DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The word “challenging” was heard often in the RSR Motorsports camp as the MINI Cooper S team prepared for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Never ones to back down, the team rose to the challenge by earning sixth and seventh in the ST class of Friday’s GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race.
Carrying all-new graphics and sponsorship from Cruise America, Thor Motor Coach and US LED, the RSR Motorsports MINI Cooper S entries proved that small can still be mighty, even on the high banks of Daytona.
“Our cars were two seconds off the fastest ST car’s pace,” notes team owner Randall Smalley. “That’s a reflection of the high banks, and Daytona is the toughest track for us all season. Thanks to a great race strategy and flawless pit stops, we were competitive the whole race. I’m thrilled.”
Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo earned the sixth-place finish in the No. 198 RSR Motorsports MINI Cooper S. They were a formidable duo during last year’s season finale at Miller Motorsports Park, but even they were surprised with their finish.
“I didn’t expect to do so well; we had just been hoping for a top ten,” says Cattaneo. “We’re looking forward to Homestead in March. I had the pole there last year, so coupled with our sixth at Daytona, it’s a real confidence booster.”
“It felt good to finish,” enthused Trinkler, whose past four appearances at Daytona have ended in retirement. “We got valuable points and got what we needed to get this season started right.”
Trinkler also competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, co-driving the No. 63 Team Spencer Mazda RX-8 with Jim Downing, David Murry, Dennis Spencer and Rich Grupp. Despite some early setbacks, the team crossed the finish line 18th in the GT class.
Ron Farmer and Jason Hart made an impressive RSR Motorsports debut, finishing Friday’s 2.5-hour race with the seventh spot in ST. Farmer qualified the No. 196 RSR Motorsports US LED MINI Cooper S and drove the first stint.
“We certainly didn’t have the goal of a top-ten finish, being at Daytona in a MINI, and facing a lot of firsts. It was my first qualifying and our first race in the car,” says Farmer. “To qualify sixth and finish seventh felt great.”
“This gives us a big boost. We’re still rookies, and we know we still have a lot to learn, but this has raised our expectations,” says Hart. “Ron had an outstanding qualifying, using the draft to his advantage, and the crew had flawless pit stops during the race.”
After a solid start for Chris Sarian in the No. 195 RSR Motorsports MINI Cooper S, he and co-driver VJ Mirzayan had to retire with an alternator problem at the halfway point of the race.
Although the US won’t see the MINI Cooper SD family, diesel engine fans in other countries can look forward to this new model.
From BMW Group PressClub Global:
MINI Cooper SD: Impressive on the power, frugal at the pumps.
The new MINI Cooper SD slots into the range above the MINI One D with 66 kW/90 hp and MINI Cooper D developing 82 kW/112 hp as the most powerful diesel MINI. Its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel unit produces maximum output of 105 kW/143 hp at 4,000 rpm. A stand-out characteristic of the new diesel is its mighty pulling power, which remains on tap even under heavy loads; maximum torque of 305 Newton metres (225 lb-ft) is available between 1,750 and 2,700 rpm. Add this to the excellent balance between output and fuel consumption familiar from the other models in the MINI family plus extraordinary power development for a four-cylinder engine, and the MINI Cooper SD has all the tools the sporty driver could ever need.
In its basic construction, the new 2.0-litre diesel fits the same template as the 1.6-litre units fitted in the MINI One D and MINI Cooper D. Its all-aluminium crankcase helps to keep the weight of the engine as low as possible, while the turbocharger with variable intake geometry develops the right level of power at all engine speeds. The engine in the MINI Cooper SD has a model-specific and extremely powerful turbocharger controlled by the engine management system, while common-rail direct injection with solenoid-valve injectors positioned centrally in the cylinder head ensure that the fuel is fed in extremely precisely and efficiently. The injection system works with maximum pressure of 1,600 bar and ensures optimum mixture preparation in the combustion chamber.
The new MINI Cooper SD is also fitted as standard with an extensive range of MINIMALISM technology. In addition to the engine’s efficiency, features such as Brake Energy Regeneration, the Auto Start/Stop function, Shift Point Display, Electric Power Steering and the need-based operation of ancillary components help to produce outstanding fuel economy for this output class.
To ensure that its emissions are as clean as possible, the MINI Cooper SD is fitted with a diesel particulate filter and an oxidation catalytic converter. No extra injections of fuel are required to clean the particulate filter. And, as with all current MINI models, the new diesel variants meet the EU5 exhaust emissions standard. Comfort levels on the move, meanwhile, are aided by the four-cylinder engine’s low vibrations and harmonious acoustic properties; here, the particularly sonorous soundtrack of the MINI Cooper SD unit when pushing on through higher revs lifts it above its two diesel stablemates.
The 2.0-litre powerplant demonstrates its sporting credentials in the MINI Cooper SD with acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 215 km/h (134 mph). This outstanding level of efficiency is reflected in average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of 4.3 litres per 100 kilometres (65.7 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of 114 grams per kilometre. The new MINI Cooper SD Clubman reaches 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 8.6 seconds and also has a top speed of 215 km/h (134 mph). The average fuel economy of the MINI Cooper SD Clubman is 4.4 litres per 100 km (64.2 mpg imp), while CO2 emissions stand at 115 g/km. The MINI Cooper SD Convertible, meanwhile, highlights its sporting potential with a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 8.7 seconds and a maximum speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). Its extra dose of driving fun combines with average fuel consumption of 4.5 litres per 100 km (62.8 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of 118 g/km.
In the MINI Countryman this extra-sporty diesel engine teams up with either front-wheel drive or the all-wheel-drive system MINI ALL4. The MINI Cooper SD Countryman sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.3 seconds, the MINI Cooper SD Countryman ALL4 in 9.4 seconds, on the way to top speeds of 198 and 195 km/h (123/121 mph) respectively. The front-wheel-drive MINI Cooper SD Countryman has fuel economy of 4.6 litres per 100 km, the all-wheel-drive variant achieves 4.9 litres per 100 km. CO2 emissions are 122 and 130 grams per kilometre respectively.
The models fitted with the new diesel powerplant come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, whose ratios are tuned carefully to the engine’s performance characteristics to enable powerful and silky smooth acceleration. A ready-to-drive weight of 44.8 kilograms (98.7 lb) makes this the lightest gearbox of its kind. Added to which, it sets a new benchmark in the MINI segment with its short shift travel and impressively precise action. A six-speed automatic gearbox will also be available from launch as an option. Its exceptionally short shift times and direct “target gear” finding capability on downshifts also allow the automatic to enhance the sporting character of the MINI Cooper SD. The six-speed automatic will also be available for the MINI Cooper D, MINI Cooper D Clubman, MINI Cooper D Convertible and MINI Cooper D Countryman from spring 2011. In the interests of delivering the optimum combination of engine and gearbox, these models will also be powered by a 2.0-litre diesel unit. This variant matches the output and torque of the 1.6-litre engine in the model variants with manual gearbox.
The MINI Cooper SD also uses model-specific design features to show off its sporting credentials. The most powerful diesel model in the range stands out – like the flagship petrol model, the MINI Cooper S – with its extra-large air intake in the front apron and an air scoop on the bonnet. Like the MINI Cooper S, it also displays its model identity in its side indicator surrounds (in its case with “SD” lettering) and has twin tailpipes positioned in the centre of the rear apron. The MINI Cooper SD, MINI Cooper SD Clubman and MINI Cooper SD Countryman also come with an eye-catching roof spoiler.
Click on a model to see the complete official specifications: