Mini Challenge For 2008
26th June, 2007
Mini is seeking an opportunity to race the small British made cars in Australia next year, in a one make event known as the Mini Challenge Series.
It is envisaged that the Mini Challenge would visit eight tracks across Australia.
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport has given the go-ahead for the Mini Challenge one make series to kick off in Australia in 2008, when the brand new R56 generation Mini Challenge race cars will have their international motor sport debut.
Australia’s Mini Challenge cars will be built to a global racing specification in Germany in late 2007 and will feature a fully integrated roll-cage, race seat and FIA-spec safety equipment.
Powering each Mini Challenge racer is an identical turbocharged 1.6-litre Mini engine, with the latest John Cooper Works magic.
Stopping a Mini Challenge car will be the task of the race-proven, drilled and ventilated John Cooper Works brakes.
Drivers will be drawn from the ranks of go-kart and open wheel formula series; youngsters who want their first taste of 'real' car racing. Also, experienced competitors will join with Mini enthusiasts who have waited impatiently for several years for Mini Challenge to arrive in Australia.
Mini Challenge turns each event into a weekend of Mini fun, with unconventional off-track festivities matched to unique Mini paddock club hospitality that pitches Mini enthusiasts into the heart of the action.
Mini Challenge has a red-hot heritage in Europe, with Germans and Brits blasting around race tracks in pursuit of podiums and prizes.
In Germany, Mini Challenge is the most popular one make series.
Recently, even the Belgians, Swiss and Kiwis have donned fireproof suits for serious side-by-side action.
Mini Challenge is an affordable entry point to a supported circuit racing programme. Strictly controlled sporting regulations mean all cars are mechanically identical and matched to a control car, so driving skills, tactics and true grit are the keys to success, with entertaining racing as the result for spectators.
Recently, Australian Mini Motorsport activities have focussed on tarmac rallying, with a three-car team of Chill Red Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works engine kit cars campaigned in 2006 and 2007.
Racing Minis kicked off the brand’s Australian revival in 2002 with the international race track debut of the R50 Mini Cooper at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix Challenge race. Such was the success and popularity of the cars, they rushed back the following year.
Mini has a vast motor racing heritage in Australia, stretching back more than 40 years, with the most notable result being the 1966 Bathurst 500 whitewash at the Mount Panorama circuit, where Morris Mini Cooper S cars filled the top nine places. It’s a feat still unmatched today.
“Mini Challenge is the most exciting new international series to reach Australian Motorsport for several years,” said Justin Hocevar, National Manager Mini.
“We have very solid competition credentials both overseas and here in Australia thanks to Team Mini".
“Thanks to the gripping on-track action, Mini Challenge is sure to find a strong and loyal following among race watchers both trackside and on TV."
“The series is the ideal entry point to car racing for suitably successful go-karters keen to advance their careers."
“Our experience with Team Mini in Targa Tasmania shows us that no matter what their age, race fans love Minis and love to see them compete."
“With Mini Challenge we will be bringing an affordable, competitive and very exciting series to Australia. It will be good for racers, spectators, sponsors and for motorsport in general,” Justin said.
“The countdown has begun.”
As at May 2007, Mini sales are down on a year to date basis in Australia. Although the new vehicle market is up by some 8.4%, Mini sales are down by as much as 7.8%. Mini is amongst only a handful of brands who have falling sales. Some of the others with falling sales include Chrysler, Hyundai and Jaguar. Mini executives will have their fingers crossed, no doubt, hopeful that some extra exposure may find some new buyers for the brand.
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