Jay Leno's Garage Mini Cooper S Showcase
It's always fun when you get Jay Leno to highlight a car you are associated with on Jay Leno's Garage.
And when it's the SECOND ever Mini with 2 engines, that's even more awesome. (The first ever 2 engine Mini was actually a factory built Moke in 1963.)
Briefly, the story behind this Mini is, it was built for an imaginative, independent, self-made mechanic named Jacques Andres. One of these customers owned a 2002 MINI COOPER S and asked Jacque to turn into a race car. And Jacque being Jacque, took it to the extreme and created a unique, and unbelievable one of a kind. But not right away. His first rendition was a simple, but super amazing single engine racer.
Mini Mania’s Attachment to the 2-Engine Mini Cooper S
So, where did Mini Mania come in? We sponsored the single-engine car shortly after it was built, and Don (an accomplished, world-renown racer in his own right) even had the chance to race it around the Fuji Formula One race track in Japan.
At first, it was a phenomenon. But after it sat around for a couple of year, other pressing issues took priority, the car’s competitive edge was lost – which didn’t set well with Jacque.
So, he started again. And come up with the idea of adding another engine in the rear. Took two years, but oh, was it worth it. According to Don Racine, “My first experience behind the wheel of this 4 wheel drive twin engine MINI COOPER S was an experience to be remembered- it was like sitting in the cockpit of a prototype Lemons car; carbon fiber every place, with more gauges than could be comprehended in less than an hour. Everything was duplicated: two tachs, two boost gauges, two set of switches. Doubling up came as standard, right down to a wider gas pedal that activates two original assemblies.
“I was advised to get the feel for the power and the brakes before trying to set a lap record and thus I was pretty conservative on my first circuit, yet was still amazingly fast compared to anything else I drove the entire day.
The laps were excitingly simple - the TWINI simply went any direction you wanted it to and at any speed. The turn-in was great, the throttle response mid-turn was impressive, and the exit speed was thrilling to say the least. Even if you never have a chance to drive such a car- you simply have to watch it on the track and you will be impressed.
A Few Technical Factoids About this 2 Engine Mini
- The front steering arms used as part of the rear suspension were simply locked in place with adjustable ends to keep them stock for ease of replacement and make rear toe adjustments a breeze.
- Wheel size as I ran the car were 8X17, so it's hard to imagine how much better still it will be when the planned 10.5 X17 are installed.
- Stoptech brakes are used on both the front and rear of the car, which of course in this 4 wheel drive version are the same.
- The clutch operation is controlled by simply moving two cables in place of the original single version.
- Both engines have been upgraded with many of the parts from the Mini Mania Stage kits.
- While the sway bar on the front is an oversized stock version, the rear sway bar is a very custom creation that adds noticeably to the great balance that the car has.
- With a total weight of the car in the 2,800 pound range the almost 600hp on tap allows for real control thru the corners.
So, with all that behind it, it’s only natural that Jay Leno would showcase it in his Jay Leno’s Garage. Who wouldn’t!?
For more, please see our Twin Engine 4 Wheel Drive Mini article.