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.

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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