Tag Archives : GRAND-AM


MINI returns to Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series

2015 MINI John Cooper Works HardtopAfter a few years’ absence from the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series (formerly GRAND-AM) when RSR Motorsports stopped racing MINIs, MINI USA announced that MINI is returning to compete once again in the Series’ ST class.

LAP Motorsports in partnership with MINI USA, will enter the forthcoming MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop later in the season.

From MINI USA NEWS:

Woodcliff Lake, NJ, January 12, 2015. The new 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop will make its World Premiere today at the North American International Auto Show, featuring the most powerful engine ever installed in a MINI production model. The latest high performance addition to the MINI line up will be priced at $30,600 plus $850 Destination & Handling in the U.S. and will go on sale in the spring.

 

The 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop will make its much-anticipated World Premiere with a grand introduction by none other than rally legend Rauno Aaltonen at MINI’s press conference in Hall D of the COBO Center, at 1:20 pm ET. Aaltonen will take the stage in a Classic Mini similar to the 1966 Mini Cooper S that he drove to victory in the famed Monte Carlo Rally in 1967.

 

With Aaltonen on hand and the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop in the spotlight, MINI proudly announced a new motorsports partnership with LAP Motorsports to compete in the Street Tuner (ST) class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The Indianapolis-based team owned and operated by racing veteran Luis Perocarpi will begin running the MINI John Cooper Works cars in the series later this year.

 

MINI’s long history of rally-car racing has always been reflected in the brand’s John Cooper Works performance series, and the newest Hardtop further extends that tradition. The latest edition in the premium line, the 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop offers the most powerful engine ever installed in the brand’s production models, delivering optimal performance to the premium small-car segment.

 

“This is undoubtedly an exciting time at MINI as we relaunch the John Cooper Works sub-brand as a true model in itself and with the most powerful engine we’ve ever had in a production model MINI,” said David Duncan, Vice President MINI of the Americas. “The new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop will be an important part of our business moving forward, offering customers a premium high performance vehicle in a small package.”

 

Specially tuned for high performance on the track and on the road, the first John Cooper Works model to be built on the shared front wheel drive global architecture with BMW Group will be powered by the latest generation MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology four-cylinder engine. The car also features a sports exhaust, refined suspension technology and model-specific design features which not only optimize the car’s aerodynamic features, but also guarantee a fun and efficient ride with an irresistible temperament.

Read the entire pres release MINI Brings Motorsports Heritage to Detroit for John Cooper Works Hardtop World Premiere.


R53 MINI Swansong 2012

MINI has had a great run the the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series (formerly the KONI Challenge series), first with Nuzzo Motorsports in 2003 and currently with RSR Motorsports.  Due to GRAND-AM rules, the first-generation MINI Cooper S (R53) will no longer be allowed to race after this season.  That means the R53 MINI has only two more races left.  RSR Motorsports has no plans to develop a second-generation MINI Cooper S (R56) or MINI Cooper S Coupe (R58).  Thus, MINI will exit the GRAND-AM series unless another MINI team steps up.

Now former British MINI Challenge champ Chris Knox wants to send the R53 MINI off with a bang.

CALLING all MINI businesses, dealers, owners and fans, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to carve yourself a slice of Motorsport and motoring history. You can be part of a party that will give you a host of stunning memories. You can give the iconic R53 MINI a Swansong. We want to get a British/American driver line-up in the little car with the big heart for its final two Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge races at Laguna Seca and Lime Rock. If we can raise the funding we need, these won’t just be races, they will be Motorsport EVENTS with thousands of fans, dealers and MINI owners enjoying the festivities. And it won’t cost you as much as you think.

