Our Motorsport Beginnings…
It’s true to say that Mini Sports motorsport roots were firmly planted way before we went into business; with a genuine passion for rally and race providing the strong spirited overtone that has dominated Mini Sports development across the years. Our love for Mini and Motorsport remains evident in everything we do here and our involvement in the thriving motorsport industry has never faded.
Brian Harper, founder of Mini Sport, first became involved in Mini Motorsport following the purchase of his first Mini, less than a year after the Mini was launched in 1959. Auto tests, sprints, hill climbs and circuit racing competitions soon became a regular past time, building a unique bond between the Mini 850s and the Harper family. Impressed with the cars exceptional performance, the second purchase of a Downton tuned 997cc Cooper in Spring of 1964, firmly cemented Brian & Heather Harpers interest in Rally, starting a tradition in Motorsport for Mini Sport.
Our Motorsport Achievements
Over the years the Harpers have gained notable acclaim for their contribution to Motorsport with Brian Harper taking the victory in the 1975 SD34 Shellsport Rally and Daniel Harper taking wins in the 1995 Group A 1300 class in the 1995 British Rally Championship and a class victory in a World Rally Championship round at the Network Q RAC Rally in 1997.
Aside from competing, the Harpers were involved in the engineering and preparation side of Motorsport for other talented drivers. Cyril Bolton’s Mini Cooper S known as ‘NCK’ was a Mini Sport prepared and owned car which became recognised as the ‘Ultimate Road Rally Mini’ by enthusiasts of the time. The car showed great potential and in 1975 finished fourth overall in the Motoring News Rally Championship – a firm contestant amidst the golden era of road rallying.
Today our involvement in Motorsport branches across a range of championships that stay true to the organic ancestry of back-to-basic motorsport disciplines like historic rallying. Our hefty involvement with the Historic Rally Car Register (HRCR) has enabled us to get involved with both the Clubman Rally Championship and the Old Stager Championship, on a personal level with other competitive racing like the Mini Se7ens & Mini Miglia providing affordable and entertaining racing for modified mini models – keeping us on our toes!
Historic Rally Car Register – HRCR
The HRCR is Europe’s leading historic rally car club for enthusiasts and competitors alike. Our involvement with the HRCR has been one of great fondness since it’s launch in 1995. The HRCR co-ordinates an annual series of Historic Road Rallies to ensure that historic, competitive rallying is still accessible and enjoyed by all; with entires for vehicles originating from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. These historic rallies welcome classic cars like Mini Cooper, MG, Austin-Healey, Ford, Sunbeam, Porsche, Saab and Volvo amongst others.
At Mini Sport we are strongly involved with the Clubman Rally Championship which intends on co-ordinating organised events that tests competitors on driving and navigational challenges in their historic rally cars. All events are marshalled by local motor clubs and available to enter on a fraction of the price of other Rally championships in the UK, welcoming entries from every skill level.
In the Clubman Rally Championship, we at Mini Sport sponsor driver Steven Entwistle in his sentimental and distinguished ‘Orangebox’ – a BMC Marigold, 970 Cooper S which boasts a remarkable 55 year history in Motorsport competitions. Steve Entwistle is not only an acclaimed Mechanic, Rally Driver and Mini Sport regular but a serious contender in the historic rally scene with a 24-year back catalogue of accomplishments in a range of highly-competitive Rally Championships. Supported by Mini Sport, Steve is currently amidst his second attempt at the HRCR Clubman Championship 2015, walking away in 2014 as the winner of his Historic Class and 4th overall, Mini Sport have confidence that Steve will embrace the challenge of the Championship this year, with both knowledge and enthusiasm on the 20th anniversary of the Clubman Rally.
The HRCR ‘Old Stager’ Championship incorporating the Mini Sport Mini Challenge is a no-nonsense, close to club stage rally championship for all HRCR club members. The ‘Old Stager’ embraces six rounds at stages across the country with the intention on providing value for money and variety.
This championship is open to category 1,2,3 & 4 historic specification cars with additional awards for each category. For 2015, Mini Sport are honoured to have taken on a sponsorship role – offering essential advice and resources not just for Mini crews but all competitors with the addition of the Mini Sport Mini Cup.
We’re always excited by the HRCR ‘Old Stager’ competition and enjoy the challenging and traditional ambience of this popular championship.
Mini Se7ens / Mini Miglia
Since the first Formula Mini Se7en race at Brands Hatch in 1966, the Mini 7 Racing Club has remained a favourite for race commentators and spectators.
The Mini Se7ens championship offers excellent performance for money, challenging many of today’s more modern car formulas on overall pace. The Mini 7’s and Miglia’s are acknowledged as one of the most entertaining championships to watch with dramatic overtaking due to equally matched machinery and the rather un-aerodynamic body of the Mini which offers the cars behind a greater advantage.
Both the Mini Se7en and Mini Miglia championships are designed to challenge the driver with adept skills in car control and strategy. As the UK’s longest running single make championship, it’s at no surprise that well over 1500 names have appeared on the roll-call across 40years – which averages out to around 35 new drivers each season.
The Mini Se7en and Mini Miglia cars are ideal for all engineering and Mini enthusiasts, as although the rules do strictly stipulate what can be modified on the car, they are specified so that development of the car can be achieved within a tight budget. At Mini Sport we support two drivers as part of the Mini Se7en Championship and one as part of the Mini Miglia with the supply of parts and the preparation of each vehicle. Our drivers Leon Wightman, Adam Smith and Dave Drew are currently competing in the 2015 Mini Se7ens and Mini Miglia – proving that the championship, although challenging, is still a lot of fun for both the drivers and their supporting teams.
Motorsport preparation is a meticulous task with safety, performance, power and reliability all considered as fundamental factors. At Mini Sport we house unparalleled experience in the preparation and maintenance of Minis and MINI for race and rally purposes – working closely with in-house experts, motorsport teams and race and rally legends to ensure unrivalled advice.
Our involvement in the thriving motorsport industry has given us recognition as pioneers in the engineering and innovation of Mini parts, designed to offer optimum performance in motorsport conditions.
Our services cover every area of the motorsport preparation and maintenance process with complete body shop services including body shell preparation and assemblies, seam welding, roll cage installation, electronic and wiring services and comprehensive maintenance of your car including essential support on track and championship days.
We stock a full range of parts and accessories in our showroom and online store, which have been designed for performance in Motorsport. This range covers all forms of safety equipment and devices, seats and harnesses, electrical components, bodywork accessories, performance parts, wheels and tyres and mechanics wear and clothing. Our parts and accessories have been hand-picked by our experts for optimum quality and dependability.
If you would like to enquire about Motorsport preparation, sponsorships or just need a little advice – please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our helpful team.