[Source: PVDB97 @ YouTube]
[Source: RallyMedia @ YouTube]
With BMW co-developing the next generation MINI alongside a new family of small, front wheel drive BMWs, MINI’s component offerings are about to get substantially better and more technically impressive. One of the more important things on that list will be a new 8-speed dual clutch transmission. This DCT gearbox, co-developed with ZF, will replace the current 6-speed, old-school, torque converter auto in all future MINIs beginning with the F5X/F6X cars. This will begin with the F56 (the 3rd generation MINI Hardtop) and spread as each model is updated.
"In Dakar, OK, you do five or six hours and then you go relax and go in the hotel," said Salazar. "But yesterday was crazy! I woke up at 4:30 yesterday and at 10 o'clock last night we were still going. And on this event you are going flat-out and pushing as hard as you can, whereas in Dakar you are driving at 80 per cent."
Salazar added that competing on the longest round of the WRC since the Safari Rally in 2002 completed his motorsport ambitions.
"In Formula 1 we had what was called the magic square and I finished Le Mans, Indy, Dakar and now I need to finish this one," he said. "I guess it doesn't help that I chose to make my debut in the World Rally Championship on such a tough event, but I'm happy. My times are coming down on the second loop of the stages and it's great to drive these cars."
My test car was a Works edition, and so equipped, the Coupe is a top notch go-kart. MINI claims a top speed of 149 mph for the JCW, and a 0-60 mph best of 6.1 seconds. Acceleration is, then, quite strong, and torque steer is a definite possibility when you lay into the throttle. The engine's power band is impressively wide. Max torque arrives at 1,850 rpm and holds through 5,600 rpm, so the engine is highly responsive over a very wide rpm range. The six-speed stick has a short, straight stroke, keeping the engine on the boil and adding to the car's fun factor. The car posts fine fuel economy, given its performance potential. EPA rates the JCW Coupe at 25 city, 33 highway.
With the optional sport suspension on the JCW, you have the stiffest of all MINI's. Ride quality is firm, and while I didn't find this objectionable for daily driving, this wouldn't be my first choice for a long trip. Standard Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction Control (standard on JCW, optional elsewhere) help keep the Coupe pointed in the right direction. DSC can be switched off, for those taking their Coupe to the track. Handling is arguably more impressive than the driveline, since you can exercise the JCW's curve carving more readily than you can its, uh, arresting acceleration. And that's the key to the JCW. Unless you have access to a race track or perhaps plan an autocross for your back yard (fair warning: most municipalities — and neighbors — frown on this sort of thing), you really can't scratch the car's itch.
I know that's true of many performance cars, but most of them are content to cruise the highways, while this one seems to whisper troublemaking thoughts in your ear. For that reason — and price (this loaded test car stickered for a stout, $38 Large) — the downrange Coupe models (base, S) make the most sense for most people. While you'll clearly get less performance, you reach a better balance of price vs. usable fun.
If you are a fan of speed, Coupe John Cooper Works is the appropriate vehicle. Strong and agile, JCW coupe fitted with turbocharged 1.6 to 208 kW capacity. Acceleration time 0-100 km / h takes 6.1 seconds, top speed around 240 km / h. Not only that, JCW coupe version was also consume the most fuel when the fuel consumption combined average European standard of 8.6 liters per 100 km.
The MINI Ray will be hitting dealerships at the beginning of May when Italian hipsters can look forward to a Summer spent cruising the Italian countryside blaring your old Duran Duran cassette tapes, through an iPod of course.
Krumm's MINI R53 WideBody (Lower Frame) Vs. Tommy's MINI R56 JCW FL (Upper Frame)
Both cars are mechanically optimized however Krumm's MINI R53 has a very interesting detail which is that this car has been newly equipped with a set of TOYO R888 235/40R17 on 8Jx17CH ATS GTR alloy-wheels, 15mm spacers, and a WideBody-Kit in order to enhance it's cornering speed and stability!
As the “just right” droptop in MINI’s ever-expanding lineup, the Cooper S provides a perfect balance between solid performance and relative practicality not found in its siblings. The Cooper S John Cooper Works is a hoot to drive, but it’s expensive, while the stylish new Roadster trades what limited cargo-hauling ability the standard MINI Convertible has. Goldilocks has found her MINI.