You decide how much you want to donate. If we reach the target, we will get the car at Lime Rock and Laguna Seca and the party will begin.We don’t want to be negative, but if we don’t reach the target, everyone will get their money back?.but let?s not think about that. Let’s team up and get the party started!!
There are two final races in the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season:
Visit and Like the R53 MINI Swansong 2012 Facebook page and read the press release.
GRAND-AM sponsors banner

RSR Motorsports takes third at Indianapolis

RSR Motorsports No. 198 MINI

RSR Motorsports drivers Chris Puskar and Randy Smalley took third place at the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge race in the GRAND-AM Continental Challenge Series today.  The No. 198 MINI Cooper S reached the podium along with two BMWs.

The team also placed sixth in their No. 196 Honda Civic Si.  Unfortunately, the No. 195 MINI Cooper S did not start the race.

See the official results from the GRAND-AM website.

 


MINI finishes first and second at Mid-Ohio in B-Spec

Urban East Racing MINI Cooper No. 35
There was B-Spec racing at Mid-Ohio last weekend in the TOTAL Performance Showcase.

Robbie David just missed getting his second win in a row.  At the end, he was beaten by less than a half-second by the No. 35 MINI Cooper driven by Brian Audet.  A Mazda 2 finished third.

Read the race summary in PaddockTalk’s article Audet Recovers From Late-Race Mistake At Mid-Ohio.


RSR Motorsports and MINI of Charleston get wins

MINI of Charleston MINI Cooper No. 37

MINI teams were competing this weekend in two GRAND-AM series races with success at both levels.  The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the newly renamed TOTAL Performance Showcase took place in New Jersey.

RSR Motorsports got the win in the B+ HEROES 200.  The team has two MINI Cooper S and two Honda Civic Si racecars, and it was the No. 197 Honda that finished on top.

1. 197 – Fergus / Trinkler – Honda Civic Si
12. 196 – Farmer / Hart – Honda Civic Si
22. 198 – Gimple / Puskar – MINI Cooper S

See the official results from the GRAND-AM website.

In the TOTAL Performance Showcase New Jersey B-Spec race, Robbie Davis in the MINI of Charleston MINI Cooper No. 37 led the entire race and took the checkered flag.

1. 37 – Robbie Davis – MINI Cooper – MINI of Charleston
2. 35 – Brian Audet – MINI Cooper – Urban East Racing
4. 55 – Chip Howell – MINI Cooper – Pioneer Racing

Read the articles Davis Takes TOTAL Performance Showcase Win In New Jersey and Davis Leads Flag To Flag At New Jersey Motorsports Park, Wins TOTAL.


MINI takes 2nd place in initial GRAND-AM Sportsman Showcase

MINI Cooper No. 37

The initial GRAND-AM Sportsman Showcase race was held yesterday on a wet track at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  The B-Spec MINI Cooper comprised half the field along with Mazda 2 and Ford Fiesta racers.

Robbie Davis took 2nd place in his No. 37 MINI Cooper for the team from MINI of Charleston.  The 20-lap race was won by the No. 22 Mazda 2 driven by Ernie Francis.  The unofficial results are below:

Pos No. Name Total
Time
Diff Best
Time
In Lap Best
Speed
Car Team
1 22 Ernie Francis 45:57.043 2:05.805 14 63.241 Mazda 2 Breathless Performance
2 37 Robbie Davis 45:59.707 2.664 2:04.732 16 63.785 MINI Cooper MINI of Charleston
3 50 Todd Buras 46:02.400 5.357 2:06.563 13 62.862 Ford Fiesta Irish Mikes Racing
4 2 Dan Carney 46:09.603 12.560 2:06.322 19 62.982 Mazda 2 Berg Racing
5 55 Chip Howell 46:20.062 23.019 2:06.636 16 62.826 MINI Cooper Pioneer Racing
6 68 Bruce Hollander 46:38.819 41.776 2:06.150 16 63.068 MINI Cooper Fast Toys
7 51 Chip Van Vurst 47:20.160 1:23.117 2:07.509 13 62.396 Ford Fiesta Irish Mikes Racing
8 48 Ed Magner 5.232 20 Laps 0 MINI Cooper WTF Engineering

We hope to have race photos soon.  See the full Homestead-Miami Sportsman Series results.


