Homestead Track Weekend 2008 Recap

WOW! That is almost all I can say about this past weekend. I had sooooo much fun out there, which is quite a switch from last year’s Homestead event. While I still had fun last year, the frustration level was pretty high due to the fact that in 2007’s event, it was my first time going out there solo. Passing higher horsepower in student classes is one thing, trying to pass higher horsepower in the solo group when the other cars running with you are being driven by instructors, well, that is another story. The point-by’s just don’t come as easy since the cars, not only have more power, but they are being driven by people who know how to use it!

This weekend was all about taking my driving to the next level for me. Applying some skills I touched on at Daytona (and some skills I observed while watching Randy Pobst toss my MINI around the track), I was able to shave 6 seconds off my lap times from last year!! In 2006, which was the first time I had ever been on the Homestead track, I was running 1:59 lap times. In 2007, that number decreased to 1:56. This weekend, I was clicking off 1:50 laps!! Granted, I was running shaved Toyo RA1’s and Hawk HT-10 race pads this time around, but a lot had to do with some new skills I was trying to master, specifically trail braking and modulating the throttle through the turns to make the back end come around just enough to point you in the right direction so you can stomp on the gas and go. What a rush! Needless to say, the point-by’s are starting to be received again, rather than given. Don’t get me wrong, there are still cars running out there that will kick our little MINIs arse out there, but it does feel good to not be the slowest thing out there.

Homestead-Miami Speedway Track Weekend

I want to give a huge thanks to my “track junkie crew” – Jamie and Greg – you guys ROCK! To our newest track junkie, Daniel – hope to see you at many more events dude! To Minis of Miami – AWESOME show of support gang – thank you so much for coming out and cheering us on! To our resident MINI instructor, Bill, glad you came to hang with us out there – it sure was fun battling an instructor who drives a MINI! And to Jeff and Phyllis – even though you brought the Porsche instead of the MINI – we’ll still let you hang with us (by the way – thanks for taking the photos! I’ll be posting them soon). Thanks to the entire PBOC/PCA staff for putting on a safe weekend. And last, but not least, a HUGE thanks to Pete over at Minspeed for keeping Team Minspeed flying!

Homestead Track Weekend 2008 Preview

Phew! What a week! I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, running around trying to get stuff done lately. Just glad it is finally pretty much over and I can now relax and head down for a weekend full of fun at the Homestead-Miami Speedway! I like to think of this as the MTTS 2008 preview party! I will be joining the usual suspects down at the track event being put on by PBOC and PCA. I can’t wait to give my new brake pads a run (I have moved up to the Hawk HT-10 compound for some added grip without a BBK). I also recently swapped out my spark plugs for some JCW plugs, thanks to Pete over at Minspeed for offering these to the MINI community for $49 per set. The dealer charges upwards of $55 for ONE plug!!! I’ll let you know how things go when I get back! Enjoy your weekend!

Homestead-Miami Speedway

JCW MINI Challenge Car To Compete @ Daytona!

Most of you will remember the Daytona track weekend I participated in back in December. Well the time has come to register for the next track weekend at the Mecca of Motorsports, Daytona International Speedway! On October 31st, I will be heading up with the rest of my track buddies to tackle the high banks of Daytona for 3 days with PBoC of Florida. During the weekend, there will be a few actual races, in addition to HPDE lapping sessions. Our friends over at Redline Performance (Pompano Beach, FL) have shared the exciting news that one of the competitors will be running a JCW MINI Challenge car during the weekend!

MINIs at Daytona

So what are you waiting for??? Here is your chance to not only drive at over 135mph on the banks of Daytona, but actually get to watch one of the first US races featuring a JCW MINI Challenge racer! Sign up today because slots are filling up FAST! HPDE run groups will be limited to Advanced and Intermediate run groups (sorry, no novices). Solo run groups and Super Solo run groups will also be running during the weekend. Check out PBoC‘s website for more information! See you on the track!

[ PBoC of Florida ]

MTTS 2008: Registration Open

MINI USA has opened up registration for MINI Takes The States 2008. Here’s what is posted on the registration site so far:

– Children under 12 are free and do not require registration.
– All net proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to charity through MINI Motoring Hearts.
– Event registration is $20 per weekend ($80 for all 4 events).
– MINI Owners can register for Friday “Owners Only” Meet and Greet and Rise and Shine Saturday Rally Drive.
– “Future” MINI Owners can only register for the “festival weekend”.

So what are you waiting for????? Get REGISTERED!!!

UPDATE: Looks like has finally put up some information on this as well. You can get some more info here.

