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Mini GP - Protection Detail

Hot hatchbacks are a market that is well covered if you're on the hunt. Ford Fiesta ST's, Focus Rs', BMW M140i's, Renault Clio/Megane Sports and the list could go on for a while. However, only a handful of the market come with a no holds barred track ready editions - one of those being the Mini GP. The rear seats have been replaced with a brace bar, a bigger brake upgrade, adjustable suspension and a rear wing/diffuser combination that reduced rear lift when hurtling about a track make this version of the Mini one hardcore little machine - and we love them! The GP2 we have here is the second generation of the car following the - er - GP1 (encase you couldn't work that one out) and is one of only 2000 units produced and we are believed that it is only one of two within South Wales, making this one rare little car. The owner of this particular car takes very good care of it, previously having a Protection Detail with us earlier on in the year also. This time round it returns for a refresh of the exterior protection to keep it looking great and also keep it easy to clean.

We began by cleaning the wheels and tyres, using an all purpose cleaner and stiff bristle brush to cleanse the tyre side walls and a pH neutral wheel shampoo with assorted wash mitts and brushes for the wheels themselves. A long reach brush was used to agitate build up from the arches before a thorough pressure rinse dislodged any soiling trapped in the fabric arch liners.

As part of our Protection Detail we include a generalized tidy up of the engine compartment - however since our last the engine bay of the Mini was in pretty great shape, nothing more than a quick rinse needed to free away a minor build up of dust. A layer of foam pre-wash was blanketed over the entire car to aid in the breakdown of road soiling and build up, whilst the foam was dwelling we agitated the intricate areas such as badges, grills and door shuts with an all purpose cleaner and a detailing brush. A pressure rinse removed the remaining foam residue along with any grime broken down before moving on to the bucket wash; a two bucket method was adopted alongside grit guards and a microfiber wash mitt to thoroughly but gently wash away remaining dirt on the exterior surfaces. Once the entire car had been washed, it was given another rinse with the pressure washer and then removed of any tar spotting using a dedicated tar remover. A quick feel of the paintwork for roughness gave a good indication of how little contaminants had built up since the Mini's last service. That said, and along with the torrential downpours we were fighting on the preparation of this one, we decided to skip the iron remover and jump straight to claying using a surface preparation towel to remove any bonded contaminants and restore that silky smooth finish. After the clay session had been completed, we covered the car in a second layer of foam before a final pressure rinse and moving the GP indoors to be dried.

Using a Klin Drying towel and filtered air to blow out the nooks, the Mini was maneuvered onto our scissor lift to begin its protection steps. Firstly, Auto Finesse Tripple polish was used to cleanse and prepare the paintwork in readiness for its wax application. Tripple also has the ability to minimise the appearance of minor swirling/marring to boost gloss levels, making this polish a great 'all in one' product.

Once the polish had hazed, a clean microfiber towel was used to buff away the residue prior to laying down the first layer of Desire, Auto Finesse's flagship carnauba wax. Overlapping circular motions ensured an even application with the Waxmate-XL applicator before leaving to cure for approx 10-15minutes before buffing with another clean microfiber. Two layers of Desire were applied to the body and other gloss trims ensuring a one hour window was allowed between coats.

One area that the owner had most concerns about were the plastic exterior trims that had begun to fade a little since our last service - of course this is a very common sight on cars featuring a high amount of exterior plastic, especially Mini's. Auto Finesse Revive was used to restore a rich depth in colour and a satin appearance whilst simultaneously providing water repellency to help them stay cleaner for longer. We used a foam swab to dress the front grills to ensure the longest lasting protection even on the most intricate of areas, any remaining plastics that were not accessible with a swab were given a spray with Dressle. Engine compartment plastics were also given a liberal covering of Dressle and allowed to dwell for approximately 20 minutes before the excess was wiped away with a microfiber to leave and over-satin 'as new' finish.

Exterior glass surfaces were treated to a rain repellent for superior visibility in wet driving conditions, paying extra care when applying to the rear windows, of which featured some stickers that could either lift during the process. The unique four-spoked alloy wheels were given an application of Mint Rims wheel wax, a dedicated heat resistant protection that is suitable on all types of finishes including gloss, bare metal and (in this case) satin/matte. Auto Finesse Satin tyre dressing was then spread onto the tyre sidewalls to provide a clean and natural 'as new' appearance (as apposed to a hi-gloss finish some people prefer). Center exit exhaust tips were polished to remove light surface build up at this point before the car was lowered back onto the ground.

As part of our Detailing Services, including the Protection Detail, a vacuum of the interior removed dust and minimal debris from the floormats and crevasses whilst a soft bristled interior brush agitated dust out of switchgear. All interior glass was cleaned free of smudges and general build up, ensuring a smear free finish wash achieved before moving onto the next window. Finally, a buff over all interior trim was done with Auto Finesse Spritz to remove any dust whilst simultaneously adding an anti-static protection. A huge benefit of Spritz being it does not change the finish of interior trim which is very important when looking for a natural looking cockpit.

Turning our attention back to the exterior of the car, the paint was buffed over using a quick detailer to collect any residue remains, add additional slickness and ensure a smear free finish prior to collection. Auto Finesse Finale was also used to wipe down door shuts of any water spots and dust whilst adding a small amount of protection to help in keeping these areas clean. To finish the Mini, all exterior glass was cleaned with Gyeon Q2MGlass to be sure a crystal clear surface was achieved without causing any deterioration of the rain repellent we applied earlier.One final check and this little hot hatch looked superb, all thanks to our professional Protection Detail.

- Aaron

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