MINI isn’t new to motorsports. In fact, MINI’s motorsports connection goes back over five decades. From the first spectacular victories at Monte Carlo Rally, to the Dakar Rally and the FIA World Cup, MINI Motorsports Teams have maintained a winning tradition for over 50 years.
It might be hard for some to tell but racing has always been an integral part at MINI and the company has tried hard to maintain this in their DNA as their vehicles have evolved over the years.
We got to try each MINI model at the Yas Circuit at a track day organised by Abu Dhabi Motors, the exclusive importer for BMW, MINI, BMW ALPINA and the sole dealer for Rolls-Royce Motors Cars dealer in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Being one step short of a proper race, this event allowed drivers to experience the whole MINI range on the track. A great initiative by the local dealer for promoting the brand and letting owners, potential customers and the media to get familiar with the brand and it’s products.
I have to admit, not all MINIs are meant for the track but it’s good to push the dynamic limits of each version and this gives you a good idea of what each of the trims are good for. It’s clear that the weapon of choice for a track day will surely be one from the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works range, the Hatchback to be precise. A host of racy styling tweaks and exclusive chassis tuning make the entire Mini Cooper JCW range exciting daily driver cars. They’re also the most powerful of the lot with a 230hp engine and chassis upgrades aimed at spirited driving.
MINIs are like go karts on the road and the track. Their size and dynamism make them predictible and precise on the track and that’s something you’ll enjoy on the road as well. The JCW range has the most athletic handling but also the harshest ride which is a compromise you will have to make if you want good handling.
MINIs are also style icons and it is easy to see why. This encounter with all MINI trims under one roof gave us a clear idea of why MINIs stand out of the crowd. The overall design and the interior are unlike any other car in the segment and they are aimed squarely at a young, style conscious urban dweller. All in all, it’s a great city car with the ability to handle those occasional long drives.