Mini USA president Jim McDowell threw down a challenge to Porsche to race at Road Atlanta just under two weeks ago. Although Porsche declined, the race — between a Porsche 911 Carrera S and a MINI Cooper S — still happened yesterday. Surprisingly, the Porsche won and beat Mini at its own game. But who was driving the Porsche?
We suspected Mini was up to something when it decided to pit a Cooper S against a much more powerful Porsche 911 Carrera S at Road Atlanta. Once Mini unveiled the track, we were proven correct. The track wasn’t Road Atlanta’s 2.54-mile race circuit, but a tight autocross setup in the infield to neutralize the Porsche’s speed advantage. When Porsche declined, Mini went ahead and supplied its own Carrera, but the handicap still didn’t work. The 911 Carrera S still handily beat the Mini Cooper S by a full two seconds.
We’re now interested to see where this leaves Hyundai’s step up to the challenge. Is Mini willing to play with Hyundai, and is Hyundai still willing to race after seeing the track? The Mini marketing saga may continue until July if a race date is set.
At the end of the day, Mini lost, but good-naturedly congratulated Porsche on its victory — “this time.” Is Mini planning another Porsche challenge? Check out the video of what may turn out to be a series of Mini Challenges on Mini’s Facebook page.