Daytona 2008: Day 1

The first day on the track is over and all of the MINIs finished the day without incident. We had four full sessions on the track today and boy was it a blast to be running around the high banks of Daytona again. We were on the track with various cars ranging from Ford GT’s to Ferrari 430’s. Silly me forgot to bring my flash card reader so I can’t post any photos from my camera until I get home. For now, all I have is this photo from the drivers’ meeting where we were told the rules of the weekend.

Daytona 2008 Track Weekend

Tomorrow we will be on the track at 10:50am, 2:20pm and 4:35pm so if you are in the area, stop by and say hi!

Daytona Check-In

Today I arrived at Daytona International Speedway for driver registration and garage check-in. The Nitto NT-01’s are now on the car and all the prep work has been completed (harness, brake pad swap, camera mount, etc, etc). The weather here in Daytona is just amazing. Temperatures are in the 60’s and the skies are clear. I hope it stays like this the rest of the weekend. If you are in the Daytona area, come on out and say hi. The MINIs will be in the blue garages in stall #60. Hope to see you there!!

Preview: Daytona Track Weekend 2008

If you recall, last year I was able to make a dream come true by taking part in the first ever High Performance Drivers Experience at Daytona International Speedway. Well, this weekend, I will have the privilege to once again tackle the 30 degree banking @ 140mph at the Mecca of Motorsports with a few others of my track junkie brethren. I leave Thursday to get to the track for registration and get settled into my garage stall (yes we actually get assigned garage stalls this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garages). It should be an absolute blast. Until I get video up from this year’s event, here is my video from last year to check out:

All-Electric MINI E Coming To LA Auto Show

Here is the official press release from MINI USA describing the all-electric MINI E that will be hitting out shores in a few weeks. I like the concept. Gives new meaning to “Plug ‘N Play” :).

All-Electric MINI E

BMW Group will present the new, electrically-powered MINI E to the global media for the first time at the Los Angeles Auto Show on 19/20 November 2008. 500 MINI E vehicles will then be shipped to the US states of California, New York and New Jersey for testing with private and corporate customers.

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Video: ALTA Tensioner Stop

One thing that can ruin a track weekend is a broken belt, resulting in your tensioner slamming down on your crank pulley, etc. For this very reason, I have been testing out various tensioner stops that will keep the tensioner from slamming down if the belt were to break. I am currently running the Detroit Tuned tensioner stop, but not sure how long it will stay on due to reports from the MINIs in the Grand Am series having the stop snap upon belt failure (not a good thing). ALTA’s latest tensioner stop looks to be a promising solution (see video below).


My concern with these devices is how bad they rattle or vibrate at wide open throttle. I have had a stop make so much noise in the past that I just had to take it off due to the harmonic resonance. I will see if we can get a unit from ALTA to test with and report back.

[ ALTA Tensioner Stop ]

Debut: MINI Aldridge Special

Here is an interesting MINI press release. Got to love that paint job. Guess Alan did not care for the unfinished paint job of the HyperSport Aerokit and took it to an extreme 😉 (I kid… I kid).

A unique MINI featuring a visually stunning exterior designed by legendary artist, illustrator and graphic designer Alan Aldridge, is now on show at the Design Museum in London. The MINI Aldridge Special is an exhibit in a retrospective display of AlanĂ­s work, entitled Ă«The Man with Kaleidoscope EyesĂ­.

MINI Aldridge Special

Alan Aldridge is known primarily for his creative work throughout the 1960s and 70s. Dubbed Ă«The Graphic EntertainerĂ­, Aldridge illustrated lyric books for the Beatles, album covers for The Rolling Stones, The Who and Elton John, was Art Director for Penguin Books and illustrated much-loved childrenĂ­s books such as Ă«The Butterfly BallĂ­.

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Recall: 2009 JCW Brake Issue

Apparently there is a safety recall involving the 2009 JCW MINIs, including the JCW Clubman regarding the front brakes. Apparently brake performance may be degraded under certain conditions (and I don’t think they mean track weekend brake fade ;)). If you have one of these cars, get it checked out ASAP. Here is a copy of the actual recall:

JCW Brake Recall

Make / Models : MINI / JCW & MINI / JCW CLUBMAN

Model/Build Years: 2009

NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 08V507000

Component:
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:FOUNDATION COMPONENTS:DISC

Potential Number Of Units Affected : 560

Summary:
BMW IS RECALLING 560 MY 2009 JCW (JOHN COOPER WORKS) AND JCW CLUBMAN VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH 16 INCH DIAMETER FRONT BRAKE DISCS RATHER THAN 17 INCH DISCS. UNDER CONDITIONS OF INTENSE BRAKE USAGE, BRAKING PERFORMANCE WOULD BE REDUCED.

Consequence:
DEPENDING ON TRAFFIC AND ROAD CONDITIONS, AS WELL AS A DRIVER’S REACTIONS, REDUCED BRAKE PERFORMANCE COULD INCREASE THE RISK OF A CRASH.

Remedy:
DEALERS WILL INSPECT THE FRONT BRAKE DISCS AND PADS AND, IF NECESSARY, REPLACE THEM. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING OCTOBER 2008. OWNERS MAY CONTACT BMW/MINI AT 1-866-275-6464 OR BY E-MAIL AT MINI.ASSISTANCE@ASKMINIUSA.COM..

Notes:
CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION’S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

[ Recall Document Download ]

Mickey & MINI 4 Recap

I finally had a chance to post up photos from last weekend’s Mickey & MINI 4 event. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had my exposure setting on my camera all messed up so if some of the photos are a little light, that is why (sorry about that). I also included a weekend recap below to let you know what we did and hoping that you realize that, if you didn’t go this year, you just HAVE to go next year :). Enjoy!

Mickey and MINI 4

Even though Mickey and MINI 4 officially kicked off on Friday the 26th, there were quite a few of us that arrived a day early to beat the rush and get things ready for the MINIac invasion that was to come. A nice group of us went to dinner Thursday night at Trail’s End restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. The food was good and the conversation was even better. Disney fireworks topped the night off in splendid fashion.

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