Sebring In The Rain

No, it was not the latest musical on Broadway. It was the wettest track weekend I had ever been to. Out of six sessions that were scheduled in my solo run group, four were either in the rain or took place just after a rain storm, one was completely washed out and cancelled due to track flooding and one was held during somewhat dry conditions for about 15 minutes. Needless to say – from a driving standpoint – it sucked. I did get to test out my shaved Toyo RA1s for a little bit and wow did they stick (even had some grip in the wet believe it or not).

Sebring In The Rain

Joining Team Minspeed for the first time were three ladies that put the other cars in the Novice run group on notice! Now the Novice group did have a better time on the track than those of us in solo and was able to fit in about three sessions in reasonably dry conditions and two in the wet. So all in all, they got to stretch their MINIs a bit and pass some higher horsepower cars.

I am still sifting through video from the weekend and will have to find some time this week to post them. With as little track time as we got, it will be tough to get some decent footage but I will do my best. One thing that proved entertaining this past weekend was a calendar shoot for a local tire company featuring a few of our MINIs (and some models). Stay tuned for more!

[ Sebring Track Weekend Photo Gallery ]

ALTA Plug-n-Play ECU

Our good friends over at ALTA MINI Performance have made a very exciting announcement with regards to their new ECU product. Check out the full press release below:

ALTA Performance is pleased to officially announce the relationship and partnership with UNICHIP of North America! The contracts are finally signed, the vehicle prepped for the SEMA release, dyno results completed, packaging approved, and final approval from UNICHIP North America to make this announcement.

The ALTA Plug-n-Play ECU is a simple half hour installation that is completely reversible at anytime you choose. There are no wires to cut, or sensors to mount. Simply follow the included directions and within minutes you can have LOTS more power.

Essentially, the ALTA Plug-n-Play ECU is a separate computer all its own. It takes signals from both the engine sensors as well as the existing ECU and modifies them to establish changes in ignition timing, boost levels, etc. What ALTA brings is extensive dyno testing and tuning of the mapping to make this power. We offer programming that is specific to the level of performance you desire as well as with the other ALTA components you have added or will add to your vehicle. Thus if you have a bone stock R56 or one that has the entire ALTA catalog added to it already, and you wish to add the ALTA Plug-n-Play ECU you can do so immediately and see significant gains in power. The beauty of this is, that if you change things along the way you can get an updated map from ALTA to match that for a nominal fee, and no downtime. For example if you have a map for a stock R56 with ALTA Cat-Back Exhaust, then add an ALTA Intake you can then call us and request to update your ALTA Plug-N-Play ECU! The possibilities are endless.

Continue reading ALTA Plug-n-Play ECU

La Carrera Panamericana 2007 Kicks Off

If you paid attention during the Mickey and MINI recap, you know about Team Pedro & Jose who are taking their Classic Mini down to Mexico to run in the La Carrera Panamericana (an international car rally held in Mexico covering 2000 miles in 7 days). The MINI community has show their support through donations as well as blood, sweat and tears to make this a possibility for the two-man team from South Florida. Well the race kicked off yesterday and we hope to have updates coming soon! Since I will be with the rest of “Team Minspeed” at Sebring this weekend, I encourage you to check out the team’s blog at the link below as I probably will not be able to post updates for the next few days! Here’s to Team Pedro & Jose!!!

La Carrera Panamericana

[ Team Pedro & Jose Blog ]
[ La Carrera Panamericana ]

Where To Rent A MINI Cooper

I stumbled on this site today and I thought it was pretty cool. Ever want to go to a MINI event outside your local area but didn’t want to show up without a MINI? Well now you can easily find rental companies that stock MINIs. Now keep in mind that the site is new and content is being added – so if your target destination is not listed, be patient or send them a note.

[ MINI Cooper Rental Portal ]

Mini Desktop Racing for the Nintendo Wii

Here is yet another Mini-related video game being released. Now this game has been out for quite some time for the PC, but it is now finally being released for the Nintendo Wii. I have played this game on the PC before and it is important to note that this game is completely different than the other game we talked about a few days ago, Race 07. Instead of being a racing simulator, this is more of an arcade game that allows you to race Classic Minis around your desk. Honestly, this game gives me a headache every time I play it. Not sure what it is, but I just feel a bit woozy after trying to keep my Mini on track. The concept is “cute”, but I think I may spend my game time sharpening my skills on Race 07’s MINI Cooper Challenge (which by the way, should arrive at my office tomorrow!). Check out this video clip of Mini Desktop Racing for an idea of what it is like:

[ Full Review of Mini Desktop Racing for the Nintendo Wii ]

Franklin Mint 1967 Morris Mini Cooper

Franklin Nichols from Slot Car News posted up a cool review of the limited edition Franklin Mint diecast of a 1967 Morris Mini Cooper.

Morris Mini Cooper Franklin Mint Diecast

…this die-cast represents a factory-production Morris Mini for the home market, done up in British Racing Green with offsetting cream roof and wheels. The twin fender mirrors and extra chrome are Cooper-correct. In keeping with Franklin Mint practice, the model’s hood, doors, and deck lid all open, revealing solid interior detail and an excellent representation of the 1,275 cc Mini-Cooper engine…

Morris Mini Cooper Franklin Mint Diecast

…Franklin Mint is known for their fine attention to detail under the bonnet this car is no different. The motor is wired and in high detail. The interior is also of fine quality, although the instrument cluster is a little hard to read with the warning lights almost illegible…
Morris Mini Cooper Franklin Mint Diecast

For the full review, including more photos, make sure you check out the link below!

[ Full review @ Slot Car News ]