Last we checked, Road Atlanta was a famed professional 2.54-mile racetrack, not an oversized autocross layout on a training skidpad. Somebody may need to remind Mini USA, as the maker of famously small cars has just announced the "track" (their word, not ours) for its overly-publicized "Rumble on the Racetrack" (their title, not ours) challenge pitting the Mini Cooper S against the race-bred Porsche 911 Carrera S.
After Mini's many attempts to coax Porsche into a race, including videos, posting an online petition and even flying a banner plane over the automaker's North American headquarters, the lights have all gone dark in Atlanta, and it looks like Mini is out of luck.
This spring, Mini is adding new low emissions variants to its gas-engined model lineup in Europe, including the Mini One Cabrio and the Minimalism variants of the hardtop. Even the Cooper S is getting updated with more power and lower consumption.
High fuel prices or no, MINI offers a solid entertainment-to-efficiency ratio. The neo-teeny MINI is fun to fling around, and if you can keep your boot out of the turbocharged engine in the Cooper S, you can have your fuel economy and eat it, too. To emphasize this point, MINI is launching a new campaign focused around what it calls the Carfun Footprint, and the new ad push includes its own website and new print ads and billboards with typically clever MINI taglines. If you're curious to see how
The MINI franchise is finally facing some stiff competition in the compact performance segment, particularly abroad where buyers can now get their retrotastic kicks in the 180-hp Fiat Punto Abarth SS or the Clio Renaultsport 197. It's been simply a matter of time before MINI let loose the John Cooper Works team again on the new R56 Cooper S, and the fruits of their underground labors have been caught on the Nurburgring in the form of a Stage II version of the R56 Cooper S JCW package.