The MINI Challenge wraps for another year.

Eight rounds later and the winner of the MINI Challenge has been crowned. After months of exhilarating clashes and glorious displays of dexterity, Ant Whorton-Eales secured the title of series champion.


It’s been one of the most exciting seasons yet, full of close calls and no-holds-barred racing. See you in 2019 for more.

YOUNG

The 2018 rounds, race by race.

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Round 1 - Oulton Park

31 March – 2 April.

Racing in the rain at Oulton Park.

Challenging conditions, costly mistakes and a dramatic late twist – the 2018 MINI Challenge series got off to an exhilarating start at Oulton Park. Newcomer Jordan Collard proved that he’s a real force to be reckoned with impressive qualifying laps, while wet wheels and soggy tarmac saw experienced drivers face a difficult first race of the series. The rain didn’t dampen their spirits though, and the racers pushed each other in a thrilling tussle for the chequered flag. Then, with a sensational final twist, a post-race penalty cost Challenge veteran Nathan Harrison first place on the podium, handing the coveted top spot to Ant Whorton-Eales.
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A new contender.

Despite the wealth of experience on the track, it was a newcomer who stole the show at Oulton Park. Debutant Jordan Collard earned pole position with a stunning performance in qualifying – even after being pushed back for straying too wide on his first lap.
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Battling the elements.

A morning of rain meant drivers were facing slippery conditions when the first race kicked off. An early mistake on wet wheels saw Collard slipping behind, leaving 2016 championship runner-up Nathan Harrison and former British touring car racer Ant Whorton-Eales to battle it out for first place.
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A dramatic late winner.

The scrap for the lead quickly erupted, and after Whorton-Eales locked his wheels at Hislop’s chicane, Harrison grabbed the advantage to take the chequered flag. But the drama didn’t end there – officials handed Harrison a 30-second post-race penalty for a yellow flag infringement, giving the win to Whorton-Eales and promoting Collard to second, with Paul O’Neill on the podium in third.
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Built for all conditions.

While the wet tarmac made racing tricky, the drivers were full of praise for their cars. Collard enthused that his MINI was ‘so well put together that it felt great right from the first lap’, while Harrison noted that ‘these cars are so powerful and great brakes that you really can push them’.

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Round 2 - Rockingham issc

28 & 29 April 2017.

A show of skills leaves Rockingham Rocking.

After an exhilarating first round at Oulton Park, everything was set for round two at Rockingham to be full of action and drama – and it certainly delivered. All of the drivers put in impressive performances, with Luke Reade and MINI Challenge veteran Nathan Harrison both earning places on the podium. But when the chequered flag was waved, the day belonged to Ant Whorton-Eales. He won both of the weekend’s races, making it three for three in the series so far and cementing his place at the top of leaderboard. But with only two out of eight rounds down, it’s still all to play for…
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Starting with a bang.

Hot on the heels of a dramatic last-minute win at Oulton Park, Ant Whorton-Eales got off to a spectacular start at Rockingham. Despite a slippery track, he set a great time in qualifying to secure pole position.
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Hitting the hat-trick.

The second race saw Whorton-Eales take advantage of his rivals’ troubles to secure another win – making it three out of three in the series so far. Jordan Collard finished a strong weekend with second place, while Nathan Harrison battled from a starting position of 28th to place third.
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Man on a mission.

With two rounds complete, Ant Whorton-Eales has already made a serious statement on the tarmac, and he couldn’t be happier. “I’ve always gone well around here”, he beamed after the race. “I couldn’t have imagined a better start to the year”.
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A dominant display.

After a chaotic start to the first race, Whorton-Eales tore away from the pack to earn himself a comfortable win. Luke Reade finished a solid run in second, and after a tense battle with James Gornall, Calum King took his spot on the podium in third.
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Round 3 - Snetterton

26 - 27 May.

The competition heats up at Snetterton.

With the sun blazing over Snetterton as the MINI Challenge entered round three, the stage was set for an exhilarating weekend of scorching lap times, tense battles and scintillating racing action. Nathan Harrison took control of the first race after setbacks for championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales, while a dramatic dash to the finish line saw David Robinson claim his first Challenge victory in race two. With the competition – and the temperature – starting to heat up, it was an incredible racing weekend full of action, emotion and thrilling fights for the chequered flag.
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A blistering start.