Update: BC Racing Coilovers

Now that I have been running my BC Racing coilovers for almost a year, I decided to post up a quick update. With three track weekends at three different tracks (Homestead, Sebring and Daytona) under my belt with these coilovers, I can honestly say that I have achieved my goal in finding the perfect compromise between a track and street car. On the track, the BC’s have held up unbelievably. The car feels PLANTED in turns and the built-in camber plates allow for needed camber adjustment (which I have left alone since my one and only alignment last year).

MotoringFun Suspension Review

On the street, the car is VERY drivable. I feel the springs have softened up a tad over the past year. This has resulted in a slightly lower ride height. Performance, however, seems to be unaffected. In case you missed it, I had the privilege of having pro-racer Randy Pobst take my car out for a 3 lap session at Daytona International Speedway in December to give me his honest opinion on the car’s setup. Randy thought the car had a very good balance between track and street setups. It was cool to have a pro shake out my car and give me some feedback. The only thing he suggested was more brake – which I am in the process of doing (stay tuned for that write-up on my quest for more stopping power).

After thouroughly putting the BC’s through their paces, I still highly recommend them for anyone interested in improving their MINIs suspension performance. They will TRULY transform your ride into a serious handling machine. Pete @ currently has the BC’s in stock and I encourage you, if you are in the market for coilovers, to give him a call or e-mail and order a set. At $1100 for a set of 4 coilovers and camber plates – you can’t go wrong!

[ BC Racing Coilovers @ Minspeed ]

MTTS 2008 Update: Miami Details

Well it looks like the final planning for the MTTS 2008 kickoff in Miami is almost complete. I can confirm that the Loews hotel that I posted about earlier will definitely play host to the party on Friday. In addition to a meet at the hotel Friday, a beach party is planned for that night. On Saturday morning, a rally will take place at Bayside Park. Saturday afternoon and Sunday will be filled with track activities and partying at the Homestead-Miami Speedway!! On Monday, a caravan will depart Miami and head up to DAYTONA BEACH!!!! Hmmm – what could they be doing in DAYTONA!?!?!? After the Daytona stop, the caravan will head up to Jacksonville for the night and some more partying.

MTTS 2008

Also, this just came in today from MINI USA:

Good Morning,
Details regarding MINI Takes the States in Miami are being finalized and the information will be released as soon as everything is finalized. One exciting announcement is that Rauno Aaltonen will be at the event in Miami and will be driving up the coast from Miami to Boston. Please share this awesome information with your local MINI clubs, enthusiasts, etc. Also known as the Flying Finn, Mr. Aaltonen will be the celebrity guest at MTTS.
Carol Strickland
MINI Area Manager
Southern Region
MINI USA, a division of BMW of North America, LLC

For those who don’t know who Rauno Aaltonen is, here is a blurb from Wikipedia:

Rauno Aaltonen (born January 7, 1938) is a Finnish former professional rally driver who competed in the World Rally Championship throughout the 1970s. Before WRC was established Aaltonen competed in the European Rally Championship. He won the championship in 1965. He also won the Finnish Rally Championship in 1961 and 1965. In 1966 he partnered Bob Holden in Australia to win the premier touring car race, the Gallaher 500, in a Mini Cooper S at Mount Panorama in New South Wales.

Auto Express: The MINI Crossman

Auto Express has an interesting article on the upcoming 4×4 MINI “Crossman”. If anything, you should check it out just for the photoshopped image of the vehicle. I will say that 4 doors on a MINI are very appealing to me if I am ever to convince my wife of ditching the “mini”-van. While it may never be the off-road vehicle that some thought, it should still be a hoot to drive:

The dashboard and all other interior detailing will be carried over from the Clubman. But the question on the lips of all MINI fans is: will the latest MINI be a proper off-roader, like the Land Rover Freelander?

Not really. The SUV will be biased towards on-road use, and wonít sacrifice the agile, driver-pleasing hand-ling for which MINI has become famous. Nevertheless, there will be a full-time four-wheel-drive system, said to have been developed by transmission expert Getrag. Add in the raised ride height, and the car will be reasonably capable over rough terrain ñ easily rugged enough for most buyers.

[ Full article @ Auto Express ]

Mickey & MINI 4 – Sept. 26-28, 2008

Mark your calendars and call your boss for time off… Mickey and MINI 4 will be coming your way once again this September 26-28, 2008 in Orlando, Florida. Join Miniacs from all over the country as they all converge for a fun-filled weekend of food, fun and MINIs/Minis!

Mickey & MINI 4

Detailed event information and hotel reservations will be coming shortly. Make sure you keep an eye on for up-to-date details!