MINI's mental challenge to Porsche, pitting a Cooper S against a 911 Carrera S around Road Atlanta, won't be happening. Porsche politely turned down the challenge, and actually put it back on MINI to enter a car at Sebring, Le Mans, Daytona or any other sanctioned race, where there's more on the line than "T-Shirts and valet parking spaces."
The news comes to us straight from Detlev Von Platen, president and CEO of Porsche's North American operations. The missive itself takes a genial tone to the whole affair, even relating Porsche's own history to MINI's current position of calling out giants.
In the note, Von Platen explains why Porsche's not engaging in the duel: "But as you also know, Porsche doesn’t race for fame, stunts or publicity. We race to challenge ourselves; we race to push sports car technology; we race to translate every win on the track to our cars on the road." Von Platen links to the video below to further explain Porsche's reason for racing.
The outcome is as we'd predicted it: Porsche has everything to lose and nothing to gain from racing the MINI--but we salute MINI for having the courage to make the challenge in the first place.
Hit page two to see Von Platen's full response to Jim McDowell's challenge.
Imagine our surprise to discover our former employee, now the head of Mini,
has challenged us to a head-to-head race. As you surely know, Porsche has a
long history of racing success, with more than 28,000 wins over the last 60
years. In our early days, we pitted ourselves against the giants, so we’ve
been in your shoes.
But as you also know, Porsche doesn’t race for fame, stunts or publicity.
We race to challenge ourselves; we race to push sports car technology; we
race to translate every win on the track to our cars on the road. If you
need a reminder of our intent, please take a look at this short video:
While your challenge seems like a fun and lighthearted campaign, we’ll
stick to racing the way we have over the decades. We welcome you at
Sebring, Le Mans, Daytona or any other sanctioned race where there is more
at stake than T-shirts and valet parking spaces. We also invite you to any
of the thousands of tracks around the world where Porsche owners compete
Good luck with your race at Road Atlanta on June 21; we hope you enjoy the
Detlev Von Platen
President and CEO, Porsche Cars North America