Good talker’s roundabout route to top
MINI Australia boss David Woollcott was born in Brixworth, Northampton, 100km north of London and 40 minutes from the Oxford factory where Minis are made.
‘‘While the first car I had was a Toyota LandCruiser my dad bought me because it was bomb-proof, the first car I bought was a Mini Cooper S,’’ he says.
‘‘I’ve always had an enthusiasm for BMW cars since I was nine when a friend of my dad had an E30 M3.’’
Woollcott studied engineering at the University of Bath for five years before moving to Munich to work on BMW fibre optics for vehicle data transmission.
However, he was asked to move to sales and marketing because ‘‘I like to talk’’.
‘‘I was a bit offended by the German engineers who didn’t think I was good enough to be an engineer,’’ he says.
BMW put him through a graduate program in Britain for two years, then Woollcott contacted a BMW dealer in Melbourne and came out here for 18 months to sell cars.
BMW then put him through a product training manager course for 2½ years.
He worked in the BMW marketing department and became Mini boss in July.
‘‘It feels quite daunting,’’ he says.
THE final Mini Challenge race for 2010 in Sydney this weekend could be the final for the series.
Woollcott says they are considering terminating their five-year contract with Tolman Motorsports after three years. He cites the fact that the series has been dropped from Seven’s main V8 Supercars telecast as one of the reasons for the possible termination.
‘‘I don’t know yet, but a decision will be made soon,’’ he says.
‘‘Many of the competitors didn’t take five-year contracts; they just took yearby-year contracts. The series started just before the GFC struck and then the first operator went broke, so it’s struggled. However, if we do end the series, it may come back in a few years.’’
The series has attracted a strong field of competitors including Paul Stokell and Jason Bargwanna, plus celebrity drivers at some events.
Woollcott says Mini will remain committed to motorsport.
‘‘What we’ve learned from this (series) is that our customers are totally in love with motorsport,’’ he says.
However, he points out that Mini will enter its new Countryman AWD car in several World Rally Championship events next year, following up with a full season in 2012.
Woollcott is unsure what will happen to the 30 Mini Challenge cars owned by Mini and Tolman Motorsports.
Under a cloud: the Mini Challenge.