mini Challenge programme will include three outings for the JCW F56 class, which is open to solely to the latest racing Mini – the most advanced tin top racer found outside the British Touring Car Championship. . . .

We Now Know Where Warming Is Going

BMWBlog says, according to GT-Spirit, MINI Head Designer Anders Warming is leaving MINI and:
. . . will be heading the design department of Qoros, a joint venture between Chery and Israel Corporation. . . .

Official MINI MTTS 2016 Commencement Press Release

BMW PressClub USA issued this press release:
MINI TAKES THE STATES SHIFTS INTO GEAR AND MOTORS WITH A PURPOSE

11.07.2016 Press Release

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – July 11, 2016- MINI TAKES THE STATES 2016 (MTTS), the eagerly anticipated two-week cross-country rally for MINI owners and enthusiasts, kicked off this weekend in Atlanta, GA. The bi-annual trek will travel track-to-track through America’s open roads, stopping in 14 cities over 15 days with thousands of MINIs. Along the way, the group will rally to #DefyHunger with charity partner Feeding America.

“Big things happen when the MINI community comes together, and this year is no different,” said Tom Noble, Department Head, MINI Brand Communications. “MINI TAKES THE STATES is the ultimate road trip and we’re as excited for the adventure as we are for our cause. The fight against hunger has many faces, it’s not always a lack of food but rather a lack of the right resources to avoid waste, maximize efficiencies and get the food where it’s needed most. Through our Feeding America partnership, we hope to raise money and awareness as we motor with purpose across America.”

Kicking-off the journey, a team of parachutists dove from planes 3,000 feet in the sky towards a fleet of MINI Convertibles filled with food donations, asking all to “jump in” to help #DefyHunger. From Atlanta, motorers headed north to Charlotte, NC, this weekend kicking off a 15-day adventure that will end in Palm Springs, CA on July 23rd.

With a goal to provide more than 800,000 meals to families in need, drivers, consumers and others can contribute in various ways. A portion of each MTTS participant’s registration fee is donated to Feeding America®, and MINI will collect food donations onsite each morning.

Every motorist can also start an individual or team fundraising page . Once donation pages are set up, participants will automatically qualify for an exclusive badge decal they can proudly display on their MINI. As they continue to reach donation milestones, they’ll collect additional badges.

MINI owners looking to join up with the rally can still register at MINITAKESTHESTATES.com or on-site the day of the event in each city.

Videos and photos from today’s event are available for download on MINIUSANEWS.com. Daily updates from the road are also available on the MTTS 2016 Blog on MINIUSANEWS.com. Media interested in updates on MINI USA can also follow us on Twitter at @MINIUSANEWS.

About MINI in the US

MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 126 MINI passenger car dealers in 39 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of six unique vehicles.

About Feeding America

Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Journalist notes: Media information about MINI and its products is available to journalists on-line at www.miniusanews.com. Follow us on Twitter at @MINIUSANEWS

Consumer information about MINI products is available via the internet at: www.MINIUSA.com.

Design Chief Anders Warming To Leave MINI

That is the teaser published by MotoringFile.

Winning Horsham Festival MINI Roof Design

U.K.'s West Sussex County Times reports that Breanna Dibb-Fuller, age ten, won the Horsham Festival MINI Roof Design Competition in Swan Walk with her butterfly top.

MINI ALL4 Racing Contests Silk Way Rally

MotoringFile posts this official MINI press release:
MINI ALL4 Racing cars are set to compete for the first time at the Silk Way Rally. The Silk Way Rally takes place across some of the most spectacular landscape on the planet as this former trade route winds its way from Russia to China.

The sixth edition of the Silk Way Rally starts with a podium ceremony to be held at Moscow’s Red Square on 8 July. The race officially starts with Leg 1 on 9 July as the competitors head east to Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, and finish (Leg 15) in Beijing, China 24 July.

The route from Russia to China will cover 10,734 km, of which over 4,000 km will be special stages. All manner of terrain will be encountered en route, from soil to gravel, to rocks and dunes. Altitude will also play a part in the race; some sections will take place at 2,500 metres elevation.

MINI has risen to the challenge of the Silk Way Rally with the entry of five MINI ALL4 Racing prepared do battle against extreme arduous conditions and an international line up of competitors.
 
The MINI ALL4 Racing family consists of five pairs of experienced drivers and co-drivers. For X-raid Team, Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-pilot Timo Gottschalk (GER) are looking to capitalise on their recent run of good form. Presently they hold second place in the 2016 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. Joining them on the start line is fellow X-raid Team pairing of Harry Hunt (GB) and Andreas Schulz (GER). Although a relatively new pairing, this crew completed the 2016 Dakar Rally with a well-deserved 10th place.

Three other MINI ALL4 Racing are also set to compete at the Silk Way Rally. Under the banner of Astana Motorsport there are Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) / Anton Nikolaev (RUS) and Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ) / Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS).

Rakhimbayev / Nikolaev also have Dakar experience in a MINI ALL4 racing, when they finished the 2015 edition in ninth. Issabayev and co-driver Demyanenko have no previous race experience at the controls of a MINI ALL4 Racing, but Issabayev’s previous Dakar events will no doubt stand him in good stead over the distance of the Silk Way Rally. Hoping to make use of local knowledge in Russian territory and wins in the FIA World Cup will be the massively Dakar and FIA World Cup experienced duo of Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) driving the fifth MINI ALL4 Racing in the colours of G-Energy Team.

