As surprising as it may seem, the MINI brand image is strongly influenced and connected to its rallying history. The original wasn’t just a great, economical car, that helped families in the UK recover after the second World War, it also proved its worth in rallying, winning in Monte Carlo against tough competition. That image of a rally legend couldn’t have been possible without the hard work of John Cooper, the reason why almost all models in MINI’s range today wear his name on the boot.
MINI is trying really hard to keep that image alive today as well. Its biggest cars come with all-wheel drive systems, if you want them to, while the Dakar Rally has a strong contingent of MINI models every year, with notable wins too. But while in the Dakar Rally, the cars basically only wear the MINI badge, everything else being set up to dominate sand dunes, where does that leave us when it comes to regular models?
The guys from the Team O’Neil Rally School have set out to see what normal cars can do in rather extreme conditions. Therefore, they are putting together a series called ‘Will it Rally?’ in which they take normal cars off the street and put them through the school’s proving grounds. This way, they are trying to find out which would be best for a rally. This time, Wyatt Knox, the senior instructor of the school took a MINI Paceman Cooper S ALL4 out for a spin.
The Paceman is no longer in production today but it used to be the ‘Sport Activity Coupe’ model of the MINI range up until not long ago. The Cooper S ALL4 badging means it has all-wheel drive and a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine under the hood making 184 HP. How will this car perform in the skidpad the guys set up? Let’s see.