General Discussion Competiting with the new MINI on track or at a SCCA Solo event.

Autocross wheels & tires-help

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Old 02-10-2018, 02:03 PM
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Autocross wheels & tires-help

I got a 2012 JCW this week. I plan to do our regions autocross series. Would lighter wheels help? Tires wider than stock 205/45/17 ?

let me hear your thoughts/suggestions

THANKS !!!
 
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Old 02-11-2018, 05:39 AM
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Lighter is faster when it comes to wheels. Enkei makes several really great wheels that are very light for a 17” wheel (~15 lbs vs ~25 lbs for the stock wheels). These will make a noticeable improvement in acceleration off the line.

As for tires, a change to 215s is a pretty standard upgrade and they will fit without rubbing.

I will note, however, that many organizations doing autocross have rules about how wide and much offset an aftermarket wheel can have before you are moved are into a tougher class.

Have fun and keep us updated.
 
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Eddie07S View Post
Lighter is faster when it comes to wheels. Enkei makes several really great wheels that are very light for a 17” wheel (~15 lbs vs ~25 lbs for the stock wheels). These will make a noticeable improvement in acceleration off the line.

As for tires, a change to 215s is a pretty standard upgrade and they will fit without rubbing.

I will note, however, that many organizations doing autocross have rules about how wide and much offset an aftermarket wheel can have before you are moved are into a tougher class.

Have fun and keep us updated.
What Eddie07S said. You should get the “Rule Book” (they usually have these online) for the divisions and see what is allowed in the division you want to compete in
 
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Old 02-11-2018, 10:13 AM
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Thanks guys

That's about what I was thinking. I thought about class change too. But every time I look at the rule book my eyes glaze over. It's like trying to read Urdu. IMHO the rules have gotten out of hand.
"Start to organize a church picnic and you end up with the **** party".
But in our region DS is the most competitive class with some of the best times. And yes, competition matters but for me it's more about competing against myself and having fun. And I bet the fun factor would go up with the wheel/tire upgrade What size wheel would I need to go 215 ?
 
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Old 02-11-2018, 10:32 AM
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For DS I believe you are allowed the stock wheel off-set (47mm) up to -5 mm less and you are stuck at the wheel width of 7". The nice thing is that 7" is the sweet spot for the 215 tire.

Enkei wheels come in a 45mm offset and 7" width.

As as for the rule book, that is what it is.
 
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Old 02-11-2018, 12:39 PM
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Perfect

Perfect, perfect !

thanks
 
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:27 AM
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OEM is 17x7 ET 48. You can go plus or minus 1" in diameter, and plus or minus 7mm in offset. A 16x7 or 18x7 would also be legal. A few people have ran the 16" setup. I use 17" Kosei K1TS, which are ET42. That moves the wheel 6mm outboard.

I've been using the 215/45 RE71R. I plan on trying the 205/45 this season. Wider isn't always necessarily better, an the Mini tends only to use the outer 1" of tire anyways. The 205 is the factory diameter, where the 215 is a little taller. So I expect an improvement from the lower CG and a minor acceleration benefit.

One of the guys who have had the most success nationally in a Mini insists the 205 is faster. I only ran the 215 the last two years because they were cheaper.

If you have any questions, let me know. I think I'm the last person running a DS R56 nationally. Congrats on the JCW, Minis make excellent autocross cars.
 
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:55 AM
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:49 PM
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[B]HOPEFULLY I'LL BE JOINING YOU.

Mini tends only to use the outer 1" of tire anyways. The 205 is the factory diameter, where the 215 is a little taller. So I expect an improvement from the lower CG and a minor acceleration benefit.

this is great input and great news. ( car has brand new 205s ) I just ordered a set of Enkeis 14.5 lbs vs stock 24lb boat anchors.]
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Terry Barham View Post
I got a 2012 JCW this week. I plan to do our regions autocross series. Would lighter wheels help? Tires wider than stock 205/45/17 ?

let me hear your thoughts/suggestions

THANKS !!!
If you are currently in D Street then stay there for now and try not to make changes like wheels initially. What are your current tires (make and model)?

Things that are legal for DS class (but not everything): clean OEM air filter, any oil, any brake fluid, any treadwear 200 DOT tire that will fit, limits on wheels sizes as mentioned (17x7 is a good start), any one sway bar (usually adjustable rear bar for FWD), any cat back exhaust (mostly to trim weight, does make things louder), racing harness, any brake pad.

One thing that does make a difference is tires. Depending on your course and surface there can be various Treadwear 200 tires that are most popular in your area, see what the top drivers are running. Look for Bridgestone RE71R. Sometimes it depends on driving style and sometimes even sponsorship.

For a new driver focus first on driving skill, this will get you going with the least investment and could yield the largest benefit if you can teach yourself. Look for experienced drivers willing to share information, if instruction is permitted then ask for it every chance you get (formal or informal).

Step one- arrive early to get ready and walk the course enough times so that you can draw it (on paper or in your head) from memory. If you draw it on paper then mark it up with notes to yourself to watch for certain things. Design the ideal driving line but be flexible enough to change it during the event if needed. By knowing the course you'll be less likely to get lost.

