Track Day Simplicity

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Oct 13, 2017 | Mini | Posted in News and Notes , Features | From the Dec. 2016 issue | Never miss an article

One more example of how easy it can be to run track events: our experience with the latest Mini John Cooper Works. During last year’s press introduction, the Mini staff boasted how the car was track- ready right off the showroom floor. The press event even included laps at New York’s Wilzig Racing Manor.

Was that all marketing talk or the honest truth? To find out, we borrowed one for a spell and ran it locally–a mix of SCCA PDX track events as well as one hosted under the SCCA’s Track Night in America program.

Pre-event prep was simple: We checked the tire pressures and loaded up our usual gear. For this exercise, that meant a helmet, torque wrench, tire pressure gauge, drink cooler, magnetic numbers and, to fully secure them, some racer tape. Since Track Night in America doesn’t require numbers, we had even less to pack before those events.

That was it. We ran the stock tires, the stock brake pads and, yes, even the stock alignment settings. (We did have a slight advantage in that the John Cooper Works does come from the factory sport- ing some rather large 13.2-inch Brembo rotors up front.)

Our home base is in Florida, meaning the Mini saw action at Daytona, Sebring and Palm Beach International Raceway. It was a rather hot summer, too.

Our findings? The Mini never ran hot. It never threw a warning light. It didn’t lose its composure. It never limped back to the pits. The brakes held up fine. The car just ran and ran. And ran. Moreover, we cruised to and from the events in air-conditioned comfort.

We’re often asked how to get involved in motorsports. While not everyone–or even us–can afford a new John Cooper Works, this exercise reminded us how showing up in a simple, reliable car with good brakes can keep you on track and out of the garages.

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HapDL New Reader
10/13/17 5:02 p.m.

Yeah, pretty much what I do with my new Mustang.  Cars are just phenomenally good these days.

akylekoz HalfDork
10/14/17 7:48 a.m.

I drive my now vintage 92 mustang to and so far from all of the track events.  One tote of driving gear and one small toolbox fits in the hatch.

When you build for HPDE with road trips and DD duty in mind reliability trumps another two tenths off my lap time.  


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