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Mini United at Silverstone

Stephen Dobie
22 May 2009

The Mini's 50th birthday - gallery and run-down of events at Silverstone


The Mini celebrates its 50th birthday at Silverstone this weekend, with a three-day festival featuring Minis and their owners from all corners of the world. Evo is there, and Staff Writer Stephen Dobie will be blogging live as events unfold. Start from the bottom, with newest updates at the top. There’s also a gallery of pictures to flick through on the right.

Saturday May 23


Have just come out of the press conference unveiling three special editions. There’s the Camden and Mayfair, which are unique colour/interior combinations for the Cooper/Cooper D/Cooper S, but the big news is the Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50 (and breathe…). It’s the same car we spotted yesterday idly sitting on another stand. Read about the new cars here. There was also word of Mini's electric plans; mainstream alternative fuel stuff within ten years.

Stopped over in Mini’s teepees, with new cars officially unveiled today. Last night Calvin Harris and a bunch of other DJs performed, while there was also a Mini fashion show (with Replay supplying all of the Mini team with jeans) and a procession of all of the Mini Challenge drivers who are racing this weekend. Owen Mildenhall from our sister mag Auto Express is one of just two guest drivers, and did well in practice yesterday. Support him if you come along.

Friday May 22

Driver training! Another activity here is advanced driving techniques, and for £35 a pop you can practice emergency lane changing, or braking techniques and – brilliantly – J-turns. We opt for the latter. It’s brilliant fun; me and Paul shared a car and simply received our commands over a radio from the instructor. Learning to J-turn is a real highlight. We each get five goes – my first four are fairly rubbish, while (possibly by fluke) I seem to nail it on the fifth and final go. A total laugh throughout, though.

Have just managed one lap of Silverstone, although in procession behind a pace car. Me with roof down, obviously. It’s a great experience and if you’re coming to Mini United, it’s free to take your own car on track (so long as it’s a Mini, of course).

Track time in our Minis. Me and Paul line-up but there’s been a delay. An accident from the Mini Challenge racing cars, we think.

Internet coverage here is patchy – will update as much as possible. Just about to head and pick up our cars from the campsite to hit the track.

Have we just stumbled across the John Cooper Works F1? It’s the rumoured special edition hot hatch due for a reveal here, although that wasn’t due ‘til tomorrow. This fits the bill – 208bhp JCW engine, non-metallic British Racing Green paint, white roof, gloss black alloys. Lots of John Cooper signatures and it’s posing beside Steve McQueen’s old Cooper racing car.

Me and Paul have booked ourselves track time in our cars. Will be on the Silverstone circuit later on this afternoon. Also doing an hour on a skid pan too, although not in the cars we’ve brought. Should be fun!

Walking around, sniffing out what’s here. People from all over the world – the Mini has such a cult following. Tons of Italians; you’d think if they loved their cars, they’d be loyal to Fiats and Ferraris. Some unusual stuff too – check out the Mini and trailer set. Cool Gulf-coloured Cooper, too.

I’m here with evo Art Director Paul Lang; me in a JCW Convertible (which Mini’s kindly stickered my name on – thanks) and him in his long-termer JCW hatch. There’s bacon butties and a teepee each for us to stay in. Excellent!

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