The two week-long Silk Way Rally is without doubt a tough event and almost mirrors the extreme racing conditions to be had at the Dakar Rally. Despite unknown road and weather conditions as the race crosses two continents, the five MINI ALL4 Racing crews are more than ready to take on whatever they come across because of their vast experience.

Of course, it also helps knowing the MINI ALL4 Racing is one of the most durable and reliable long distance rally cars ever to be produced – four consecutive Dakar titles (2012-15) and second in 2016 reinforces this. Add to this four FIA World Cup championship titles and you can understand why the MINI ALL4 Racing is a highly respected competition machine.

Performance and reliability doesn’t come easy, but MINI achieved this very early because of its commitment to ongoing development. Indeed, because of the distance involved and the range of terrain to be encountered, the Silk Way Rally is a perfect testing ground for MINI and the famed MINI ALL4 Racing – especially as the cross-country rally world is already focussed on Dakar Rally 2017.

For further information about the Silk Way Rally 2016, please visit: www.silkwayrally.com
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UPDATE: Saturday, July 9, 2016

BMW PressClub USA issued this press release:
MINI ALL4 Racing family perfectly placed after Silk Way Rally’s spectacular opening Super Special Stage.

Fifteen seconds cover top 12 finishers – four MINI ALL4 Racing inside top eight. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) comfortable in second place

Munich. The sixth edition of the Silk Way rally started in spectacularly style with a timed Super Special Stage (SSS) to determine the next day’s First Leg starting order. The spectators at Kazan, location for SSS, were treated to high speed action as each competitor strived to beat the clock.

The MINI ALL4 Racing duo of Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS) and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) were the first of the MINI ALL4 Racing family to roll up to the start line. They finished the early evening race in second position, just four seconds off from taking the number one slot.

MINI ALL4 Racing #103 of Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) and co-pilot Timo Gottschalk (GER) were fourth from the start line and retained this position at the end. Needless to say Al Rajhi was in good spirits after the prologue.

Al Rajhi: “The ground was very soft. I think everyone was surprised at how soft it was. We tried to stay in top five for the start tomorrow and succeeded. My plan is to push for tomorrow and learn at the same time. This is the first time for me in this race but I know we have a very good car in the MINI ALL4 Racing and a very good team and we can fight hard to win this race.

Harry Hunt (GB) and Andreas Schulz (GER) also put in a determined effort and were rewarded with seventh place and just eight seconds of the lead car. “It was good,” said Hunt, before smiling and adding:“ Short and sweet...

“It was a small amount of driving compared to what we have in store for the next two weeks. There were plenty of jumps for the spectators and they seemed to like it. This is only the start and it is such a long rally. To finish would be a result but obviously we are looking to do well... top ten, hopefully more. We’ll see.

The fourth of the MINI ALL4 Racing family to cross the finish line was that of Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ) / Anton Nikolaev (RUS) in eighth. Fellow Astana Motorsport crew Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ) / Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS) in MINI ALL4 Racing #109 was the last of the family to place and did so in 12th.

With the five MINI ALL4 Racing all completing Leg 1 (SSS) within the top 12 positions, the scene for the first major rally section (Leg 2) Kazan-to-Ufa is set to be an exciting one.

For further information about the Silk Way Rally 2016, please visit: www.silkwayrally.com

Silk Way Rally 2016: MINI ALL4 Racing

PositionDriverCo-driver#TeamTime
2ndVladimir Vasilyev (RUS)Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS)101G-Energy Team+00:00:04
4thYazeed Al Rajhi
(KSA)
Timo Gottschalk (GER)103X-raid Team00:00:05
7thHarry Hunt (GB)Andreas Schulz (GER)105X-raid Team00:00:08
8thAidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ)Anton Nikolaev (RUS)106Astana Motorsport00:00:10
12thBauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ)Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS)109Astana Motorsport00:00:15

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
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

Find reports, photos and videos in high resolution of previous MINI ALL4 Racing activity on the BMW Media Website by clicking here.

UPDATE: Sunday, July 10, 2016

Motorsports.com reports inclement weather over the past few days and a pessimistic forecast forced the cancellation of Stage 2 of the Silk Way Rally.

Rain Doesn't Dampen New MINI Convertible Enjoyment

The Mirror tested the MINI JCW Convertible in the U.K. rain:
. . . Roof up, the car feels quiet. The quality is good, apart from a few bits of hard plastic in places. It’s hardly surprising that the Mini soft top has been such a big seller. . . .

MTTS2016 - Day 3: Richmond to Baltimore

Monday, July 11

DAY 3 - BALTIMORE, MARYLAND.



The variety of MINI vehicles on the rally is comparable to the cultural diversity found in Baltimore, as nearly one-third of its properties are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. To escape the British in 1776, Congress hastily moved into a Baltimore tavern for two months, thus making Baltimore effectively the second capital of the United States. Home of Fort McHenry and the birthplace of "The Star Spangled Banner," Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglas and independent filmmaker John Waters have all called this city home. The legendary “Bambino,” Babe Ruth got his start here as an OriolesTM minor-league pitcher in 1914.

MORNING
Richmond International Raceway
600 E Laburnum Avenue
Richmond, VA
7:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Let's just meet at the bus @8:00.  We'll have a drawing and then get our picture for the day.



B&O Railroad Museum
901 West Pratt St
Baltimore, MD
6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

NORCAL MINIS CALENDAR & OTHER EVENTS