Ray Hampton Racing, based in Las Vegas, will field a three car MINI Cooper S team in the NASA (National Auto Sport Assoc.) US Touring Car Championship series. The cars are being supplied by Rasmussen MINI, Portland, OR. MINI USA is lending support but this is not a true "works" team. This race series is for lightly modified cars and features several classes. I saw their first car, a blue S, a week ago at the NASA event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's west road course. It wasn't racing, just practicing and auditioning drivers during the High Performance Driving Event. Good luck Ray.
I saw a notice today at the SEMA show in Las Vegas that said Ray Hampton Racing (RHR) will be showing two of their U.S. Touring Car Championship series MCS racers to attendees and the press from 5:30- 7 pm, Wed. in the Showroom at the New Frontier Hotel. Representatives from MINI USA, Rasmussen MINI, Mini-Madness, the Nevada Development Authority and RHR will attend. Ray Hampton will introduce the team's drivers.
I attended the press reception this evening, hope to get some pictures up tomorrow. There will be three team cars, no. 75 driven by Ray Hampton (the team owner), no. 76 driven by Veska Kozorov and no. 77 driven by Micki Miller. Pat Hentges, the team's communications director and the original owner of one of the cars started the introductions and revealed that Kevin Philips of MINI USA will be co-driving one of the cars when they compete in the NASA Open Track Challenge(OTC) next May. This is a separate event from the USTCC races. OTC is run on seven tracks in seven days in Calif. and Nevada in a best lap time, multiple cars on the track but not directly racing format. There were several other MINI USA and BMW representatives present. Philips spoke about the Mini's racing heritage, winning several Monte Carlo rallies, and how pleased he was to see it return to racing. The team plans to compete in 16 USTCC races: 10 in the West, five in the East and one in the Midwest. They also plan to compete in some NASA Bimmer series races against the BMWs. George Mehallick, owner of Mini-Madness was also present wearing team colors. He has supplied/coordinated the performance parts for the cars. Driver Miller told the crowd that he expected a top ten finish for the team in the series. Ray Hampton told me that the cars were within 2 hp of each other and the drivers usually within 3/100s of a sec. of each other during practice. Next practice session is in two weeks at Sears Point, CA then in mid Jan. in Las Vegas. The first race is in March in Fontana, CA.
Yes they have sunroofs, it surprised me. That also adds 61 lbs. of weight up high, but maybe they wanted it there. These cars are seriously lightened and they will add weight back to make the class weight of 2050 lbs.
Thanks to Seth for posting the pictures about our MINI race team, we are excited to have such a great product to work with. To answer some of your questions, yes the models displayed have sunroofs, but these are the 2 promotional cars that we are using to develop our specialized race components. The race cars will not have sunroofs.
We will be conducting 2 days of testing at Sears Point raceway November 23 & 24 were we will be evaluating different suspension set ups and manufacturers, engine modifications, and exhaust modifications, along with testing against a BMW 328 as a base line.
I will make sure that we update the board after the test session.
Hello all, I'm Pat Hentges doing the communications work for RHR as noted, but I'll leave it to Ray to fill you in with as much info as he feels is appropriate. Will say that the testing was switched to Willow Springs with excellent results. It was fun watching Mickey Miller - who has several thousand laps at Willow under his belt - duel with a buddy in an M-Coupe for 10 laps, during which he kept the Cooper S ahead despite the Coupes hp advantage which was obvious on the straights. Ray, who was just getting over a bout with flu, and Vesco, who'd never seen Willow before last Friday, were only about a second behind Mickey. All in all, very impressive especially in cars that still weight 2700 lbs., though Vesco's suspension work was a key factor in the cars' performance. Everyone was pleased with the combination of the Schroth safety harnesses and Cobra Suzuka kevlar seats; we'll be running the Cobra Sidewinder seats and DOT approved Schroth belts in the promotional cars, since the Cobra seats have sliders to fit the Cooper so they bolt right in.
A favor to ask; if dukesantos has any more pictures from the press launch in Las Vegas you might be willing to share, please contact me at email@example.com
Anyone else looking for info on the team's progress please don't e-mail to that address; we're setting up a website soon where you can go to see new press releases, pictures, and general news/results regarding the team. We'll post that URL as soon as it's active. Thanks everybody for your interest.
RHR is Nevada/Calif. based. The USTCC series they will compete in does have some races in the East and Midwest. There is another MCS team being planned for the Grand American Cup series. This team is based in the East and most of the eleven Cup races are also. I expect an announcement from this team in January.
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