Mini Cooper – What’s Hot!

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in News | 0 comments

Mini Cooper – What’s Hot!

Ok, I drive a 2005 MINI Cooper S. It’s an “R53”, which means (02-06) with the “S” package. It was completely stock when I bought it for $10,000 back in May of 2010. It had 70,000 miles on it, with plain-Jane silver (pure silver, BMW calls it) and a black top.

I joined the PDX MINI club in the Portland area that same month. I attended my 1st back road Twisty Run the following weekend. It was awesome! I noticed that each the MINI’s were a little unique, and had a theme of sorts. After the run, I knew I wanted to make mine a “Race Car” theme. I got it striped and numbered at PDX Wraps here in Sherwood OR, but over the next 3 months many people asked “Do you race this?” and I had to answer “No”.

I’d heard about track day at Portland International Raceway (PIR) in nearby Portland where you could learn to drive your daily-driver at speed on their track. I signed up and loved it! That was in August; I was 63 in October, and spent the fall and winter tricking out the suspension, adding a cold air intake, cat-back exhaust, and a 15% smaller supercharger pulley. Oh, and I also started changing every piece of gray trim or chrome to carbon fiber.

mini cooperBy Feb. 2011, I went to MINI Thunder II to see how it would stack up to dozens of other MINI’S. After training all morning with Bill, the oldest instructor there at 69, he certified me “SOLO” meaning I was able to drive the rest of the day with out an instructor. Bill had raced all his life and he pushed me hard, hammering “smooth equals fast” into my head. I memorized the lines and tried to do all that he taught me. That same afternoon, I passed every car on the track and by the end of the day I was lapping them all. I was hooked! I attended another Track day at PIR, then three times at ORP in Grass Valley, OR. These were “Hooked on Driving” events. Then one more day at PIR in Portland.


By then, Fall was upon us and it was too cold and rainy to be on the track, so I decided that since the odometer had turned over 100,000 miles, Winter would be a good time to upgrade the power-plant. I found a Shrick cam on Craig’s List; six months and $19,000 later I had a fresh new motor, an AutoPower roll bar, Sparko racing seats, Bilstein coilovers.. and it was February!

MC2 Magazine “Simply the best damn MINI Magazine on the planet. Period.”~ Austin Cooper III
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Pikes Peak Hill Climb The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motor sports race in America and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. First competed in 1916 and this year marks the 90th running of the “Race to the Clouds.”

The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of America’s Mountain; Pikes Peak! As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs engines of 30% of their power at the summit. Competitors and vehicles must be in top shape simply to finish…let alone win!

The current record is 09:46.164 and was set by Rhys Millen in 2012.

There is no other race course in the world like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. That is why it attracts race crews that are willing to spend several hundred thousand dollars and months of preparation to compete for the right to be the King of the Mountain.

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