DPR Racing - The BMW/DPR "SuperCooper"

From Theme to Reality

I bought my True Silver R-53 MINI for fuel economy. I didn’t want a cookie-cutter economy car but one with some pizzazz and some history. Since watching The Italian Job in the 1960’s, I’ve fantasized about owning one someday.


I noticed all the other MINI owners seemed to have personalized themes – checkerboard, a variety of striping, all chrome, or no chrome. I saw a picture in MC2 magazine of a European racing MINI and decided my theme would be to look like a serious race car. Once it was all striped and adorned with sponsor-like stickers, people kept asking, “Is this a real race car?”

Of course, I’d say, “No, it just looks like one; it’s actually never been on the track.” Finally, I decided to do a track day at Portland International Raceway (PIR), just so I could say, “Yes, I have raced.”


After feeling the adrenaline rush as my nimble MINI took the corners faster and faster with each lap, I was hooked! It wasn’t long before I upgraded my suspension to Bilsteins’ rear sway bar added a 15% pulley, cold air intake and a cat back performance exhaust. Now I was experiencing a new thrill – passing! Yes, the thrill of overtaking the other cars on the track is like nothing else. After six track days on three different tracks in one season, along with lots of club rallies, I knew there was only one thing to do when the racing season ended and the rain began: Build a better motor for next season. I started with a great deal on a Schrick cam on Craig’s List. Well, to get the most out of my new cam, I needed to get the head ported and polished for better flow. But where? I shopped around online, and then finally talked to Aaron at Out Motoring, where I got a lot of my early modifications. He hooked me up with Dan Paramore of DPR Racing in Southern California.

Before he started on the head work, Dan spent the time to find out what my goals were for my car and how I drove. He then advised me to add larger exhaust valves, high-performance valve springs, and a lot more porting work. The coup de grace was an unusual valve guide design that he had developed for Harley Davidson which went into my new head. Dan suggested that we also balance the crank and rods and install new, lightweight, forged racing pistons of his own design.


Once re-assembled, we had to put her on the Dyno machine to see how much HP we gained. The graphs pictured are before, done at MINI Thunder in February, and the after we just did here in Oregon City, Oregon. As you can see, we increased HP, which was just what Dan predicted. (we will supply these soon!)

Now, with light wheels and Hankook track tires, a roll bar and five-point harness, all I needed was some serious pro-racing school training before I get my racing license. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you updated about how this new season goes.

Written by, Owner, Driver, -Bill H.-


Remember, if you're in Portland, Oregon, on any given week day, and you see this coming up in your rear view mirror, and you feel like a race, you might go home hungry, 'cause this little mini is gonna eat your lunch!

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