Kristin McMahon

MINI goes big at 2010 Paris Motor Show

by on October 7th, 2010 at 12:59pm in News

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Everyone knew what lurked underneath. Secrets do not last long during the Paris  Motor Show press previews. Still, when the flag was pulled back to reveal the MINI WRC, the assembled journalists and product reps who had power-walked from the farthest reaches of the convention center paused for a beat, their synapses taking time to register the fender flares, beefy side skirts and hood-mounted rally lights suddenly before them. Here, shod in white ATS wheels and Michelin tires, stood a promise fulfilled, the heir to a destiny forged nearly 50 years ago on the precipices above Monte Carlo, site of MINI’s most sublime rally glories. 1 The WRC’s engine started. A mechanical thrum careened off the walls, then settled into an anxious, agitated churn before the Di-turbocharged, 1.6-liter 4 cylinder was ceremoniously switched off. But the sensory overload was far from over.Rauno Aaltonen, the Finn who piloted a classic Mini to 1967 Monte Carlo victory, stepped in front of the car to discuss the finer points of demolishing a field of V-8s. Also in the house was Paddy Hopkirk, the pilot who – racing a classic Mini tuned by none other than John Cooper – smote every competitor at the 1964 Monte Carlo rally, thereby revolutionizing the sport. Brand heritage is a MINI hallmark, but this was history on an unprecedented scale. Jean Todt, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile president, applied the event’s exclamation point, taking the microphone to welcome MINI to a new century of rally competition.

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