Car and Driver B-Spec racers comparison tests

Spec-B MINI Cooper No. 37

In the May 2012 issue of Car and Driver (and on its website) is a thorough comparison test of the current field of B-Spec cars which will compete in the GRAND-AM Sportsman Showcase series.  The current field of B-Spec cars includes:

  • Honda Fit
  • Kia Rio 5
  • Mazdaspeed 2
  • MINI Cooper

The MINI Cooper in this test was built by Brad Davis at MINI of Charleston (South Carolina).  The 2012 GRAND-AM Sportsman Showcase series begins at the Homestead-Miami Speedway the weekend of April 28-29.  See the Sportsman Showcase (B-Spec) Schedule.

Read the Car and Driver article B-spec Racers: Honda Fit vs. Kia Rio 5, Mazda 2, Mini Cooper Hatchback.

 


RSR Motorsports at Daytona recap

GRAND-AM at Daytona 2012

Photo credit: Lori Griffin

The first race of the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season is in the books.  Yesterday, RSR Motorsports competed in the the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona with three MINIs and a Honda Civic Si.

The morning produced a misting rain as the final practice session took place.  But by race time at 1:30pm, the rain had stopped and the sun began to push through the clouds to dry out the track.  The drivers were given a few laps to check conditions before being placed on the grid.  All of the RSR Motorsports entries started well back in the field but almost immediately worked their way up the standings.  The first half of the race was mostly uneventful as the track dried, although there were many cars sliding through the start of the international horseshoe section of the Speedway.

Despite having power steering issues, the RSR Motorsports MINI No. 196 driven by Ron Farmer and then Jason Hart moved up as high as 11th.  The No. 198 MINI got involved in a jam and got spun and knocked out of the race with serious front-end damage (see photos).  Running a steady race were the No. 195 MINI driven by team owner Randy Smalley and Conway and the No. 197 Honda driven by Smalley and Owen Trinkler.  The team’s best finish was by the No. 196 in 16th place.  The ST class was won by the i-MOTO Mazdaspeed3 No. 31.

Final RSR results:

16. 196 Farmer / Hart               MINI Cooper S
18. 197 Puskar / Smalley / Trinkler Honda Civic Si
20. 195 Conway / Smalley            MINI Cooper S
35. 198 Fergus / Gimple             MINI Cooper S

See all of the official final results on the GRAND-AM website.

We spoke to Randy Smalley and Ron Farmer after the race.  RSR Motorsports always comes to Daytona with limited expectations due to the track characteristics which favor the higher-powered cars.  Smalley said he just hopes the MINIs perform well and finish well.  So despite having no cars in the top ten, he was pleased with the day.  He didn’t seems too concerned with the condition of the No. 198 MINI.  We asked if the addition of the Honda was an indication of things to come, but he bought the car as a last-minute fill-in to fulfill driver commitments.  They don’t expect to keep it long.  So expect to see the lineup change as the season continues.

Looking towards the future of MINI in GRAND-AM, we asked Smalley about their future plans with MINI.  He wasn’t sure what next year with hold due to both MINI USA’s commitment (or lack thereof) and GRAND-AM’s rules on older vehicle models and engines.  However, it appears private teams racing MINI Coopers could be competing in GRAND-AM’s new B-Spec series running a limited number of races this season.


[Photo credit: Lori Griffin]


RSR Motorsports begins the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season

GRAND-AM Continental Sports Car ChallengeThe 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season begins this week with the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona.  The first of ten races in the series begins on Friday at 1:30pm ET.  No live television coverage is available; most races will be shown on a delayed basis on SPEED.  However, you can follow the races on your mobile phone at m.grand-am.com and season-long on the GRAND-AM Road Racing Facebook page.

Again this year, MINI is represented by RSR Motorsports who will compete with three MINIs and a Honda.  Visit the RSR Motorsports website and North American Motoring forum.

