Keep Racing Fun Part 3, Redline Time Attack Season Finale
By Mike Kojima
I really wanted to run the Redline Time Attack Season Finale at Autoclub Speedway. However a heavy schedule with the end of the Formula D season, SEMA and the Superlap Battle left me with little time to prep the Infamous Dog car for any sort of track use.
I jokingly made a post on Facebook about needing a sponsored ride for the event and to my surprise Dez Ballard of ABF Tech Division contacted me about driving one of their Mini Coopers for the event. ABF is a tuning company that specializes in Mini’s and other euro cars. Dez is best known for his crazy Unlimited FF class turbo monster mini that is the current class champion. ABF Tech Division also fields the Street Class Mini that Clint Boisdeau currently reigns undefeated in.
|Alright! The ABF Tech Division JCW Mini was a fast well prepped car. Too bad it didn’t get along with me. I really liked it when it wasn’t trying to protect me from myself.|
For the Autoclub event I was to drive ABF’s Enthusiast Class Mini normally driven by Michele Abbate. That Mini was a John Cooper Works model. I didn’t know much about Mini’s other than I thought of them as sort of cutesy girl’s cars that I would never drive or even consider owning. However I did a little research and found that while that may be true of the base Mini’s, the JCW models are pretty trick cars. At a turbocharged 208 hp, it makes almost twice the power of the 120 hp base Mini and 35 more than the pretty good Turbo Cooper S.
The JCW Mini also has some impressive features such as 17″ alloy wheels with big Brembo brakes, some electronic aids like DSC (Dynamic Stability Control, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) and EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control), a whole bunch of acronyms for the various electronic babysitters. ABF had prepped the car with a mild performance reflash and some performance brake pads but otherwise the car was stock.
Before heading out, I asked Dez if I had to look out for anything weird or if the car would overheat or go tilt under racing conditions like so many other stock cars. “Go ahead and beat the shit out of it”, he replied, “It’s a Mini, it’s super tough”. Well that impressed me. On my first session I turned the engine management switch to sport mode which allows more boost but left the entire array of electronic chassis nanny’s in place while I got a general idea of how the car handled.
|Looking at the other FF Enthusiast Class cars on the grid, I figured I had this no problem. WRONG!|