A Mini can do more. It can win the Dakar Rally twice in a row. It can conquer more than 100 markets worldwide. But what about defying the laws of gravity and showing snowboarders how to nail the perfect backflip?
Extreme sportsman, freestyle skier and rally driver Guerlain Chicherit rocked up at the winter sports resort of Tignes in his native France to prove it can do that as well. Chicherit pulled off the first such manoeuvre ever performed in a car using a static ramp, the driver and his Mini coming back down to earth – or, more specifically, a bed of fresh powder snow – unscathed after a perfectly executed backflip on a special prepared track.
The backflip had previously been attempted by other drivers. But Chicherit has now become not only the first automotively-propelled artist to execute a perfect landing, he also did it “unassisted” – in other words, without the aid of a special ramp with moving elements to boost the car’s rotational movement.
For his take-off, Chicherit used a static ramp that fits the same template as a quarterpipe on a freestyle course. With the ideal ramp breakover angle in place, Chicherit needed only two other things to record a successful attempt: an extremely light touch with the accelerator and a Mini with a suitably buoyant spring in its step.