Racing An 130 HP Classic Mini At Goodwood Is Great Fun

If you have a thing for old Minis, then you already know just how much of a giant-killing machine these tiny city cars could become once they were converted to race cars.

Top Gear host Chris Harris had the chance to participate in the classic race held during the last Goodwood Members’ Meeting and remind himself of how fun the original Mini is, as well as getting introduced to some pretty wild competition.

60 vintage Minis gathered in Goodwood in celebration of the model’s 60th anniversary, with the cars getting the full race-car treatment: the 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine is tuned to produce around 130hp and rev over 8,000rpm, having to move just 1,360lbs (620kg).

Of course there’s the obligatory roll cage, a limited-slip differential, a racing suspension and stronger, modern (but still tiny) brakes. The name of the game here is “maintain the momentum”, with the Minis averaging an unbelievable 90 mph (150 km/h) around the track.

That’s because it’s a fairly fast track, so with a car like that you can mostly go flat out, though you have to take advantage of the Mini’s appetite for oversteer in order to achieve the momentum required for a good finish. Where more powerful cars have to brake, the Minis go through with just a lift off the throttle and a gentle four-wheel slide that looks just perfect every time.


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