Now in its 11th year, the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S race cars competed over two classes at the opening round of the seven-round series: the John Cooper Works (JCW) class and the Club class. The JCW class is provided with slick and wet options: the 225/625-17 DH slick and 225/625-17 WS wet tyre. The Club class has only one type available: an intermediate tyre that is suitable across a range of different wet and dry conditions.
* * *
Are diesel models a possibility for the U.S.?
Diesels in general are a topic for the environment, and for America. It won’t happen in the current lineup because we can’t justify the business case yet. But for future models, we’ll look at it very closely because dealers and customers continue to approach us about it. That pertains not only to the U.S. market, but also to other markets, such as Japan.
Which transmission strategy do you follow? Wouldn’t a dual-clutch box be a better brand fit than a traditional automatic?
Of course, a John Cooper Works is screaming for a dual-clutch transmission, but you can also improve an automatic transmission to a level where you hardly recognize the difference anymore. Over the entire lineup, demand is higher for automatics. Of course, we consider going from six to eight gears or similar, that is a topic [of conversation]. The John Cooper Works Countryman now comes with a manual and an automatic and we are very curious how these choices will be accepted.
* * *
And does the small Rocketman have a chance of series production?
The main issue here is the business case. I don’t believe that a smaller car could be that much less expensive to make, but the customer would expect it to be offered for a few thousand dollars less. What we have seen here are design features that were popular. We didn’t do the concept just to get attention, but we want to see what elements could work on other models.
* * *
The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, the third-annual event under that title, returns to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on June 2-3. The event this year is titled, “Moments in Time: a Celebration of the History of Motorsports.”
The 26th-annual historic-car event organized by General Racing Ltd. in Sonoma will focus on highlights of the 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s—the eras in which auto racing began to cement its status as a world-class spectator sport. In addition, 400 historic race cars will compete and parade around the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course, including a number of significant cars ranging from a 1911 National Indy 500 racer to a 1991 Roush IMSA GTO Mustang.
“Our plan for the third-annual Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival is to celebrate the important ‘moments in time' from the sport and the cars that defined each era,” said Steve Earle, president of General Racing Ltd., who has organized premier historic-car events for four decades.
Earle started the Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca that ran in conjunction with the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
“Our focus, as always, will be to bring the history of the sport to the attention of automotive enthusiasts, new and old, with the display of a number of important cars and the presence of personalities from specific events during those periods. This year, these will include the winning driver of the 1952 Golden Gate Park Races, and the winning car from the 24 Hours of Le Mans that same year.
“The theme will also focus on the emergence of GT cars, rather than Prototypes, as contenders for the 1962 FIA World Manufacturers Championship, the introduction of Group C sports cars and the dominating Porsche 956 of 1982,” Earle added.
“It's a little known fact that the city of San Francisco and its world-famous park was a gracious host in the early '50s to a number of SCCA racing events, and we'd like to take people back to those amazing days when a major U.S. city and a fledgling sports-car club joined together to entertain the public with exciting racing action.”
Cars considered significant in each era include:
1952: Allard J2-Cadillac (Golden Gate winner), Mercedes-Benz W194 (24 Hours of Le Mans winner)
1962: Ferrari GTO (introduced that year), the birth of the Cobra and the introduction of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
1972: Racing prototypes (Ferrari 312, Matra, e.g.) in the World Sports Car Championships
1982: Group C, the Porsche 956 introduced
Fifteen race groups will compete on Saturday and Sunday, while the weekend will also include the popular Wine Country Pavilion, with samplings of fine foods and wines from the Sonoma and Napa valleys.
The paddock will be open to spectators, allowing everyone an opportunity to get an up-close-and-personal look at the race cars and various car corrals throughout the raceway.
The weekend also will include the Historic Race Car Festival in the Sonoma Plaza on Saturday evening, benefiting Speedway Children's Charities.
So as an owner of the first two-seater MINI, the mad John Cooper Works GP, would I buy the new Roadster MINI? I could be tempted, as I believe the two-seater MINI concept works better in Roadster form and it looks great. My only worry would be the driving experience could be too compromised for the UK's rough tarmac when compared to the MX-5 and TT Roadster.