MAX FUN IN HOT MINIS
Four MINI John Cooper Works pocket rockets made light work of a 400km drive in Khao Yai, which included laps around a tight and twisty track.
THE booklet given to me at the start of this event was titled “MINI John Cooper Works Road Trip In Thailand”. Usually, road trips in the Asia region are fairly dour affairs where driving is concerned, unless you enjoy cruising leisurely along highways and country roads, interspersed with stops for coffee/tea, snacks and the all-important toilet break. However, on one of the pages inside the booklet, a line caught my attention – 8 Speed Motor Track. Yes, this road trip involved spending quality time and burning rubber/petrol at a private racing circuit. The four cars which I would be driving/co-driving were all MINI John Cooper Works (JCW) models. JCW is to MINI what AMG is to MercedesBenz and BMW M is to BMW, albeit on a smaller physical scale. Still, the cars churned out by MINI JCW are serious driving machines for the driver who is equally serious about performance and handling. The MINI-modding expertise of “John Cooper” and company covers not only suspension, aerodynamics, brakes and engine-tuning, but also wheels and aesthetics. Every MINI John Cooper Works car is not merely a standard runabout which has had a couple of runfaster parts bolted on. It is a bona fide performance vehicle, capable of putting a smile on the face of selfprofessed boyracers and professional race drivers alike. For the three-day, twonight road trip (which involved five other motoring journos from Singapore), I could swop among the driver’s seats of the four pocket rockets in the convoy – 3-Door, Convertible, Clubman and, the largest of the lot, Countryman.
In total, these mighty MINIs packed over 900hp and 1300Nm, to be delightfully deployed over a driving distance of around 400 kilometres. I would get to know them pretty intimately.
The first part of the
The trip’s JCW foursome of (left to right) Convertible, Countryman, Clubman and 3-Door.