Step two- if you can do fun runs then have an instructor drive your car with you watching or ride along with one of the better drivers. Observe how they drive the course and how it feels to be on course at that speed. Remember it and do it for yourself.

205/45-17 is very workable for 17x7" rims on OEM suspension. Each MINI has different gearing depending on which year. Unless you have courses with very high speed areas you don't use the taller 215/45-17 enough. You will be going at speeds through turns and slaloms that will use a smaller or OEM tire diameter. 7" wide rims will limit any advantage 215mm tire sizes will offer over a 205mm wide tire for the most part. Extra wide tire sizes on a narrow rim don't really use the tire as well since the tire is not fitting that well.

Yes, lighter wheels do help but only to a degree. OEM MINI wheels tend to be heavy but they work. A few lbs less per wheel is not going to make a huge difference vs better tires. If you are on a budget I would go for tires first.
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:21 AM
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have you autocrossed before? If you are new I would NOT go with re71 yet, get used to slip and how it feels on all seasons first, if youc an do a test & tune or beginner day you get ten times more seat time, TRIAD has one coming up if you can make the drive to danville

once you get used to how the car feels when it's slipping then go to re71
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:28 AM
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In order of importance, I'd rank things:

1. Driver
2. Driver
3. Driver

Note that like golf or guitar autocross is a learned skill. It takes time, and while each individual learns at a different rate, almost everyone sucks at first.

4. Tires. If you're new and just want to have fun, what you've got is fine. Better tires won't improve your driving, but will improve your times.

5. Swaybar. Minis are pretty pushy from the factory. A stiffer rear swaybar helps the car both react quicker and rotate a little more.

6. Alignment. This would be higher on most cars but the Mini isn't too adjustable. Reducing the factory rear toe-in helps the car turn better in sweepers.

7. Other stuff. An exhaust may save you a lb or two and get you 2hp, lighter wheels will make the car slightly faster, upgraded shocks can help tune the car in transitions etc. None of it is make or break and should only be messed with once you run out of the limits of 1-6. Really, 4 shouldn't be messed with until you get 1-3 nailed down pretty good.

Apologies, I get so excited about National Competition that I sometimes make assumptions.

I wrote a 3-part autocross primer that I've gotten real good feedback from that I've posed here.
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:09 AM
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We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw

Good suggestions. Keep um coming. Though I haven't mentioned driver as the biggest factor in improvement. In past lives I've raced motocross, and mountain bikes here in the gnarly blue ridge mountains. I practiced/trained all the time. In practice, like life, you usually learn more from mistakes. Autocross is a good new sport for me. I retired MTB racing at 50. I'm 60 now and mistakes don't hurt as much in autocross ! Just too bad there aren't many opportunities to practice. ( I've been tempted to go to the Wal Mart parking lot in the wee hrs but I think the police would not be pleased.)
I caught fire about auto-x when a good friend ( veteran Auto-xer , Porsche 911 ) took me to my first events at the end of last season. He rode with me on my runs and me with him. I didn't have the ideal car ( Mercedes c 63 AMG ) At first I was a real mess but I finally had a few decent runs , even bested his by over a second. Also owned a Cooper S a few yrs ago. Didn't know about Auto-x but we live at the base of a very twisty 2000'+ mountain pass. I liked to go out early/ no traffic, and push hell out of that Mini.
Our club is great. One of the top drivers always walks the course with us suggesting lines, and pointing out pitfalls.
Two things I want to get clear on.
1) will 17 x 7 re71s bump me out of DS ? ( I just ordered 7x17s black, and plan to just swap the nearly new 205/45/17s that came on the car. Could cancel today. ( I confess looks were also a factor, love black wheels on black car. )
2) sway bar; Is this true w/ JCW as well ? Will it bump me from DS ? Approx cost ? Source ?

mucho thanks

off topic but does SCCA offer any other types of racing ? Would like to get AMG on a track.
 

Last edited by Terry Barham; 02-13-2018 at 06:30 AM. Reason: addl ?s
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:14 AM
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you can get on the local tracks with NASA-MA, NASA-SE, THSCC, and a whole bunch of other clubs that run VIR

there were 3 or 4 mini's at carolina motorsports park last weekend with nasa southeast
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:16 AM
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also the only reason your 17x7 would bump you out of DS is if you ordered them with an offset that more than 5mm different from stock.

