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Mini Clubman with caravan: power camping on the Nordschleife

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Mini clubman with caravan Cowley
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C Owley is scared. Maybe we talked a little too loud last night, maybe the living room window was a little open. In any case, Cowley overheard what was coming in the light of the street lamp in front of the house. At first he was pleased, the 3.47 meter long, single-axis living cocoon in the shape of a teardrop. Because with red paint, black rally stripes and mini emblems, it is visually completely in line with the Mini Clubman Cooper SD.

Cowley thought: How nice, it's a diesel - even with an automatic - and yourself comfortably cuddled in its torsion springs. What was going to happen to him? Maybe a short excursion to the Swabian Alb, to Lake Constance, or at most during the big holidays to the Adriatic. Cozy over the burner, he would like that. But then these scraps of words penetrated his sash window. Trailer challenge, test drive, Nordschleife. His 15-inch models turn to stone, the tiller slaps in fear, the water in his canisters threatens to freeze in shock. Hatzenbach and Wehrseifen, Karussell and Hohe Acht instead of a holiday trip with the happiness of a camper.

Mini-caravan Cowley is not an April Fool's joke

Mini-camper Cowley was wrong. Like many others who thought Mini's caravan outing on April 1st was a joke. Cowley is real. Invented in the USA, assembled in Europe, sold in Germany. Light and compact with a practical plastic cover and a folding kitchen unit in the rear. Cynics scold him dog kennel, lovers whisper a kissing ball. Wood-paneled inside, it works as a rolling log cabin, a cuddly cave measuring 1.90 by 1.50 meters, in the glow of a love moon that flickers from the retractable screen of the DVD player, black silk bed linen changes.

Cowley has speculated Soft music and soft popcorn tart with Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan. But none of that. If at all, the Cowley Cinema shows Italian Job, Bullitt, Le Mans or Drive. Men, sweat, engine oil. Suitable for the Mini Trailer Challenge (MTC), which could inherit the faded Mini Challenge. A future-oriented racing series that would focus on premium and individuality in motorsport over the long term. Economically and ecologically, as MTC engineer Andrea Slampka explains. Therefore diesel in front and trailer in the back. In addition to racing, with slipstream duels, braking maneuvers and high-speed drifts through the trailerSuch a team is inexpensive to drive and become more tangible for the spectator. There are no expensive overnight stays, hospitality and pit rentals, there is also space for sluts if necessary.

Mini-Camper Cowley has everything with it

The Mini-Camper Cowley has everything with it: Fresh- and waste water tank, outdoor shower, cool box, two-burner gas stove, storage compartments. The fun begins on the way there - and continues next to the piste. There the solar system takes care of the independent power supply, which in addition to the indoor and outdoor lighting also operates the air conditioning via a fan.

But Cowley also has real talent on the slopes, as our exclusive Nordschleife ride shows. First of all, before the number could go into racing series. The team would be ready. So Cowley refrains from neurotic lurching and pumping, skilfully tunnels the crosswind with his 1.67 meters height and, thanks to the teardrop shape, slips the wind so talented that the top speed could be well above the permitted 100 km /h on a closed route.

On the way through Hatzenbach and Hocheichen, this obedience creates enough confidence to tackle the following high-speed passage and the jump at the airport with the gas pedal on the floor pan. The two-liter diesel only puffs up briefly, quickly comes to terms with its 440-kilogram guest and, with the help of its 305 Nm, pulls it up even steep inclines without any problems.

No load change thrill, prefer soft, clean lines

When the fast, winding downhill section over Kallenhard towards Wehrseifen and Breidscheid becomes clear, it becomes clear why Mini is for the challenge has reached for the long Clubman: Due to the longer wheelbase, it is more stable than the two-door hatch or even the jittery coupe. With half a ton on the drawbar, even throttles don't long for a load change thrill, prefer to rehearse the soft, clean line. And the team of Cowley and Mini Clubman Cooper SD can do it. Okay, sometimes Cowley hops a little over the bumps, otherwise he sparks even when the cocky pilot pulls him over curbs and ratter stones. At the Wippermann he takes on momentum before the surprised spectators at the Brünnchen blur in the exterior mirror. By now, at the latest, Cowley is relaxed, his tires warm, the Clubman was motivated anyway.

When the two stream up the Döttinger Höhe, which Nürburg casts long shadows in the evening light, Cowley's fear has evaporated - he would be ready for the trailer Challenge. The only problem: Cowley only dreamed it all.

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