All-wheel-drive and 301 horsepower make for the best sleigh.
Finland has a long history of breeding incredible rally and rallycross drivers. Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Mäkinen have four World Rally Championships each. Marcus Grönholm has two, while Markku Alén, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, and Timo Salonen have one each. They all grew up driving on snow and ice in a country that values driving skills and motorsport, and that's just the flying Finns that took overall championships. Timo Mäkinen and Rauno Aaltonen drove Mini Cooper S models to victory in Monte Carlo Rally events of 1965 and 1967, and Mini has decided to pay homage to those drivers with the latest Mini John Cooper Works Clubman by driving one across the frozen bliss of Lapland.
The Lapland region covers Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia. Lapland is also where several manufacturers, including BMW, perform cold-weather testing. Finland is also the epicenter of Lapland's motorsport heritage, though. It's home to the Mobilia automobile museum, including the Rally Museum and Rally Hall of Fame, where Mäkinen and Aaltonen were the first drivers to be inducted in 2010. Another testament to the small European country's rallying dominance is the fact that 11 of the 26 legends in the Hall of Fame are Finnish.
While the new models from the BMW-owned MINI brand have no direct DNA shared with the original Mini, they are of similar delight to drive and the John Cooper Works badge brings legitimacy to the performance versions you can't ignore. We recently spent a week with the 301-hp ALL4 version of the Countryman, which shares a powertrain with the JCW Clubman, and wished we had snow and ice roads like this to put it through its paces on. Instead, we'll have to make do for now with BMW's images of the John Cooper Works Clubman going on a trip of a lifetime.