A professional cycling team’s car needs to offer the capability to carry the full complement of spare bikes and components, have performance over terrain that varies from rough cobbles to alpine switchbacks, and provide the comfort for transcontinental journeys and long race transfers.
The MINI Cooper SD Clubman offers the German registered team all of this as well as an instantly recognisable brand that stands out among the more traditional family estates employed by much of the WorldTour peloton.
Photographed a few days after Paris-Tours, the car was still equipped with the race convoy vehicle identification stickers, a race book, and energy gels and food was stockpiled in the door pockets.
The roof rack has enough room for nine team bikesJosh Evans/Immediate Media
The car measures in at 1,800mm wide (excluding door mirrors) and 4,253mm long, which is just 30mm narrower than a Volkswagen Passat (Bahrain-Merida’s chosen team car). While the car widths may be similar, the MINI loses out on nearly 500mm of length to the Passat and this is noticeable in the rear seat legroom and boot space.
Despite the smaller than usual dimensions, the car comfortably accommodates a nine-bike roof rack, allowing for a spare bike for each team member during a Grand Tour during this season.
The Mini Cooper Clubman SD has a maximum output of 190hp/139,745 wattsJosh Evans/Immediate Media
As well as the roof rack, other customisations include brackets on the front wing panels for aerials, which service both the team and race radios located in the passenger footwell of the car. Screens on the dash and attached to the rear of the front passenger seat offer live footage of the race, so the mechanics and team staff can prepare for any wheel changes or tactical decisions from the car.
The MINI Cooper SD Clubman has a 1,995cc engine, with an output of 190 horsepower, equal to around 140,000 watts – or 70 Michael Matthews in full sprint!
The four-cylinder diesel engine accelerates the car from 0–100km/h (0–62mph) in 7.4 seconds and onto a maximum speed of 224km/h (139mph), with 400nm (295 ft/lb) of torque transferred via its Pirelli Sottozero front tyres. Official figures suggest it’ll also return a combined economy figure of 62.8mpg or 4.5l/100km.
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a detailed look at Team Sunweb’s car.