Monthly Archives: January 2011

RSR Motorsports at the GRAND-AM 200

RSR Motorsports No. 195 MINI

The 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season began today with the GRAND-AM 200 at Daytona. RSR Motorsports qualified and started three MINIs. It was a perfect day for racing and the Library of Motoring was there. The Daytona International Speedway track was crowded with 78 cars in two classes: GS and ST. The best position for RSR Motorsports was their start in 4th by the No. 196 MINI driven by team newcomer Ron Farmer. Farmer and co-driver Jason Hart ran a consistent race near the front. The No. 198 MINI driven by Sarah Cattaneo and then Owen Trinkler seemed to struggle some in the early stages but steadily worked their way through the pack. Retiring after 24 laps was the No. 195 MINI of VJ Mirzayan and Chris Sarian. The ST class was won by the No. 171 Volkswagen GTI of APR Motorsport but RSR Motorsports had two top-ten finishers.

We spoke to Ron Farmer after the race. He comes to RSR Motorsports after several years of racing Corvettes and is adjusting to the front-wheel drive and short wheelbase of the MINI. The MINI doesn’t have the best aerodynamics and he said he could feel the effects of the draft at 148 mph on the straightway. His No. 196 MINI sustained some front bumper damage and lost some black trim pieces when he was clipped by a passing GS-class Porsche. Ron was very enthusiastic about the MINI’s performance and is looking forward to some of the tighter courses in the series. Thanks Ron for taking the time to chat with us.

Unofficial results for RSR motorsports:

6. 198 Cattaneo / Trinkler
7. 196 Farmer / Hart
33. 195 Mirzayan / Sarian

See the complete results.

GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Schedule 2011

GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
The first race of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is just one day away.  The teams have already completed the January Test Days in Daytona in preparation for the ten-race season.

RSR Motorsports MINI Cooper S racecars will compete in ST Class against the Acura TSX, BMW 128i, BMW 328i, BMW 330, Honda Civic Si, Kia Forte Koup, Mazda MX-5, Mazda RX-8, Mazdaspeed3, Mercedes C300, Porsche Boxster, and Volkswagen GTI.

During the 2011 season, you can follow the races live online using your mobile device:

Followers of both the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will be able to follow all racing, qualifying and practice sessions from anywhere in the world by using the GRAND-AM.COM Mobile Site.

Anyone able to connect to the internet using a mobile device can use this service, which can be accessed from the home page or by visiting

Information to be streamed will include drivers’ names, car numbers, class, position in class, last lap times and time behind the car ahead.

GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Schedule 2011

Date Race Location
1/28 GRAND-AM 200 Daytona International Speedway
3/5 Homestead 200 Homestead-Miami Speedway
4/9 Barber 200 Barber Motorsports Park
5/14 Bosch Engineering 200 at VIR Virginia International Raceway
5/28 Memorial Day Classic Lime Rock Park
6/3 Continental Tire 150 Watkins Glen International
6/24 Road America Road America
7/9 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
7/23 New Jersey Motorsports Park New Jersey Motorsports Park
9/18 EMCO Gears Classic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

See the entire 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Schedule on the GRAND-AM website.

MINI Clubman 50 Hampton Edition photos

MINI Clubman 50 Hampton Edition

Our German partner site bigblogg.motoring has exclusive photos of the forthcoming MINI Clubman 50 Hampton Edition.  The “50” this time refers to the 50th anniversary since the introduction of the Austin Countryman and Morris Mini Traveller.  The MINI Clubman 50 Hampton Edition will be available in current colors Eclipse Grey, Midnight Black, and Pepper White but also in a new color, Reef Blue Metallic, shown above.  Exterior details include mirror caps and bonnet stripes in a dark red called Damson Red, special side scuttles, MINI 50 grille badge, and wheel center caps on the 17″ Twin-Spoke Alloy wheels.

See more photos from bigblogg.motoring at Exklusiv: Der MINI Clubman 50 Hampton (English translated version).

RSR Motorsports starts season at Daytona

RSR Motorsports MINIs in the garage at Daytona 2010

RSR Motorsports MINIs in the garage at Daytona 2010

The GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season begins this Friday, January 28th, with the GRAND-AM 200 at the Daytona International Speedway.  MINI will once again be represented by RSR Motorsports fielding three MINI Cooper S racecars in the ST class.  The line-up for 2011 will be:

  • 195 – VJ Mirzayan and Chris Sarian
  • 196 – Ron Farmer and Jason Hart
  • 198 – Sarah Cattaneo and Owen Trinkler

The No. 195 and No. 196 MINI Cooper S cars have been completely rebuilt and the No. 198 MINI is new.

ORLANDO, Fla.—With more than twenty test days completed, RSR Motorsports is ready to see a green flag during this weekend’s GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The trio of MINI Cooper S race cars—sponsored by Cruise America, Thor Motor Coach and US LED—will take on the ST class in hopes of picking up right where they left off last year.

