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.