MINI named it "The 2006 MINI TransAmerican Motortastic Road Trip To End All Road Trips Rally." That's quite a mouthful, so we'll stick with the easier-to-remember "MINI Takes The States." The two-week celebration of all things MINI begins and ends with the delivery of the first American-market MINI GPs. Between those deliveries, however, a lot of stuff will be going on.
The rally kicks off after this weekend's Monterey Historics, where Cooper is the featured marque. Before departure, 32 of the first 41 early-delivery MINI GPs will be handed over to their new owners. Some of them, presumably, will be part of the 700-plus car caravan headed on a cross-country odyssey that ends 14 days later at the Rolex Vintage Festival at Lime Rock.
Registered MINI owners will be joining and leaving the pack throughout the trip, though 175 cars are signed up to make the full coast-to-coast run. Between Monterey and Lime Rock, MINI has events scheduled for the rally participants at every stop, ranging from a John Hiatt concert in Nashville, tailgating at Busch Stadium, a photo-op under the ST. Louis arch, an all-MINI drive-in movie, track tour and parade laps at Indy, and much more.
The tour's "wrap party" will take place in New Jersey, where 9 more MINI GPs will be delivered and everyone will get treated to an Everclear concert set against the NYC skyline. Almost 1000 MINIs will drive the final leg from Jersey to Lime Rock Park in CT, where MINI will have a hospitality tent set up and offer a chance to drive in a parade lap around the circuit. Full info including the trip route, detailed event schedule, and entrant list is available at www.minitakesthestates.com.
(Press release after the jump)
OVER 3,300 MINI OWNERS NATIONWIDE GEAR UP TO DRIVE CROSS COUNTRY IN THEIR MINIS FOR 'MINI TAKES THE STATES'
The 2006 MINI TransAmerican Motortastic Road Trip To End All Road Trips Rally
The MINI Takes the States rally kicks off in California following the 33rd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races and ends 3,123 miles across the country at the Lime Rock Vintage Festival in Connecticut
Monterey, CA, - August 16, 2006... More than 3,300 enthusiastic MINI owners nationwide will get behind the wheel for MINI Takes the States, a two-week cross country road trip open for MINI owners and enthusiasts. The road trip kicks off on August 21 at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in Monterey, California and concludes on September 4 at the Lime Rock Vintage Festival in Lakeville, Connecticut.
When online registration closed, a total of 3,347 MINIs were registered for the drive, 175 of which signed up to travel the full length of the trip - from Monterey to Lime Rock. For the first leg from Monterey to Santa Barbara, CA, 754 have registered to participate. The most popular leg of the journey proved to be Jersey City, New Jersey to Lakeville, Connecticut, where nearly one thousand MINIs are expected to join the rally.
MINI Takes the States is being held to celebrate MINI's vibrant owner community, the launch of the MINI Cooper S with the John Cooper Works Kit ("MINI GP") and the fact that The Cooper Car Company is the featured marque at the Monterey weekend. In contrast to MINI's size, the event has the rather large secondary tag line of "The 2006 MINI TransAmerican Motortastic Road Trip To End All Road Trips Rally".
The start of the MINI Takes the States rally will follow on from a special customer delivery event for the first "MINI GPs" to arrive in the country. The "MINI GP" is a limited edition high performance MINI Cooper S that made its North American Debut at the New York International Auto Show this past April. A total of 415 "MINI GPs" will come to United States with the first 41 of these cars to be scheduled for a special early delivery in conjunction with the program - The first 32 cars will be delivered in Monterey with the remaining 9 to be delivered when the event arrives into New Jersey.
"MINI owners always bring an unparalleled level of enthusiasm and energy to whatever they do, and I am excited to spend two weeks on the road with them," said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA. "We are currently planning a number of surprises and activities for participants along the route, and I encourage everyone - MINI owner or not - to keep an eye out for us in August and join in the fun for a day, a week, or even the full trip."
Let's Get Up and Go
MINI Takes the States will launch on Monday, August 21, 2006 at Pirate's Cove Beach & Pier in Monterey, CA after the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. A kick-off celebration will be held on the beach, complete with live entertainment from 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Over 750 MINIs will depart on the first leg of the 15-day, 3,123-mile trip as early as 9:30 a.m.
Participants were encouraged to register online at www.minitakesthestates.com where they were able to select any or all sections of the cross-country drive in which they plan to participate. Registrants were provided a registration kit complete with a special wristband - one for themselves and one for their co-pilot - that entitles them to special MINI surprises and VIP access to special events along the way.
The route involves an estimated 5-6 hours of driving each day with scheduled MINI-branded stops along the way geared towards the interests of MINI owners and enthusiasts. Anyone interested in the event should check the event website on a regular basis as new information will be updated daily.
Let's Party Along the Way
MINI USA will be hosting along with its dealers and advertising partners, multiple MINI-branded attractions and events along the route. In addition, larger regional events will be offered in key cities to participants of MINI Takes the States. A full listing of the cities and events along the way can be found at www.minitakesthestates.com .
On Day 8 of the journey, MINI will bring together a group of live entertainers for a MINI Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee with John Hiatt as the headlining act. This free open-air music festival in Nashville's Centennial Park will celebrate local music styles (including jazz, country, blues, and rock & roll). Other local bands and food vendors will also be participating in the event, which is expected to draw over 1,000 MINI enthusiasts.
The following day, MINI will host a tailgate party outside of the Busch Stadium for the St Louis Cardinals vs Florida Marlins Baseball game. An estimated 500 MINI owners will enjoy authentic tailgate concessions prior to the game and will have the opportunity to watch the game on giant screens. Many lucky participants will be randomly chosen to receive skybox tickets for the game.
When the MINI caravan reaches Indianapolis, IN, more than 250 MINI owners and enthusiasts will be given access to Indianapolis Motor Speedway & Hall of Fame Museum. MINI Takes the States participants will be invited to a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the track, full access to the museum and a private reception. The event will conclude with a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for participants to take parade laps around the speedway.
Let's Wrap It Up
On Day 14, before driving up to Connecticut for the Lime Rock Vintage Festival in Lakeville, CT, MINI Takes the States participants are invited to the official Wrap Party in Jersey City, New Jersey. The location at Exchange Place Plaza, which offers spectacular views of the Manhattan Skyline, will be the site of an open-air music and art festival along the Hudson River with the band Everclear as the headlining act.
New Jersey will also be the site where MINI USA will specially deliver the remaining 10 MINI GPs to their lucky owners. The next day, the rally will end in Lakeville, Connecticut at the Lime Rock Vintage Festival where MINI USA will have a large hospitality tent with displays and concessions. MINI owners will also be given the opportunity to participate in a special parade lap around the Lime Rock circuit.