BMC Mini Profile

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BMC Mini General Information

One of the most successful rally cars of all time. However it is hard to compare its record to other cars as the Mini featured before the WRC was invented. The pure existance of this groupA version already is fitting proof how special the Mini was. The Mini was invented in the late 1950s, which is some 25years before the groupA regulations were introduced. And why re-homologate a 25years old car into modern motorsport regulations if there was not extensive demand by drivers still using it!

But the groupA car was no more used as a works car. Or at least that was not the intention, in the end the Mini was such a big story that with works help Timo Mäkinen, Paddy Hopkirk and Russell Brookes were seen in gA cars for the Mini's 35th birthday. Still, I probably best explain this car when I look at the pre WRC and group2 versions too.

The Mini also shows to some degree the BMC problem with so many different brand names that often could lead to confusion. Although the car was not really marketed as a BMC Mini, with BMC as brand name, it was homologated as a BMC Mini. Problem was, originally it should have been homologated as the Austin Mini. But with the BMC competitions department being based in MG home Abingdon, when a new car was needed it was simply easier to go next door and get a shell of Morris. So indeed, when you have a chance to look at close up photos of the era, you find that the competition cars were indeed a wild mix of Austin badged and Morris badged cars, hence the homologation as BMC Mini.

Next let's have a look into the Mini road car, to show what made this car so special. It was a completely new design, that today became the standard on the road car market. Maybe it was not as utterly new a design as some may believe. When Sir Alec Issigonis designed the Mini, BMC was in a crisis and in desperate need of a small, functional budget car. Sir Alec Issigonis went over board with designing a car that should have been way too tiny to be functional. But he succeeded on the engineering side. The car was one of the first Front Wheel Drive cars ever. Though that is not a Mini invention, Citroën already created and sold FWD some 20years earlier. But when FWD ensured the car was compact, Issigonis topped that by making the Mini the first car ever with a transverse engine! In fact even the Citroën designs combined FWD with longitudinally mounted engines, which was a complicated combination and to a large degree the reason why Citroën needed so long and had to spend so much money to make FWD work. Issigonis' design of a transverse engine over a FWD drive train meant the Mini wasted virtually no space for the engine bay. And this was the corner stone to create a car that was a little but spacious box with its wheels moved as far into each corner as possible.

And for the rally stages this design had a fantastic side effect. The car was light and tiny, such nimble with good handling. But it had the wheelbase of a luxury saloon and no overhangs whatsoever, which in turn gives a solid and stable ride. When in the 1980s Peugeot Sport created the all conquering groupB 205 T16, the Peugeot Sport engineers always said that their key to success was to create a car that is as short as possible with as long a wheelbase as possible. It is a configuration that will never stop being valid.

On the rally stages the Mini could even have been more successful. Because the BMC team gave it a reluctant start. BMC was successfully rallying big, RWD, 3 litre Austin Healeys and you can see why management and drivers alike felt the powerful, RWD sportscar should be more fun. Only in around 1962, with a 3-year delay and after the BMC competitions director was replaced, they started running the Mini competitively and found it was probably even more fun and certainly more efficient than the Healey! To name just a few highlights what the Mini was all about:

On the 1964 Rallye Monte Carlo there has been an event long battle between Mini works driver Paddy Hopkirk and Ford's Bo Ljungfeld. It was the classic David vs Goliath battle as Ljungfeld used an Australian Ford Falcon with a huge and powerful 4.7 V8 engine. It was a massively interesting battle, because Bo Ljungfeld lost all his power advantage carefully negotiating the many serpentines in the French Alps, often enough having to reverse. No such problems with the underpowered Mini, that especially in the downhill sections rarely even had to lift off. This particular close battle was that the big V8 Ford could pull out minutes on faster uphill stages, but come a downhill section with serpentines, it was the Mini that pulled out the minutes. It sounds even more curious today, when all cars sadly have the same concepts. If you have seen an IRC Monte with Col du Turini live on Eurosport, imagine the Falcon being 2mins ahead at the split on top of the Col, but downhill it would cook its brakes and having to keep reversing in hairpins, while the Mini was the master of tight corners. Similar happened everywhere and in Monte Carlo 1964 on the finish ramp the little Mini beat the huge V8 power monster by 6seconds!

This efficiency carried on. In the ERC 1965, at that time the highest international championship, Rauno Aaltonen won the title in a dominant manner, after winning 5 ERC events. And his Mini team mates added to the trophies that year too. I.e. Timo Mäkinen won Monte and his 3rd successive 1000 Lakes Rally (FIN).

By 1968 BMC had to start looking for alternatives. Cars as Ford Escort Mk1 and Lancia Fulvia appeared on the scene and to compete them for overall results the Mini eventually was underpowered and no more winning material. But it still was fun and efficient, which is why it lived on until way into the groupA era!
 

BMC Mini Related Content


BMC Mini Evolutions

 
 
Model & Evo. (Activity)
 
BHP@
RPM
Torque
(Nm)@
RPM
Length
Width
Height
Weight
(Kg/BPM
Ratio)
 
Trans.
(W'base)
BMC Mini 1000 (82-03) 70/7000 80/3000 3054.1430.1350 670 (9.6) FWD (2036)
BMC Mini Cooper S (82-03) 100/6500 115/3500 3054.1430.1350 670 (6.7) FWD (2036)

Random BMC Mini Photos

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BMC Mini Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
39th. 2003 WRC Rally of Great Britain N. Burgess J. Holder #136 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
100th. 1994 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo P. Hopkirk R. Crellin #37 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00

BMC Mini Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 2002 WRC Safari Rally A. Anwar . UNKNOWN #125 [UNKNOWN] SS1 driveshaft
Ret. 1995 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo J. Andruet . "Biche" #32 [UNKNOWN] SS11 suspension
Ret. 1994 WRC Rally of Great Britain R. Brookes N. Wilson #24 [UNKNOWN] SS23 engine
Ret. 1994 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo T. Mäkinen P. Easter #101 [UNKNOWN] SS2 electrics
Ret. 1994 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo P. Camandona . UNKNOWN #40 [UNKNOWN] SS19 ?