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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Autocrossed the Helix MINIsports MINI Cooper on Saturday. WOW! What a great car. I've been anxiously waiting my Cooper S, but if someone told me I couldn't have a Cooper S, I'd still sell my very nice Miata for a Cooper, no doubt.

The car, equipped with 205/50 Kumho R Compounds (DOT race tires), was incredible. It handled VERY flat, and was very nuetral for a car with such an uneven weight distribution. Helix has aligned it with an 1/8th toe out in the front, but didn't touch the rear. Of course it did understeer greatly when pushed too hard, but could easily be unwound to grab traction again. I had no problem inducing lift-throttle-oversteer when entering the turns hard.

Coming from a 6-speed Miata that does 0-60 in 7.6 seconds, this MINI did not feel much different in the power band. Now, the course was fairly fast, not enough transitions for my taste, which allowed the Cooper's NA engine to stay on the power.

The steering was nice and tight, certainly not overboosted. Turn in was quick, although not as quick as my Miata, which has about the same toe-out in front.

The brakes were fine, didn't notice they were bad or good to be honest, they did the job.

Traction will definitely be a problem in the Cooper S, especially if we can't fit more than a 205 on it. Hopefully a 215 (Hoosier), or even a 225 will fit, then we'll be set. BUT, I don't think it necessarily needs much more for the transitions and sweepers.

If you have any questions, fire away, if I can remember everything, I'll tell you.

There are a couple pictures in my Gallery on page 4.
 

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Does the Helix MINI have the SSP+ option? If I bought the Cooper instead of the S, I'd like to know if it's worth the extra money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Don't let Eric fool you, he was a tenth behind me.

No, the Helix MINI does not have the SSP. And I was STILL amazed at how tight the suspension was.

If you're not a performance enthusiast, I don't see any reason to get the SSP. But if you ARE, then get it, but I'd still stick with 16's for weight, looks, tire cost, and tire choices.

I went from never driving a Cooper at all to pushing it as far as it could go, so I have no idea what it's regular road manners are like.
 

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Must add

Brian has also never driven a front driver before in a Solo II event! He has finished first in his class in BS in his Miata for the last 2 seasons though.
 

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regarding ssp

We did not get the SSP for our test car because we are developing our own suspension setups. We will soon install the most radical one of our three available kits: a H&R/Bilstein coilover setup. This will allow us more adjustability and performance at the expense of comfort. Knowing the stiffness of the stock ride, this option will be best for those most committed to handling. The other two will be more tward the comfort side in the comfort to performanc ratio. It should be on by the next autocross, so we'll report back thereafter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Another Race

If everything goes as planned, I'll also be running modded-for-H-Stock Cooper on Saturday at Fed Ex field in D.C. Supposed to be an "S" but they're probably not getting it in time (there's still hope).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Second race of a Cooper

Well, I've had the standard suspension Cooper for about 45 hours now. Took 5 runs on the autocross (along with a few techs).
It had plugs and wires which were taken off because, believe it or not, they made the electrohydraulic steering cut out. So it when from power, to no power. The techs there are going to trouble shoot that one some more because they have another car with the same wires and it hasn't been a problem.
We have it set up with Cooper S 16's (x-lites) and new Kumho Ecsta V700's in 205/45R16. The front tires got PLENTY of wear, of course. The rears were still like new, even running 4lbs. less.
BUT THE CAR HANDLED PERFECT.

Accelerate out through a sweeper and at the slightest hint of understeer, blip the throttle back a bit and the rear steps right around for you. Let off a little less and it drifts perfect. You can even fix the car if you start getting behind on the turns by simply lifting off more and squaring the turn off.

To express my enthusiam for the Cooper, I have to say this: I drove the Cooper S on Friday, albeit a lousy and tough-to-ring-the-car-out route, and thought it was OK. Nothing too amazing, it was faster, and maybe a little tighter, but not amazing.
After racing a standard suspension Cooper again, I would not have any problem buying it, but I'd put the Sport Suspension Plus on it simply for Solo II Stock class reasons (can't put an aftermarket on it). If money is tight at all, I'll be in a Cooper not an "S".

The Cooper is very underated! The power is not there like the Cooper S, BUT, it's more torquey than a Honda and when revved all the way out, is very quick. I'm going to see if I can get a G-Tech on it today, I may not have time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Since your not competing against me in the US, I'll tell you ;)
I was told the new Kumhos would require more pressure, people were telling me to start at 45lbs in the front!. Since I'm running a very different car from before (Miata), pressures are very different anyway. But, for the ideal balance, 4lbs. less in the rear seemed great. My runs were very close together, more than usual, and I found 35lbs to be the minimum for the front (31 rear).
Now, take this how you want, I've always argued that the Kumhos (old ones) loved to run the lowest pressures until they rolled to the edge of the tread. I did the same for the new ones and it worked great. Without a true "test and tune" I won't know for sure for awhile, until I get a chance to run a bunch of runs with higher pressures.
But it's very simple to me, the higher the pressure, the smaller the contact patch.

I do need to note that we run mostly on Asphalt around here, concrete would definitely require higher pressures, as much as 40lbs front.
Also, air temperature was around 45 degrees, pavement was probably around 75 degrees.
 

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Garfield said:
Since your not competing against me in the US, I'll tell you ;)
Thanks very much - I'm testing the club sport for the first time tommorrow and had opted for 40 in the fronts slightly less in the back as a starting point so I guess Ipretty much in the ball park - I'll let you know how it went

R
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For high speed saftey, start with at least 5lbs less in the rear. If you want more lift throttle oversteer, add one pound at a time. Sorry, you'll need to do the conversion.
 

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Garfield

Thanks for your help - after a day of testing I can say your comments were useful - Since others who will be competing against me will probably use this board in the near futre I'd rather not post the exact pressures but suffice to say your comments helped -
 

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Garfield said:
For high speed saftey, start with at least 5lbs less in the rear. If you want more lift throttle oversteer, add one pound at a time. Sorry, you'll need to do the conversion.

Does the tire pressure warning light come on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Funny you should ask that. NO!? I was surprised since the tires are a smaller diameter. Now, I forgot to ask my tech if he did anything about it, possibly a fuse or something, but I don't think he did. Odd huh?

Brian
 

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...

garfield(brian), id be interested in watching you run at any event. i noticed you were in md, and am looking to get more into scca. i have an order for a mini cooper s. right now i have a newer corolla, and an AE86, but both were modified for more drifting then good track runs. obviously the mini is fwd as but i found it interesting that you said the car would oversteer a bit when the throttle was slightly let off...i was curious what happens if you trail brake? will it oversteer heavily? also what class do you expect the cooper s to be put in, or has it been put in one? thanks, and sorry for all the questions =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Cooper S will be in D Stock for Solo II, against the WRX and Type R.

Sign ups are Sunday for the next SCCA event at FedEx Field. Goto: http://solo.wdcr-scca.org/ for more info.

Sorry for being short, I'm trying to catch up...
 

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Hhehehhe

i came across some of your other posts...seems youre getting a cooper 'S' as well from mini of sterling. im number 110 though ...=(. oh well when i finally do get the car looks like i'll have some competion at the local scca events. =) good fun!!!
 
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