Text: Brent Co / Photos: MINI Press | posted June 23, 2013 01:46
Legendary small British performance car turns 50
MINI is set to hold a 50th anniversary event for the MINI Cooper S at Brands Hatch this weekend. The legendary victorious racer first introduced in spring of 1963, is celebrating its 50th birthday at Brands Hatch, a former F1 race track south east of London. The MINI Festival will attract thousands of classic Mini and modern MINI fans. Live music, vehicle shows and races featuring both current and historical vehicles will be part of the festivities.
The British MINI Challenge club sports series will be holding its 8th to 10th heats as well as numerous races for classic Mini and current MINI models will be the main events at the festival. Successful Mini Cooper S drivers include former F1 champion Niki Lauda, who won the first mountain races of his career in the British car. During the 1960s, the car sped from one victory to the next on the circuits of Europe. The Mini Cooper S earned its legendary status on gravel and ice, it has conquered the Monte Carlo Rally three times - in 1964, 1965 and 1967.
The car is a result of a perfectly matched collaboration between Mini creator Alec Issigonis and sports car designer John Cooper. From its debut in 1959, the Mini's compact dimensions, low weight, novel configuration of engine, gearbox and drive and progressive suspension technology were attributes that attracted John Cooper to create the Mini Cooper just two years after the revolutionary little car's original premiere - with its output now increased to 55 bhp. With the euphoric reaction to the power enhancement, Issigonis and Cooper got together to prepare for the next level: the Mini Cooper S was born another two years later.
The Mini Cooper S featured larger combustion chambers to give it a significant power boost. The bore was expanded to the maximum level possible, while maintaining stroke; achieving a 1071cc displacement just under the limit for the cubic class envisaged for racing. The little car now achieved peak power output of 70 bhp at 6,200 rpm. To match the increased potential, larger brake discs and a servo unit were installed.
The modern MINI Cooper S follows on where its legendary ancestor left off - both as the basis for the MINI Challenge racing car and as the epitome of extra driving fun on the road. The 4-cylinder turbo engine of the current MINI Cooper S achieves 184hp with a 1.6 liter engine. An engine recognized for the third time in succession at the International Engine of the Year Awards.
The MINI Festival at Brands Hatch will features all the generations to compete in a handicap race and find the sportiest MINI Cooper S from five decades. A display of current and historical racing and rally vehicles will include the Monte Carlo winner of 1964 and the MINI ALL4 Racing which Stéphane Peterhansel piloted to the Dakar Rally victory this year.