DS allows 1 swaybar, for mini that means the rear I use a hotchkis adjustable on my autocross car, couple hundred dollars from a few vendors like way motoring
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:18 AM
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just checked 2018 rules, says 7mm limit on offset not sure if it changed or this is what it's been

most of the changes are in red, so it may have changed a while ago
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:56 AM
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Yes the Enkei wheels would be a nice help with the reduced rolling mass.
https://www.waymotorworks.com/enkei-...ght-wheel.html

or
https://www.waymotorworks.com/enkei-...ght-wheel.html

the rear sway bar for sure is a must as the MINI pushes really bad and eats front tires, the sway bar will get it to rotate and reduce the tire abuse
https://www.waymotorworks.com/wmw-rear-sway-bar.html

And this is a super simple mod that I run in all my cars that will help hold your but in the seat cheaply without having to install harnesses. Plus it's cheap
https://www.waymotorworks.com/cg-lock.html
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Terry Barham View Post
Two things I want to get clear on.
1) will 17 x 7 re71s bump me out of DS ? ( I just ordered 7x17s black, and plan to just swap the nearly new 205/45/17s that came on the car. Could cancel today. ( I confess looks were also a factor, love black wheels on black car. )
2) sway bar; Is this true w/ JCW as well ? Will it bump me from DS ? Approx cost ? Source ?

mucho thanks

off topic but does SCCA offer any other types of racing ? Would like to get AMG on a track.
17x7 are DS legal as long as offset is within 7mm of stock.
Changing one swaybar (front OR rear) is DS legal.
I have the Hotchkis Competition rear bar on my car, about $275.

SCCA also has a program called "Track Night in America" which has been pretty successful. The 2018 schedule just came out. I haven't done one personally, but the concept is a more laid back way to get on a track. Street cars only, etc.

Love, love me some AMG. We have a C55, the predecessor to your car. My wife liked it so much she commandeered it from me. Whenever she lets me drive it I miss it all over again.
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:13 PM
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track night america is too laid back it's scary they let some real novices loose, some close calls here, like not even knowing what the flags mean, stopping on a hot track
 
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Terry Barham View Post
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw

Good suggestions. Keep um coming. Though I haven't mentioned driver as the biggest factor in improvement. In past lives I've raced motocross, and mountain bikes here in the gnarly blue ridge mountains. I practiced/trained all the time. In practice, like life, you usually learn more from mistakes. Autocross is a good new sport for me. I retired MTB racing at 50. I'm 60 now and mistakes don't hurt as much in autocross ! Just too bad there aren't many opportunities to practice. ( I've been tempted to go to the Wal Mart parking lot in the wee hrs but I think the police would not be pleased.)
I caught fire about auto-x when a good friend ( veteran Auto-xer , Porsche 911 ) took me to my first events at the end of last season. He rode with me on my runs and me with him. I didn't have the ideal car ( Mercedes c 63 AMG ) At first I was a real mess but I finally had a few decent runs , even bested his by over a second. Also owned a Cooper S a few yrs ago. Didn't know about Auto-x but we live at the base of a very twisty 2000'+ mountain pass. I liked to go out early/ no traffic, and push hell out of that Mini.
Our club is great. One of the top drivers always walks the course with us suggesting lines, and pointing out pitfalls.
Two things I want to get clear on.
1) will 17 x 7 re71s bump me out of DS ? ( I just ordered 7x17s black, and plan to just swap the nearly new 205/45/17s that came on the car. Could cancel today. ( I confess looks were also a factor, love black wheels on black car. )
2) sway bar; Is this true w/ JCW as well ? Will it bump me from DS ? Approx cost ? Source ?

mucho thanks

off topic but does SCCA offer any other types of racing ? Would like to get AMG on a track.
Glad to hear about your experience. I think you have the answers to your technical questions. One that you haven’t asked is what about shocks? These are open as long as you can put your stock springs on them. And the MINI shocks are not very good no matter how you think they feel.

As for autocross there are a few things that are different from driving on the track. First, you get to walk the course. Do this over and over again. But when you do, squat down at different points so you can see what the course looks like from the height you are at when you are in the driver’s seat. You will find it does look different from that vantage point.

Take your first run at a slow pace. It is better to get it right the first time and set that muscle memory correctly. If you get it wrong, then you will spend a lot of effort making your correction the next time, instead of just improving your time.

In autocross slow is fast, especially in a MINI. In a MINI if you try too hard the car will push and you will loose time. Be smooth and learn exactly where your car is (wheels/tires especially) so you can touch the cones without faulting and straightening out the course.

Have fun!
 

Last edited by Eddie07S; 02-13-2018 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:48 PM
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What socks and tires would you recommend. Mine are 205. Fastest mini last weekend was on 215s.
 
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Terry Barham View Post
What socks and tires would you recommend. Mine are 205. Fastest mini last weekend was on 215s.
I think it's more or less a wash. I think the 205 might be slightly faster on some courses, but I've done fine with the 215. The 215 is cheaper, that's why I run them.
 
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Terry Barham View Post
What socks and tires would you recommend. Mine are 205. Fastest mini last weekend was on 215s.
There is a lot more to being fast than the width of the tires. Weight of the wheels, wheel offset, tire brand and wear rating, suspension differences, etc. What did those cars have that is different from yours, other than tires? My 205-50x15 RE71Rs are regularly faster than 225-45x17 R888s (R comps)
 
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Old 06-15-2018, 03:00 PM
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Agreed. What suspension mods would help and keep me in DS ? Brand/type tires ? Mine are lousy and near replacement time.
 
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Old 06-15-2018, 03:10 PM
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re71 or rival S 1.5 tires are by a few tenths the best tires.

you can do a rear swaybar and you can do shocks (I like koni yellow) you can also do springs but only the JCW set mini sells
 

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