Sarah Cattaneo and Owen Trinkler, driving the new No. 198 RSR Motorsports MINI, are encouraged after Test Days at Daytona just a few weeks ago. “The new car ran really well and we’re just ready to go race,” says Trinkler. “Our goal is to leave Daytona with a top-five finish. Another top five at Homestead will set us up well heading into Barber.”

Read the article RSR Motorsports Ready for Daytona’s Challenge; Mirzayan and Sarian Team Up.

The Library of Motoring will be at Daytona with race results, photos, and comments from the team.

MINI Cooper vs. FIAT 500 Sport

2011 MINI Cooper

2012 Fiat 500 Sport

As the FIAT 500 arrives in the United States soon, some comparisons to the MINI Cooper have been made.  For our comparison, we chose the two models closest in performance: the MINI Cooper versus the FIAT 500 Sport.  FIAT does have a high-performance model, the FIAT 500 Abarth, but that version will not be coming to the US until 2012 or 2013.

Similarities between MINI and FIAT are plenty.  Both cars are modern updates to their classic versions which had long, relatively unchanged production runs.  The original MINI Cooper from 2001 and the current FIAT 500 were both designed by Frank Stephenson.  Both brands entered the US market with a single model.  And the “Car of the Year” award was won by both.

One interesting note: MINI has just over 100 dealerships in the US after nine years.  FIAT plans to open 130 dealerships at launch.

2011 MINI Cooper 2012 FIAT 500 Sport
Length 146.6″ (3,723 mm) 139.6″ (3,547 mm)
Width 66.3″ (1,683 mm) 64.1″ (1,627 mm)
Height 55.4″ (1,407 mm) 59.8″ (1,520 mm)
Wheelbase 97.1″ (2,466 mm) 90.6″ (2,300 mm)
Weight (Manual) 2,535 lb (1,150 kg) 2,350 lb (1,068 kg)
Weight (Automatic) 2,612 lb (1,190 kg) 2,430 lb (1,105 kg)
Drag Coefficient 0.33 0.35
Engine and Transmission
Type and Displacement Inline 4 Cylinder 1,598 cm³ Inline 4 cylinder 1,368 cm³
Power 121 hp (90 kw) @ 6,000 rpm 101 hp (75 kw) @ 6,900 rpm
Torque 114 lb-ft (160 N-m) @ 4,250 rpm 98 lb-ft (133 N-m) @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission 6-Speed Manual/6-Speed Auto 5-Speed Manual/6-Speed Auto
Front MacPherson MacPherson
Rear Multi-Link Twist-Beam Axle
Wheels and Tires
Wheels 15″ x 5.5 Aluminum Alloy 16″ x 6.5 Cast Aluminum
Tires 175/65-R15 All-Season 195/45-R16 All-Season
Price (MSRP) $19,400 (Excludes Destination) $17,500 (Excludes Destination)
Top Speed 126 mph (203 km/h) 100 mph (160 km/h)
Acceleration (0-62 mph) 9.1 seconds 10.5 seconds
CO2 Emissions 127 g/km 149 g/km

BSSP: MINI Countryman billboard

MINI Countryman billboard

Following up on the MINI Countryman snowglobe installation, MINI Countryman Family Pack installation, and MINI Countryman NYC stunt, MINI USA’s advertising agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners has created the first MINI Countryman billboard.

The new billboard is located in Chicago and features a True Blue and White MINI Countryman over the slogan “GOES WELL OVER ICE.”


MINI Countryman Bootgating collectibles

MINI Countryman Bootgating collectibles

Over the weekend many MINI dealerships held “Bootgating” parties for the official launch of the new MINI Countryman.  Of course, MINI USA produced appropriate items to give away at the parties.  Items included:

  • MINI BOOTGATING insulated lunchbag
  • MINI BOOTGATING can cooler
  • “GO 4 IT.” toy football from MINI Financial Services
  • MINI BOOTGATING stickers
  • MINI eye black stickers

Please leave a comment if you received anything not shown.

mobile MINI USA website launched

MINI USA mobile website homepage

MINI USA mobile website 2011 Models

MINI USA quietly launched a mobile version of its website recently.  For a long time, MINI USA’s Flash-based website did not work on mobile phones, so MINI USA addressed the problem with this new mobile-friendly site at

Under each model, you can view COLORS, GALLERY, TOP FEATURES, PERFORMANCE, PERFORMANCE SPECS, SAFETY, and FULL FEATURE LIST.  Although the mobile site doesn’t allow you to build a MINI, it will show you the selected model in your choice of body and roof color (with, oddly, no color names shown).  The GALLERY offers lots of videos for a mobile website.  Jump straight to the FULL FEATURE LIST for specifications, packages, and options with prices.

Current owners can log into MINI Financial Services to make payments, watch About Your MINI videos, and download MINI Apps.

At the bottom, the FIND A DEALER link takes you to a page where you can locate your nearest dealer(s) by ZIP Code or your current location.  The STAY IN THE LOOP page allows you to submit your email address to join the MINI email list.