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Finally, I learned how to drive my MINI!

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Finally, I learned how to drive my MINI!

  #1  
Old 12-04-2007, 03:02 PM
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Finally, I learned how to drive my MINI!

Well, I bought this thing new for my wife in about may of '06. I had previously purchased a new '06 BMW 330i in may of '05. I loved my BMW. I still do, honestly.

But.


Her car is a Chili Red JCW R53 with the nice black JCW 18" rims. We didn't opt for the JCW suspension, but I've added TSW springs, M7 USS and FSB, and an HSport 19mm RSB.

I've always driven RWD cars my entire life, and am very good at controlling them at the limits (at least for someone with little track xp and no professional instruction. I'm sure I have a lot to learn.)

So my car has 50k miles on it, as it is our daily commuter (for the last two years we've worked together). The Mini has about 14k. I always drive it, but have never really been comfortable with the dynamics of the FWD setup. I just didn't know how to use the power into or out of turns.

I finally had a revelation yesterday as I was taking my favorite freeway onramp. The swaybar is set to full stiff, and I haven't added the adjustable rear control arms. There is quite a bit of negative camber back there, and I'm glad because of the stiff setting on the RSB. The car rotates VERY willingly.

So anyway, I finally figured out that things are opposite. In the BMW, I enter slow, and counter understeer by adding throttle. Also, I can plant all four tires in a high speed sweeper and hit the apex and add full throttle upon exit.

In the Mini, I have to enter the corner HOT. The rear end wants to come around with the stiff swaybar setting, and my instinct is to let off the gas because I'm going too fast into the turn (which would be right in the BMW). It was very difficult at first but I'm finally able to gas it. Let the rear end swing around and counter OVERSTEER by adding more gas!

So now I fly into the corner way faster than I ever would have dreamed of, then as the rear starts to slide I keep the front pointed in the right direction by adding throttle. OMG what fun. I'm taking corners WAY WAY WAY faster than I ever did before, and quite a bit faster than my 330i (which is no slouch mind you).

I just can't believe how much freaken fun this thing is to drive and I haven't even put camber plates on it. I've still got RFTs on it too.

I can't wait till I get the camber plates, adjustable rear arms, wide sticky tires, and an alignment taken care of. OMG OMG.

You guys have no idea!!!

(ok, well you probably have an idea. I just am blown away)
 
  #2  
Old 12-04-2007, 07:40 PM
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Yep, the driving dynamics between the two different setups are dramatically different. Have fun, but stay safe on public roads. Some track time would really let you experiment with your technique in a more controlled and legal setting.
 
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:56 PM
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I learned to drive in front wheel drive cars. When I first tried out my dad's S2000, I was driving that like my own car. No mishaps, but it the dynamics are very different. I figured them out and enjoyed the car for the few days I drove it.
 
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Old 12-05-2007, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by nabeshin View Post
I learned to drive in front wheel drive cars. When I first tried out my dad's S2000, I was driving that like my own car. No mishaps, but it the dynamics are very different. I figured them out and enjoyed the car for the few days I drove it.
S2000 ... one of the few cars on the road that looks smaller than a Mini. Of course they had to lose the whole back seat to do it ...

Well I'll be dammed ... it's got no back seat and it's still 16" longer. How can that be?!
 
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by succubus View Post
In the Mini, I have to enter the corner HOT. The rear end wants to come around with the stiff swaybar setting, and my instinct is to let off the gas because I'm going too fast into the turn (which would be right in the BMW). It was very difficult at first but I'm finally able to gas it. Let the rear end swing around and counter OVERSTEER by adding more gas!
Is this true for a JCW too? more gas??
 
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Old 01-14-2010, 01:23 AM
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Do some BMWCCA track days, plenty of instructors have MINI exp or even drive MINIs or try a Phil Wicks MINI Driving Accademy. Trick is let it rotate till it straightens your exit then mash the pedal, you will be out them corners, while others are barley hittin their apex.
 
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:22 PM
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RWD: Acceleration in a turn transfers weight to the rear, increasing rear grip, decreasing front grip. So, moves bias towards understeer.

Deceleration in a corner transfers weight to the front, increasing front grip, decreasing rear grip. So, moves bias towards oversteer. Brake in a corner and you could be going backwards before you know it.

A stiff anti-sway bar in the rear--when not balanced by a stiff bar in the front--can give you snap oversteer. It tends to lift the inside rear wheel.
 
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:02 AM
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i own a 04 jcw mini with a 25.5 rear swaybar and a 92 mr2 turbo you haven`t seen snap oversteer! , but when you learn to manage it it`s so good
 
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