Video: Sebring Track Weekend 2016

This past weekend was the first time running the full course at Sebring since I last drove it in 2008 in my 2006 R53 MINI Cooper S, Scooter.  Last year I was lucky enough to take the Ford Shelby  GT350 R out for a spin at Sebring, but it was the club course and not the full 3.7 miles.  All I can say is WOW!!  I wasn’t sure how well the F56 MINI would perform on the track compared to the R53, but I was quickly impressed by not only the power, but the amazing handling I was able to get out of the MINI Dynamic Damper suspension coupled with the NM Engineering lowering springs, control arms and sway bar.img_6159Overall, the car felt amazing around the track.  Plenty of torque allowed me to power out of turns in 3rd gear without having to drop to 2nd.  One the straights, the 2.0L engine provided plenty of power to not let the higher horsepower V8s get too far ahead ;).img_6125Body roll was almost non-existent, which made for a very stable and comfortable feeling whipping through the twisties.  I had forgotten how much I love being out on track and am very happy to have had this chance to get back out there and surprise some Corvette owners again lol.

Photo Credit: PhotosByJuha.com

Sunshine MINIs Sebring Track Weekend 2016

Last weekend was one of the most epic track weekends I have ever been a part of.  Not only did a great group of MINI owners get together for a fun weekend on one of the oldest continuously operating race tracks in the United States, but two generations of MINI race teams also joined us to be a part of the fun!!snapseedRandy Smalley brought the R53 RSR MINI Race Team MINIs out for some friendly competition against Luis Perocarpi and the current generation F56 LAP Motorsports MINI John Cooper Works Racing Team MINIs!!  For the first time ever, we got to witness these two IMSA/Grand Am race MINIs compete on the same track, at the same time!!  It was magical to hear the whine of the R53 superchargers out on the track again, even though the turbos from the F56 provided much more power!img_1955Tonine McGarvie from MINI USA was also in attendance coordinating hot laps for those that wanted to see what a lap around Sebring felt like when driven by Luis!  Even though I was driving all weekend on the track, I still signed up for a ride with Luis and… holy cow was it awesome!!img_2071This was the first experience EVER on the track for most of the MINI owners that participated and I am proud to say they represented the MINI community well and made a few high power V8 owners take notice!!  img_1908

Here are some shots from the weekend (Thanks to Matthew Toombs for the photos):img_0816img_1171img_1057img_1065img_1071img_1064img_1181img_0874img_0763img_1916-1img_2010img_2020Huge thanks to Jim VanderVliet from NASA for putting on a great track weekend.  Also huge thanks to Luis Perocarpi and Randy Smalley for bringing out their race MINIs and joining us for a great time on the track!!  Hopefully we can do this again!