Spring has sprung and with it a Mini owner's fancy turns to performance and racing. Yes, it is time for our Annual Racing Issue jam packed with all the latest racing/performance info that we could gather together, including tips on prepping your car for the track, performance lighting, a big performance parts buyer's guide and the latest race reports.
The recently introduced Clubman has been the subject of much discussion among MINI aficionados with comments on the design and execution of same coming down on both sides of the issue. Our design editor, Stephan McKeown, opened up his designer's notebook and set down his professional opinion of the Clubman's design features on page 24, in Style and Substance.
Then, on page 28, Ivan Diaz writes MINI Muscle, a story about USTCC MINI racer, Bob Scheer, whose single-handed racing campaign with his 2002 Cooper S has been busy proving to Civic, Integra, Evolution and Impreza racers that even a rules change can't keep a good MINI down.
Mini history buffs will be delighted to find out that the second part of our series: Sir Alec Issigonis, Father of the Mini continues on page 30. Part one of the story started with Issigonis's early days and the shaping of his design philosphy. In part two: The Mini, the corporation, and the legacy, MC2 Senior European Correspondent, Graham Robson, delves into the development on the iconic automobile, the behind the scenes politics, the entry of BMC into motor racing and the end of the Issigonis influence at British Leyland.
Following the completion of the Issigonis saga, editor Peter D. DuPre details one man's obsession to own a classic Mini rally race car. But rather than try to find an affordable and available works car, Scott Miller decided to build his own. This unique and interesting vehicle is fully kitted out with all the latest high-tech rally gear that the 1960s had to offer. The Full Monte, starts on page 35 and shows you what can be done with a little determination, some cash and a purposeful idea.
Modern day MINI racing is more about track that cross-country rallying and in Juiced! (page 38), Jonathan Waterhouse details this winter's race in the Fresh from Florida 200 at Daytona. Waterhouse follows the exploits of RSR Motorsports/Cruise America MINI team as driver Randy Smalley competes in the Koni Challenge Series races. Although he didn't win, Smalley has put in quite a performance in the series, so much so that Koni has been using his car in their advertisements (see page 6).
Of course, just about every MINI owner is a closet racecar driver, but few of us ever get to drive the big tracks during competition because it is so costly to compete. However, just because racing is out of reach for most of us, that doesn't mean we can't occasionally drive on the big tracks. Pedro Tomas tells how he got to drive his MINI on the track in MINIs Tackle Daytona (page 41) during a High Performance Drivers Education weekend at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. According to Pedro, hitting a 137 mph as he crossed the start/finish line was the highlight of the weekend.
On page 44, publisher Barry Brazier shows American MINI owners how to do it right in An International Affair, he writes about photographer Rahoul Ghose's stunning 2002 Cooper S. Ghose, a Canadian now living in Los Angeles is a master of the 'less-is-more' school of automobile customizing and his silver Cooper S beautifully reflects the elegant refinement of low-key customization in the Canadian manner.
Then it is off to Oxfordshire, England, where on page 48 our UK Correspondent, Rob Marshall, discusses the advantages of Shelling Out. As so aptly points out during a tour of the British Motor Heritage facility, why settle for a rusting classic when you can have a new body that is actually better made than the original. Best of all, Rob provides info on pricing and on the American importer of these classic body shells.
Once you have rebodied your classic, parking it indoors is probably for the best and on our own Barry Brazier details the second part of building your custom garage in which you can park your classic. This time Barry covers wall options for storage with a quick discussion of wall storage systems in Don't Stack It, Hang It! (page 52).
Our parts and service feature this issue is all about Moss Motors, a long-time supplier of parts for classic British cars. Peter D. DuPre writes about the history of this famed aftermarket supplier, their outstanding customer service and thei MINI parts catalogue in Service with Enthusiasm on page 54. Peter also covers ex-Army Ranger, Larry Champlain's '07 Cooper S rocket in Fast and Furious, which is a look at a prize-winning MINI from New Jersey. Additionally, on page 58, Peter writes about understanding the technologies behind todays headlights and auxiliary lighting in Let there Be Light! He also provides and indepth resource list at the article's end so you know where to purchase the latest in lighting technology for your MINI.
Rules changes are a way of life in the racing world and changes made last season affected the MINI adversely, taking it out of contention for podium placement. Brad Davis and the MINI of Charleston racing team give their perspective on the MINI in SCCA Amateur Racing in On Track To Win (page 61). Davis discusses how the move of the MINI to the faster SSB Class has put it in contention with bigger, faster cars such as the Pontiac Soltice and how that change has put our favorite car out of contention for the natonal championship anytime soon.
In Prepping for the Track on page 62, Technical Editor, Matt Richter interviews autocross and track racers and provides four different perspectives on getting your car ready for competition. According to Matt, you needn't spend a fortune to get a little competitive action going if you are competing in autocross, but if your eyes are set on the Grand-Am Koni Challenge, then it is time to get serious.
Wrapping up the editorial package is our 2008 Performance Parts Buyer's Guide (page 66), the latest in club news and events, all our regular columns by Barry, Peter, Cindy, Graham and Matt, plus the introduction of Coopers Only, a new column specifically penned with Cooper owners in mind. Not everyone owns an S model, and this column provides performance tips for them. All in all, we think you'll enjoy this issue. Happy reading! - Peter D. DuPre, Editor.