If you haven't heard about B-Spec racing yet, you will. Every major racing sanctioning body in the U.S. — SCCA, Grand Am, NASA and World Challenge — will host B-Spec races in 2012. Honda, Mazda, Kia and Fiat are already in. And now, so is Mini.
What's this about? B-Spec is a production-based prep class for subcompact cars. Basically, they're stock B cars, gutted and caged, with similar power and weight and total cost capped at $25,000 (imagine Lemons for new cars).
Mini USA announced today that Hendrick Automotive Group's Mini of Charleston dealership will build and sell turnkey Mini racecars for B-Spec competition. (They'll also offer conversion kits for 2007-2012 cars.)
Other cars already signed on to race B-Spec include the Mazda2, Honda Fit, Kia Rio and Fiat 500. Inexpensive, lightly modified subcompact cars doing serious battle — with a low barrier to entry and cash payouts for podium finishes? This could get interesting.
2012 MINI Cooper Hardtop B-Spec Racer
Horsepower: 121 @ 6,000
Torque: 114 lb-ft @ 4,250
Steering: Electric power-assisted rack and pinion, 14.1:1 ratio
Weight: 2,535 pounds, 60.4%/39.6% F/R
Length / Wheelbase / Height: 146.6"/ 97.1" / 55.4"
Suspension: KW V1 Coilover Struts and Shocks/ Vorshlag front camber plates
Brakes: Standard MINI Brake system with Carbotech Brake Pads and Way Motorworks Stainless Steel Braided hoses.
Safety Equipment: Kirk Racing Roll Cage with Kirkey Intermediate Road Racing Seat and Schroth Hybrid III Harnesses, Cage Nets and Window Net.
Wheels / Tires: 15 x 7 Kosei K1 aluminum alloy / Hoosier SM6 205-50-15