Here is the RSR Motorsports lineup for Daytona:

195 RSR Motorsports Chris Puskar, Charlotte, N.C.
Randy Smalley, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Owen Trinkler, Nashville, Tenn.
MINI Cooper S Cruise America, Thor Motorcoach
196 RSR Motorsports Ron Farmer, Houston, Texas
Jason Hart, Flower Mound, Texas
MINI Cooper S USLED, Cruise America, Thor Motorcoach
197 RSR Motorsports Chris Puskar, Charlotte, N.C.
Randy Smalley, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Owen Trinkler, Nashville, Tenn.
Honda Civic Si Cruise America, Thor Motorcoach, USLED Carbotech
198 RSR Motorsports Corey Fergus, Powell, Ohio
Kyle Gimple, Minden, Nev.
MINI Cooper S Cruise America, Thor Motorcoach, Flying J

GRAND-AM Continental Sports Car Challenge 2012

Date Race Racetrack Location
1/27 BMW Performance 200 at Daytona Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach, FL
3/30 Barber Motorsports Park Barber Motorsports Park Birmingham, AL
4/27 Homestead-Miami Speedway Homestead-Miami Speedway Homestead, FL
5/11 New Jersey Motorsports Park New Jersey Motorsports Park Millville, NJ
6/8 Mid-Ohio Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, OH
6/22 Road America Road America Elkhart Lake, WI
6/29 Continental Tire 150 Watkins Glen International – Long Course Watkins Glen, NY
7/27 Super Weekend at The Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis, IN
9/7 Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Salinas, CA
9/28 Lime Rock Park Lime Rock Park Lakeville, CT

The Library of Motoring will be at the race and will bring you inside information and photos.  In the meantime, see our photos from Daytona from 2011.


RSR Motorsports adds a Honda to their three MINIs

RSR Motorsports MINI No. 195

RSR Motorsports has been representing MINI for many years in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Series.  So it was surprising to learn that the team run by Randy Smalley just added a Honda Civic Si to the lineup.

On Wednesday, RSR Motorsports will take delivery of their new Honda Civic SI, just two days before the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The Honda will join RSR’s three MINI Coopers in the ST class, carrying sponsorship from Cruise America, Thor Motor Coach and USLED.

Owen Trinkler will be making his 80th start in the series when Friday’s race gets underway. He’ll be driving the No. 197 RSR Motorsports Honda with Chris Puskar. Trinkler made his series debut in a Honda, and got his first series win in the marque, as well.

“The Honda will be a good car for Daytona,” Trinkler says. “It’s a bit of a change for the team, and we’ll implement some things we’ve done with the MINIs to see how well it translates. Our engineers have been looking at this car for a while, and it’s a perfect addition for us.”

Owen Trinkler’s former driving partner Sarah Cattaneo has moved on to the BMW 128i of Mitchum Motorsports.  But several other drivers are returning including Smalley, Trinkler, Puskar, Ron Farmer, and Jason Hart.  Farmer and Hart have had an entire season together in the MINI No. 196 and could be a surprise team in 2012.

Here is the RSR Motorsports lineup for Daytona:

195 RSR Motorsports Chris Puskar, Charlotte, N.C.
Randy Smalley, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Owen Trinkler, Nashville, Tenn.
MINI Cooper S Cruise America, Thor Motorcoach
196 RSR Motorsports Ron Farmer, Houston, Texas
Jason Hart, Flower Mound, Texas
MINI Cooper S USLED, Cruise America, Thor Motorcoach
197 RSR Motorsports Chris Puskar, Charlotte, N.C.
Randy Smalley, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Owen Trinkler, Nashville, Tenn.
Honda Civic Si Cruise America, Thor Motorcoach, USLED Carbotech
198 RSR Motorsports Corey Fergus, Powell, Ohio
Kyle Gimple, Minden, Nev.
MINI Cooper S Cruise America, Thor Motorcoach, Flying J

Read the entire press release RSR Motorsports Adds a Honda Civic to the Daytona Lineup.