Words and photos by Manny N. de los Reyes
GOODWOOD, UK — Diminutive dimensions aside, MINI made a big splash as the iconic British brand continued its 60th anniversary celebrations at the ever-festive Goodwood Festival of Speed, which ran from Thursday to Sunday the other week.
More than half a century after its improbable win in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, no one was taking the Oxford-based mini-car specialist for granted — especially on a world stage as grand as this annual speed fest. Setting hearts racing on the performance end of the brand’s range, and inspired by the car makers motorsport heritage, the 2020 MINI John Cooper Works GP made its UK debut at the Festival, following its world premiere at the Nürburgring 24-hour race last month. The new model stood proudly in the First Glance Paddock for the full duration of the Festival, and followed up its imposing presence with an electrifying run up Goodwood’s infamous hill climb.
Also making its UK premiere was the new 306-hp MINI John Cooper Works Clubman, which gets a 2.0-liter turbo four (mated to an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters) generating some 300 horses and around 450Nm of torque — way more power than the current JCW Clubman and enough to rocket the eminently practical Clubman to 100 km/h in five seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.
The full model lineup was showcased on the MINI stand, including the MINI 3-Door John Cooper Works and 5-Door Hatch, the MINI Convertible, the MINI Countryman, and the MINI Plug-In Hybrid.
Featuring a distinctive silhouette and those infamous split rear doors, the refreshed MINI Clubman was on display for the first time in the UK. The five individual models sat within their own mood worlds, demonstrating their own personalities and characteristics for visitors to explore.
MINI owners were treated to rest and relaxation in the MINI Owners Lounge with free tea, coffee and water as well as mobile phone charging stations. To gain access, MINI owners simply showed their MINI key fob to gain entry to the top floor of the MINI stand.
The memorable David Bowie Classic Mini was also on display for MINI enthusiasts to enjoy — as was the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally-winning MINI Cooper of rally legend and now-MINI UK Ambassador Paddy Hopkirk, who himself came out to meet the public and sign autographs.
Continuing MINI’s 60th anniversary celebrations, a delightful selection of the brand’s lifestyle collection of various apparel, bags, mugs, and other items were available for purchase on the stand. A UK-exclusive, limited-edition t-shirt was on offer, with only 2,000 pieces available.
The exhibit even had a salon that offered complimentary male grooming services. London-based barbers and expert groomers were on the MINI stand throughout the duration of the festival.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed always brings with it the icons and legends of automobiledom’s sporting world. And standing head and shoulders with these giants is a small car named MINI.