MINI Cooper Hardtop to Enter B-Spec Race Series for 2012!

Heya MINI fans! Nope, it’s not another stuffy press release from Munich or Oxford. Finally, we got some news local to the USA!

MINI USA and MINI of Charleston to build and sell turn-key MINI race cars

MINI USA has partnered with MINI of Charleston (South Carolina) to announce that the MINI Cooper Hardtop will begin racing in the B-Spec series for the 2012 race season. B-Spec vehicles are production-based cars that are equalized on power and weight to make the racing as competitive as possible and all four of the major racing sanctioning bodies (SCCA, Grand Am, NASA and World Challenge) will host B-Spec races in 2012.

Jim McDowell, Vice President – MINI USA (who was interviewed by Miniology earlier) said, “B-Spec racing is a great fit for MINI because the car is developed with racing heritage in mind and the races are run with vehicles very similar to those already sitting in the driveway…Getting involved with B-Spec racing offers a fun and competitive race environment without requiring MINI drivers to make a large financial investment to make their car a serious competitor.”

Yeah, like we have always said, MINIs (even stock ones!) are track-ready right off the dealership floor. How many brands can say they offer that kind of performance right off the factory line?

MINI of Charleston, a Hendrick Automotive Group company, will build and sell turn-key MINI Hardtop racing vehicles by the start of the 2012 season. It will also offer class-legal conversion kits so the owner of any 2007 – 2012 MINI Cooper Hardtop can easily be ready to race in B-Spec. All safety equipment will meet or exceed requirements set forth by the sanctioning body.

During the LA Auto Show, the first MINI’s B-Spec prototype will be on display. This vehicle will be driven by Brad Davis, Executive General Manager of MINI of Charleston and team driver Robbie Davis.

MINI USA’s existing contingency program for all four racing series will be extended to sanctioned B-Spec race teams, with financial compensation for an eligible podium finish. For more information about MINI USA’s contingency program, please visit http://www.miniusa.com/#/miniRacing

Vinnie Kung, MINI USA Product Manager added, “MINI entering B-Spec racing is full of benefits. Drivers can enter the racing arena for a fairly low investment in a car developed from the ground up with performance and handling at its core. In addition, MINI USA’s contingency program is to compelling, it could even pay off the car itself in about a year.”

Final contingency payout information, as well as detailed pricing for the MINI Hardtop adapted by MINI of Charleston and the conversion kits, will be announced as the start of the 2012 season draws closer.

Now here are the vehicle specs:

2012 MINI Cooper Hardtop B-Spec Racer
HP: 121 @ 6,000, factory rated
TQ: 114 @ 4,250, factory rated
Steering: Electric power-assisted rack and pinion, 14.1:1 ratio
Weight: 2,535 pounds, 60.4%/39.6% F/R, factory rated
Length / Wheelbase / Height: 146.6”/ 97.1” / 55.4”
Suspension: KW V1 Coilover Struts and Shocks/ Vorshlag front camber plates
Brakes: Standard MINI Brake system with Carbotech Brake Pads and Way Motorworks Stainless Steel Braided hoses.
Safety Equipment: Kirk Racing Roll Cage with Kirkey Intermediate Road Racing Seat and Schroth Hybrid III Harnesses, Cage Nets and Window Net.
Wheel / Tire: 15 x 7 Kosei K1 aluminum alloy / Hoosier SM6 205-50-15
Performance-enhancing electronics standard on all MINIs:
• Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
• Four-wheel disc Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)
• Cornering Brake Control (CBC)
• Brake Force Distribution (BFD)

[Source: BMW Group PressClub USA – Woodcliff Lake, NJ – November 16, 2011]