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Bill Hartners Mini

Bill Hartner's Story

(4 Jan 2013, Sherwood Oregon)

(excerpt) "I joined the PDX MINI club in the Portland area that same month. I attended my 1st back road twisty run the following weekend. It was awesome! I noticed that all the MINI's were a little unique, each with a theme of sorts. After the run, I knew I wanted to make mine a "Race Car" theme. I got it striped and numbered at PDX Wraps here in Sherwood OR, but over the next 3 months many people asked "Do you race this?" and I had to answer "No"...

For the rest of the story.. Bill Hartner's Story>


Take a classic Mini Cooper "S" 40 year anniversary special edition "MC40", and a couple of old guys, who call themselves "TEAM MC40", and dangle the Silver State Classic race under the nose of Pilo Engineering, DPR Racing's owner Dan Paramore,(who helped Dan Pilo build the "MEGA Mini", recently), drum up a big name sponsor, and See what it's all about

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What's "Mini Madness"? Watch 1 minute of the Mini Cooper Challenge, then you'll know!

Mini Cooper's on a road course...

Bill Hartner's Story

(4 Jan 2013, Sherwood Oregon)

Ok, I drive a 2005 MINI Cooper S. It's an "R53", which means (02-06) with the "S" package. It was completely stock when I bought it for $10,000 back in May of 2010. It had 70,000 miles on it, with plain-Jane silver (pure silver, BMW calls it) and a black top.

I joined the PDX MINI club in the Portland area that same month. I attended my 1st back road Twisty Run the following weekend. It was awesome! I noticed that each the MINI's were a little unique, and had a theme of sorts. After the run, I knew I wanted to make mine a "Race Car" theme. I got it striped and numbered at PDX Wraps here in Sherwood OR, but over the next 3 months many people asked "Do you race this?" and I had to answer "No".

I'd heard about track day at Portland International Raceway (PIR) in nearby Portland where you could learn to drive your daily-driver at speed on their track. I signed up and loved it! That was in August; I was 63 in October, and spent the fall and winter tricking out the suspension, adding a cold air intake, cat-back exhaust, and a 15% smaller supercharger pulley. Oh, and I also started changing every piece of gray trim or chrome to carbon fiber.

By Feb. 2011, I went to MINI Thunder II to see how it would stack up to dozens of other MINI'S. After training all morning with Bill, the oldest instructor there at 69, he certified me "SOLO" meaning I was able to drive the rest of the day with out an instructor. Bill had raced all his life and he pushed me hard, hammering "smooth equals fast" into my head. I memorized the lines and tried to do all that he taught me. That same afternoon, I passed every car on the track and by the end of the day I was lapping them all. I was hooked! I attended another Track day at PIR, then three times at ORP in Grass Valley, OR. These were "Hooked on Driving" events. Then one more day at PIR in Portland.

By then, Fall was upon us and it was too cold and rainy to be on the track, so I decided that since the odometer had turned over 100,000 miles, Winter would be a good time to upgrade the power-plant. I found a Shrick cam on Craig's List; six months and $19,000 later I had a fresh new motor, an AutoPower roll bar, Sparko racing seats, Bilstein coilovers.. and it was February!

Now 2012, I headed back to Thunder Hill race track to attend MINI Thunder III. I was itching to move up to intermediate level driving on that track. But first I had an appointment to have my computer tuned or remapped on the dyno. The MINI tuner guru said he was only able to take it from 170 hp to 208 hp because of all the head work and port-and-polish work to the intake that DPR did to it, and (finally) because the John Cooper Works big high pro injectors were too small and he didn't dare raise its rev limiter to access the rest of the hp potential or it would lean out at high RPMs and might blow. He didn't have the big 440' injectors with him, so he temporary stopped there. He said he'd tune it again in a month when I met him in Tacoma WA. He thinks we'll get it up to 240 to 250 hp.

I finally took the to the track after missing the three morning sessions. I could immediately feel the increased power, especially from 4000 to 7000 RPM. The level of aggressive driving was much higher in the intermediate group, and the average speed was up substantially from the novice level. I was faster, but so were they. I wasn't passing any cars, just staying with them, and since the rest of the drivers all had the three morning sessions under their belt, some even passed me! It took some laps to get acquainted with my new motor and the OS Gyken high-pro clutch and flywheel.

As soon as I got off the track, I came back around to the pre-grid to see if track worker in charge would let me make up my missed track time from the morning by alternating with the novice group. When I posed the question, he said, "yes you can alternate, but not with the novices, you'll go with the advanced drivers." I said "really?!", he replied "YES! Really!" I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a big black sinister looking Mustang parked behind me, a Corvette, a Lotus to my left and a Porsche to my right, along with other high performance cars; each with full roll cages, track tires and powerful sounding three, four, and five liter engines! I was at the head of the advanced run group line in my 1.6 liter MINI! When we hit the track I wound it up to redline through third gear, chirping the tires on each shift. I knew they would catch me soon, but I was determined to beat them through the 1st turn. I made it through three (!) before they caught up and started passing me. By then I was driving WAY faster than I had ever driven on a track in my life! I kept thinking, "follow their line, they aren't flying off the track so I won't either." I did four wheel drifts around every curve and corner; it was awesome! When I came back around to pre-grid, the intermediate drivers were just lining up. I pulled into line my veins still coursing with adrenaline from hanging with the big boys. This time however, I passed several cars per lap, and by the end Bully and I had passed all the cars in my new group but two! I know I improved a whole season in that one experience.

Of course, last year I didn't have my new "Super Cooper" head from DPR Racing, but it might have taken a year to find out what it could really do if I hadn't been pushed so hard so soon. With my confidence high and my ported and polished supercharger pushing the screaming little engine to 7,500 RPMs, I made it to every track day available in Oregon and Washington.

I found the "Hooked on Driving" track day program to be my favorite; very safety minded and offering great training. It was a very rainy spring and early summer in the Pacific NW in 2012. The water drenched tracks turned out to be Bully's favorite places to play. Since my Cooper is front-wheel drive, and combined with my new Quafe LSD (limited slip differential) and Toyo 888 tires, Bully was able to turn lap times in the rain nearly as fast as dry track times! When the bigger HP cars were hydroplaning and cautiously early-breaking, Bully was able to maintain speed and control while streaking by them at near top speed, actually lapping several powerful cars that on a dry track might have lapped us. The rest of the season we spent between Portland and a wonderful new track in Shelton WA called "The Ridge"; a challenging yet very comfortable and fun track. After five more events at the Ridge, two at PIR, and one at ORP in Grass Valley OR, I was advanced to run group "C", and am now a member of the HOD staff. I help run the pre-grid and black flag area. What a season!

Bill Hartner, Sherwood Oregon.

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The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of America’s Mountain; Pikes Peak! As the drivers climb toward the summit, the thin air slows reflexes and saps muscle strength. The thin air also robs engines of 30% of their power at the summit. Competitors and vehicles must be in top shape simply to finish...let alone win!

The current record is 09:46.164 and was set by Rhys Millen in 2012.

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