With super-wide stances, ultra-rigid bodies and incredibly precise handling, MINI have always felt right at home on the track. In fact, the whole reason MINI models tend to have contrasting roofs is that back in the 60’s it helped them stand out from the pack during races (of course, being out in front usually helped too). Today, our passion for racing lives on, whether it’s supporting amateur owners ready for a bit of out-of-the-ordinary weekend fun or developing world-class racing programs to lead the charge in some of the sport’s most grueling challenges.
MINI and the JCW team are proud to celebrate their win in the Manufacturers’ Championship in the Street Tuner class of the SportsCar Challenge Series at Road Atlanta. The Fox Factory 120 was the final race for MINI in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and also the series finale for the Street Tuner (ST) class. The win put MINI in the lead for the Manufacturers’ Championship standings. Yet another win that encapsulates the ‘David vs. Goliath’ racing spirit John Cooper started nearly 60 years ago.
From 2012 to 2015, MINI Motorsports teams took home the trophy from the perilous Dakar Rally. A second-place finish in 2016 broke our streak, but not our will. The MINI John Cooper Works Rally team returned to Dakar 2017 as the challenger, and to dominate the 5,500 miles of inhospitable terrain, they brought along a formidable new rally car based on the 2017 MINI Countryman.
Watch it kick up some serious dust in this exclusive, 360-degree drone experience.
If you want to see a pack of ferociously race-tuned MINI models torching the track, check out MINI Challenge. Since its launch in 2004, the MINI clubsport racing series has expanded to Argentina, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK. If you’re looking to add a healthy dose of adrenaline to your weekends, the Sports Car Club of America will not only let you spectate – but participate. With events on multiple surfaces for amateurs and professionals, and a contingency dedicated to MINI Owners, it’s well worth checking out an SCCA event near you.
You can win cash prizes racing a MINI in amateur or professional competitions through the MINI Motoring Awards Program. It’s just a little extra incentive for MINI owners to get out there and give racing a go. Not that the sheer fun and adrenaline rush of pressing a MINI through a closed course isn’t already enough.awards program details
Motorsports prowess. It’s earned on the racetrack, but it’s learned at the MINI Performance Driving School, where professional instructors teach participants to unleash a MINI’s racing soul.
Every MINI is equipped with the tools and the attitude to tackle the track, but we’ve got a few special tune-ups for the committed. John Cooper Works performance parts, rims and tires heighten all of your MINI’s senses – improving stability, reducing shock, tightening handling – giving you more control over the glorious machine at your disposal.shop john cooper works
For the 50-year anniversary of his victory in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally, 79-year-old racing legend Rauno Aaltonen didn’t just take a bow. He took the wheel of his classic Mini and relived the race, turn by razor-sharp turn.
Son of a mechanic, pioneer of the rear-mounted engine and founder of the Cooper Car Company, John Cooper had three Monte Carlo Rally titles and 16 Grand Prix wins to his name. That name lives on in the MINI John Cooper Works models. Ferocious, street-legal racecars bred for the track and rigorously tuned to the most exacting performance standards. Because just as it was a half-century ago, racing is in our blood.
In 1959, the first Classic Mini was introduced to Britain: an unassuming, inexpensive 4-person “saloon” that didn’t use up a lot of gas or take up much space. And though at first, some people didn’t quite know what to make of this quirky newcomer, other people began to get big ideas.
One of the gentlemen most intrigued by the Classic Mini’s racing potential was the legendary F1 car builder, John Cooper. Already famous for his unique, extremely successful rear-engine F1 designs, it was only natural that an auto company bold enough to defy convention by placing its engine differently (sideways) would impress him.
Cooper immediately recognized that the same features that made the Classic Mini such an innovative people mover – a transverse engine, four wheels pushed out to the corners and minimal size – also gave the car incredible balance, an extremely wide stance and amazing agility. Just the attributes needed to turn it into a small, but ferocious racer.
And so, in 1961, with a few tweaks to the engine, a set of slightly bigger brakes, and a new contrasting roof to make it stand out in the pack, the Classic Mini emerged from the Cooper Car Company garages as the Mini Cooper.
What happened next (much to the dismay of the competition) is that John Cooper’s grand hypothesis was proven correct. The Classic Mini Cooper and Cooper S went on to dominate the 1960’s race scene, winning almost every international competition imaginable, including historic wins at Monte Carlo in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967.* And a car for the ages was born.