I recently attended an autocross with my car (see sig). There was a Mini (MCS) there from Habberstad BMW that had hoosiers, Dinan badges on it (no idea the tune of it), what looked like aftermarket swaybars, coil overs and brakes. The driver was the top driver from the Porsche Club of America (who I was racing with that day). I was expecting this car to mop the floor with all of the Porsche's out there also considering the driver of the car and his experience. I was very dissapointed. The car ended up running 2 seconds SLOWER than my car. Granted, I have the power advantage, but the mini should have the handling advantage on a tight autocross, especially considering the modifications it has. I have swaybars and R-compound tires on my car. What gives?? I was hoping to retire my car from autocross and use it for track events and let the Mini take over autocross duties for me when we get it. I guess the Mini won't be doing the autocross duties or the track events!! Do you guys experience the same things???
I don't believe a guy that knows how to drive a porsche well, could just jump in a MINI and drive it just as well. If he is used to autocrossing porsches, they are completly different cars and handling characteristics. A porsche has real wheel drive and rear weight bias, the MINI is the complete opposite. I have seen small front wheel drive cars beat much more powerful and prestigous rear wheel drive sports cars by a large margin. I think skill with a particular car is the fastest way around an autocross.
2003 Solid Black MCS
All options (except Nav and PDC), Milltek cat-back, red/white tailights, Whalen knob, Osram Silverstar high beam, 16" Dunlop Winter Sport M3
I see what you are saying, but skill overall is what matters. There is another guy there that jumps into my cousins car and runs fastest time in her class, though he has never driven that car before, it is not setup at all for his driving style. That is like saying that Michael Shumacher can't drive unless he is in a F1 car. Not entirely true. When he and Jeff Gordon switched cars (Not sure if it was shuey or another F1 driver), they were within seconds of each others lap times, but one in a Nascar car and the other in a F1 car. Totally opposite sides of the spectrum if you ask me.
I am not dissing the MCS, it is just that I thought it would do AWESOME at the autocross. MUCH better than my G35. It doesn't look like that is the case though. If a 'pro' autocross driver jumps into the MCS (he works for Habberstad in their performance area and is sponsored by them, I doubt it was his first time in that car), and can't be me who has only run 30 or so autocrosses, I am a little worried. I would assume that the Mini will be behind my G35 times by about 2 seconds at least with me behind the wheel.
I wouldn't put too much stock in the MCS being slower. When you change so many characteristics on a car, sometimes the components aren't working in harmony or haven't been optimized to work together. For example, have the tire pressures been tested and verified to be the fastest. Are the shocks good? Are they set correctly (rebound and dampening). Spring rates? Balance (push or oversteer). Just because someone slapped a bunch of parts on a car, doesn't mean it will be fast. It definitely takes testing and time to figure out how to make everything work together. Also, no mention of rim size for the R-compounds, camber kit, etc. Lots of time to be gained with a camber kit up front on an MCS and running narrow wheels really hurts autocross times on R-compounds. You can gain as much as a 1/2 second per 1/2 inch of rim width (depending on the car) on an autocross course.
In other words, don't put too much stock in this one data point. I think the Mini's are far more capable than you saw at this one event.
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