Video: Mini USA boss challenges Porsche to a race
The car industry is no stranger to bold marketing strategies, but Mini USA is playing it about as fast and loose as possible without risking the brand's integrity.
Jim McDowell, the boss of Mini North America and a former Porsche employee, has publically challenged his opposite number at Porsche to a race around the Road Atlanta circuit in Georgia, suggesting the Mini Cooper S can beat the 911 Carrera S.
Brave? Foolhardy? Crazy? Maybe, maybe not. McDowell has certainly pinned Porsche into a corner by naming a place and a date. The legendary sports car maker is going to look bad if it doesn't flick the flea off its shoulder, but it has the most to lose round Road Atlanta's track.
No one seriously expects the Mini to win so even mounting a serious challenge would be a black eye for Porsche and a fantastic boost for BMW's sales strategy. Of course if the Mini loses heavily McDowell can just play it tongue in cheek (his challenge had already been carefully staged to set up that possibility) and chalk it up to the old adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity.
Recently Porsche faced a challenge from Nissan about the comparative pace of the GTR and the 911 Turbo around the Nurburgring. The German manufacturer rather unfairly acquired its own GTR and set its own (slower) time around the Nordschleife as proof of its apparent superiority. Nissan's global head of PR told Autoblog UK he'd practically thrown down the gauntlet to Porsche at the time, but was rebuffed.
Only time will tell if Porsche rise to the occasion this time round. Without specifying the exact nature of the challenge (race, hot lap etc) McDowell has set the date for June 21.
To see the public challenge filmed for the Facebook page, click below.