A 130-HP Mini Cooper S Race Car Is a Four-Wheeled Laugh Machine

Chris Harris raced one at the Goodwood Member's Meeting and now I want one.

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Top GearYouTube

Well, I guess I'll be spending my weekend looking through the classifieds for an old Mini to turn into a race car. I blame Top Gear's Chris Harris, who drove a vintage Cooper S prepared by at Goodwood this year, and documented the experience on video. It looks like a hell of a good time, and yep, that means I'm going to need one of these sooner or later.

This gorgeous green Cooper S has a 1293cc four-cylinder fed by twin SU carbs to produce around 125 to 130 horsepower with a redline at 8500 rpm or so. That's nearly double the horsepower a Cooper S would've had new in the mid-1960s, and way more than enough to move around this car's 1370 pounds. Swift told Harris the engine is good for 10-12 racing hours before it needs a rebuild, which amazingly, is par for the course for a competition-ready BMC A-series engine.

Swift also fits these cars with a limited-slip differential and Koni shocks. They max out at 120 mph, but Swift says that at Goodwood, they average about 90 mph per lap. It's all about momentum.

Harris raced this Mini in the Betty Richmond Trophy at the Goodwood Member's Meeting, and he seemed to have a hell of a time. These cars yaw all over the place, and you only need to be on the brakes four times during a lap.

And if you've got a few extra minutes, you need to watch the highlight reel from the final race of the Betty Richmond Trophy. All motorsport should be this fun.

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