Jordan Collard set the track alight in qualifying, securing his second pole position of the season with an incredible final lap – almost two seconds faster than the quickest lap all weekend at the same circuit last season.
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Harrison takes advantage.

The weekend’s first race proved tricky for Collard and championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales, who was forced to retire due to engine troubles. Challenge veteran Nathan Harrison made the most of their misfortunes, storming to the finish line for a comfortable win.
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Contenders rise from the dust.

The second race got off to a dramatic start, with a tangle between front-runners Luke Reade and Rob Smith leaving David Robinson, Jac Maybin and Lewis Brown in a nail-bitingly tense battle for the top spot.
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A fight to the finish.

Robinson and Maybin treated spectators to a thrilling fight in the last lap. With the pair neck-and-neck as they turned into the final straight, it was an adrenaline-pumping charge to the chequered flag that saw Robinson clinch victory by the width of a headlight.
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Round 4 - Silverstone GP

9 - 10 June.

Fierce fights and new records at iconic Silverstone.

The MINI Challenge roared on with the fourth outing of the series at the world-famous Silverstone, and the drivers pulled out all the stops as they fought for victory at the home of British racing. The iconic track played host to thrilling battles, dramatic close calls and sensational new milestones, with Jordan Collard breaking a lap record and securing his first MINI Challenge win – closing the gap on current championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales. As the drivers pass the halfway point, the race is closer than ever. Who has what it takes to push past the pack?
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A record-breaking start.

Having dominated qualifying sessions at Oulton Park and Snetterton, Jordan Collard stormed to pole position again, shattering the lap record in the process. Nathan Harrison followed closely to start second, with Ant Whorton-Eales taking third.
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A fierce battle.

The first race saw Collard, Harrison and Whorton-Eales go bumper-to-bumper in an exhilarating fight for the top spot. After a tight last few laps, Collard squeezed past Whorton-Eales to take first place, with Harrison finishing third after a dramatic late charge.
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A race to remember.

Both Collard and Wharton-Eales loved battling it out in their super-powered MINIs. “In my mind that’s real racing”, Wharton-Eales said after the race. “There’s always a bit of paint exchanged when the fight is that close.”
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A single lap shootout.

Dramatic spins and near misses led to a disrupted second race. A decision to restart with just two minutes left meant the race was decided by a short final sprint, with Rob Smith holding on to his lead to claim first place.
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Round 5 - MINI Festival.

Oulton park island.

21 July.

Close calls at Oulton Park.

It was a weekend of narrow margins and tough fights to the chequered flag as the MINI Challenge headed towards the home stretch with its fifth outing at Oulton Park’s MINI Festival. Local hero Rob Smith delighted the home crowd with a late dash for pole position in qualifying, followed by a fierce battle for top spot in the first race. And in the second race, championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales got back into his stride with a hard-earned win that boosted his place at the top of the table. With three races left, there’s still time for a dramatic late challenge for the throne…
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A late winner to start.

It was a thrilling start as Rob Smith took the top spot in qualifying with just 10 seconds left on the clock. David Robinson was demoted to second after being pipped at the post, and Rory Cuff took third with a career-best qualifying time.
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A Glorious Homecoming.

It was a great day for Oulton Park regulars as Rob Smith continued his winning streak in the first race. Smith showed character to lead the race from early on, narrowly holding off David Robinson and Ant Whorton-Eales, with less than half a second between the top three.

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Chaos out of the grid.

The second race began with a close call after leader Lewis Brown slid out of control, knocking into second-placed Paul O’Neill and just missing the rest of the pack. With Whorton-Eales emerging in front after the reshuffle, an epic battle started to play out.
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Whorton-Eales gets back on top.

The race became a tussle between Whorton-Eales, Robinson and Nathan Harrison, with Whorton-Eales holding out for his first victory since his sensational run at the start of the season. Robinson snuck into second on the final lap, edging past Harrison by just 0.057 seconds!
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Round 6 - Brands hatch GP.

11 - 12 August.

A sprint for glory at brands hatch.

The battle at Brands Hatch saw dramatic spills, incredible displays of skill and fierce fights to the flag, as the drivers took to the iconic venue’s Grand Prix circuit for the sixth round of the MINI Challenge. Ant Whorton-Eales bounced back from initial car troubles to widen his championship lead with a dominant double victory, while Nathan Harrison and championship newcomer Alex Morgan impressed with strong performances. With just two racing weekends left, Whorton-Eales is the man to beat – will any of the contenders be able to power past him on the home straight?
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A strong start.

David Robinson came out flying in qualifying with a string of times that placed him comfortably in pole position. Ant Whorton-Eales set the second-fastest time before a tyre failure sent him spinning – thankfully without damage.
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The grip tightens.

Whorton-Eales overcame a rocky start to the weekend to take the chequered flag in the first race and extend his lead at the top of the championship table. In a tightly fought race, Whorton-Eales soaked up pressure from Nathan Harrison to win by just 0.4 seconds, with Robinson taking third.
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A dominant double.

Whorton-Eales showed his skill with two impressive braking moves to take a second win of the weekend in race two. The experienced driver came from behind to narrowly dive past newcomer Alex Morgan in the final few minutes and edge closer to championship glory.
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A firm favourite.

With just two racing events left, Ant Whorton-Eales has cemented his position as favourite to take the championship crown. There’s still time for a dramatic late winner though, and the title is his to lose – will he be able to hold his nerve?
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Round 7 - Brands hatch indy MINI Festival

25 - 26 August.

A Riot in the Rain at the Brands Hatch MINI Festival.

It was a weekend of near misses, dramatic late decisions and tough, messy fights to the flag as the drivers battled the wet weather to treat fans to an unforgettable MINI Festival at Brands Hatch. With just a few wins needed to seal the deal, Ant Whorton-Eales started the weekend in the perfect position to bring the championship title home. However, despite showing his grit with three impressive wins, the trophy remains just out of reach, with the battle going down to the last racing weekend of the year at Donington Park. Will it be a lap of glory for Whorton-Eales, or will there be a surprise challenge?
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Close calls in qualifying.

The weekend’s racing action got off to a competitive start with just a single second separating the top 20 drivers in qualifying. Jordan Collard eventually emerged to take pole position, beating Ant Whorton-Eales by exactly 0.1 seconds.
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A dramatic late twist.

Collard stormed out of the grid and fought hard to lead the pack from start to finish in a thrilling first race. However his glory was short lived – he was hit with a post-race time penalty for overshooting his mark, handing Whorton-Eales first place.
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Within touching distance.

A second victory of the weekend put Whorton-Eales within arm’s reach of championship glory as his rivals imploded in a messy race. Collard, Henry Neal, Rob Smith and Nathan Harrison all got caught up, allowing Whorton-Eales to comfortably take the flag.
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Glory must wait.

Whorton-Eales completed a Brands Hatch hat trick, but couldn’t take the title as torrential rain brought the festivities to an early end. The championship leader is the overwhelming favourite, but the race for the trophy will go down to the final event of the year at Donington.
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Round 8 - Donington Park GP

22 - 23 September.

A New Champion is Crowned.

The 2018 MINI Challenge has been one of the best yet, with sensational displays of skill and exhilarating clashes that showcased MINI’s racing calibre. With the winner yet to be announced as the drivers went into the final weekend, the stage was set for an unforgettable finale at Donington. Despite early warnings of bad weather, the racers put in thunderous performances on the final stretch, putting it all on the line in a bid for championship glory. In the end though, there could only be one winner – Ant Whorton-Eales, continued a dominant run to become this year’s MINI Challenge champion.
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Contenders rise from the dust.

The second race got off to a dramatic start, with a tangle between front-runners Luke Reade and Rob Smith leaving David Robinson, Jac Maybin and Lewis Brown in a nail-bitingly tense battle for the top spot.
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The Winner Takes All.

The wet weather gave way to glorious sunshine for the first race, and it couldn’t be a more fitting setting for Ant Whorton-Eales to secure his seventh successive race win and take his place as the new MINI Challenge series champion.
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Sprinting for Second.

With the title secured, the battle for second spot erupted. A fiercely-fought second race saw Nathan Harrison and Jordan Collard pushing themselves to the limit in a bid to be series runner-up, with Harrison making the most of a decisive gap to take the chequered flag.
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A Sensational Season.

After eight adrenaline-pumping rounds at six iconic tracks, the 2018 MINI Challenge drew to a close with a new champion. It’s been a thrilling season of dramatic twists, close calls and no-holds-barred racing battles – we’ll see you for more action in 2019.
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The road beyond the smoking tyres.

Did you know we build race-inspired models that are tailored for everyday roads? Our high-performance MINI John Cooper Works models pay homage to John Cooper's winning racing legends. They embody the same plucky spirit and essence of motor sport, but are road-ready. 

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