MINI PH holds 2018 Driving Experience at Clark to show off its lineup’s track-oriented DNA

November 14, 2018

Last November 11, 2018, Autohub Group, which is the official distributor of MINI in the Philippines, invited a handful of customers and media practitioners on a day’s worth of fun and excitement at the 4.2 km-long Clark International Speedway in Pampanga. The agenda was to let everyone experience what it’s like to take the latest MINI models for a spin while learning a thing or two about proper driving techniques on the track.

Under the tutelage of Malaysian driving instructor Kah Keen Wong, the guests were treated to a few minutes of lecturing which focused on the best ways to tackle the track, attack its 21 corners in style, and be as safe and cool-looking as possible.

As per the lecture, one of the most fundamental things to learn before anything else is to know the best driving position. In a nutshell, Wong stated that one should adjust first the seat height, then the seat cushion, and finally the backrest. These are so the driver can see the road ahead more effectively, and can step on the pedals with enough force without fully extending the legs.

Wong added that after getting into the proper driving position, one should also make sure to adjust the steering wheel, its height and its proximity to the driver. The idea is to easily turn the steering wheel without having to fully extend the arms. The arms should still have enough room to bend so the driver can steer more comfortably and responsively.

Finally, Wong touched on the topic about improving the driver’s reaction on track. The key is to look ahead in anticipation for the next corner. As regard, it’s vital to practice aiming for the optimum braking, turning, and acceleration points coming in and out of a corner.

After the lecture, the participants were ushered in track and were greeted by about a dozen MINIs ranging from the MINI One, 3-Door, 5-Door, Countryman, Paceman, and some John Cooper Works units. The day’s activities were divided into 3 parts; Acceleration and Braking, Guided Laps, and Catch-up. Among the participants was’s Sales and Marketing Director Erica De Zuzuarregui who was assigned to drive one of the MINI 5-Doors.

The first activity allowed participants to put into practice the lecture regarding proper braking and acceleration. One tip Wong shared was to step on the brakes forcibly each time, especially upon cornering. Because of the onboard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) of the MINI, Erica was able to follow exactly what Wong said. Erica shared that she likes the responsiveness of the MINI 5-Door’s braking system.

The next activity had the guests driving their MINIs a number of laps under the guidance of Wong onboard a MINI One. This author was fortunate enough to ride along with Erica as she put the 5-Door through its paces around the track a number of times. We were able to experience the famed “go-kart” handling of the MINI, especially around the “corkscrew,” a series of elevated corners after turn 1 that was inspired by the section of the same moniker at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California, USA.

With instructions from Wong via radio, Erica was able to complete more than 5 laps. The experience left her impressed at the way the MINI behaved around corners and on the straight. With a suspension designed to emphasize handling, I too, felt the finesse of the car as it handled G-forces very well. On the straight, we felt the MINI’s raw performance courtesy of its 2.0L inline 4-cylinder motor that delivers 192 hp and 280 Nm of torque, tamed by a 6-speed robotized gearbox that drives the front wheels.

Here’s a quick onboard video I took during the Guided Laps activity. Apologies for the rather jerky footage as I was filming this on the fly with my phone without stability support of a gimbal.

The day’s activity was capped off by the Catch-Up laps wherein the guests would drive around the East section of the track while being chased by Wong. The premise was for Wong to test how much everyone has learned. At the end of the day, Erica noted that she liked the MINI as a whole; from its exterior design to its interior goodies (with extra points for the infotainment system’s Bluetooth connectivity).

All the activities aside, the MINI Driving Experience was also the venue for MINI Philippines to show off its latest model called the MINI Monte Carlo Edition. As the sole distributor of the said model in the world, MINI Philippines has just 20 examples of the Monte Carlo which can only be ordered online via Lazada Philippines. At the time, MINI Philippines confirmed that 2 of the 20 Monte Carlos have been successfully reserved. MINI Philippines has yet to announce the total number of Monte Carlos sold on the day itself and whether it would exte3nd the online promo. Here are more details of the MINI Monte Carlo.

Photos and video by Randolph de Leon

About the Author

Randolph de Leon
Randy is a person with disability (PWD), a partially-blinded person with only his left eye functioning. Since childhood, the automobile has always been his passion, and is able to express it through photography and most recently, through writing as well. Outside the motoring beat, Randy spends time manning the media aspect of his business which he co-founded with his sister/college classmate. It's called Dragonlight Wellness and Solutions, a multi-business venture centering on improving peoples' lives through earning.