MINI United 2012. A genuinely fan-tastic event. 30,000 enthusiasts answer the call to party at the MINI Community’s biggest catch-up yet in France.
For the worldwide MINI Community there was only one place to be from 11 – 13 May: MINI United 2012 in Le Castellet, France. Last weekend’s event once again pulled in MINI fans from around the world, and the MINI faithful from almost 50 countries were greeted by a unique combination of live music and car-fuelled action at the Circuit Paul Ricard. The erstwhile host of Formula One grands prix proved to be the ideal venue for races in the MINI Trophy and MINI Rushour race series, and the assembled masses were also treated to a high-class line-up of live music acts and an array of fun sporting activities. Indeed, the MINI brand was there to be experienced in all its glory with a programme that also included stunt shows, test drives with the latest MINI models and Track Drives, which allowed MINI drivers to hustle their own cars around the legendary circuit in the tyre tracks of a professional racing driver. A particular highlight of the weekend was an exclusive preview of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP.
Iggy Pop and Gossip rocked the stage.
Motor sport buffs and design aficionados were joined at the largest get-together of the MINI Community by enthusiastic followers of the international music scene. Which was no surprise given that some of the world’s hottest stars were on the bill. On Friday, for example, rock legend Iggy Pop had the stage buzzing to the sounds of his band Iggy and the Stooges, before Paris-based house DJ Martin Solveig whipped the crowd into a dancing throng with his infectious club repertoire. That was followed on Saturday by a line-up including the punchy punk-pop of Grammy award-nominated duo The Ting Tings. And a sensational set from Gossip reminded us why front woman-cum-fashion icon Beth Ditto has been anointed the “Coolest Woman on the Planet”.
Record numbers set up a feast of the spectacular.
Records were being broken as well as played in Le Castellet, as the number of enthusiasts from around the world attending the previous MINI United at Silverstone, Great Britain (25,000) was bettered once again this year. 30,000 fans took over the Circuit Paul Ricard during the three days. The majority did the honourable thing by turning up in their own MINI, some even driving 6,490 km (4,032 miles) from the outer reaches of Russia to France. There, they mingled with fellow MINI devotees from the USA, Japan and Canada, who had also etched the event into their calendars. This unique gathering of MINI models ensured that the MINI Club Area, in which 24 MINI clubs from around the world were represented, the already legendary stage for ultra-spectacularly styled cars a.k.a. Beauty Parking, and a line-up of the full MINI product family were an even greater attraction than ever for the MINI fans.
From the onstage spectacle of Iggy and the Stooges to the thousands of MINI faithful worldwide that came pouring through the festival gates, here's your roundup of the extraordinary opening day of MINI United 2012.