60 years of Mini racing, celebrating the 60th Anniversary
In 1956, British Motor Corporation recruited designer Alec Issigonis to develop an innovative vehicle. Because of a fuel shortage this vehicle had to be more efficient than anything on the market and Alec Issigonis designed a model that was indeed innovative and revolutionary. A model with a 4-cylinder engine, a small body and lighter weight was developed and soon history was made.
Motivated by initial success in the Monte Carlo Rally, Cooper suggested building a GT model based on the Mini. George Harriman, the CEO of BMC developed a smaller series of Mini Coopers with a modified 55hp engine providing an extra 21 horsepower. The transmission ratios were adjusted to the sporting potential of the engine and disc brakes on the front wheels ensured adequate stopping power. The top speed for this model was approximately 80 mph or 130 km/h.
In 1961 and 1963 the motor sports models Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S were developed with upgrades to the engines. The Mini Cooper S featured a 1071cc engine providing the ability to rev up the engine to impressive speeds. Maximum output was 70 hp at 6,200 rpm, maximum engine speed was 7,200 rpm. The Mini Cooper S became iconic in the racing world due to its early success.
Despite their disqualification, excitement and publicity was spreading throughout the racing communities about the Mini Coopers. One year later Rauno Aaltonen achieved another first place finish in the Monte Carlo Rally and the third overall victory of the Mini Cooper S.
Still, the love and passion for these vintage Mini's is strong. Enthusiasts around the world are rebuilding classic Mini Coopers through shops and with their own hands to compete in events and carry the torch for generations to come.
If you're interested in joining the winners circle,
60 Years Of Mini Racing
Article Date: Feb 15, 2019