With the autocross season over it’s time to get serious about preparing for One Lap of America 2022. There’s a couple goals with getting prepped: first, reliability. OLOA is demanding with 18 motorsport type events and then 3,500+ miles of travel between the sites. There will be no rest for the car that is creeping up on 19 years old. The second goal is performance handling. To this point the only handling update to the car has been wheels and tires. That’s a testament to how well the car handles from the factory. Even still there are some weak spots. As an older car it has an open diff. This is painful any time you try to put power down out of a slow corner. Then it’s all about maximizing turning ability and transitions.

The process started with window shopping, reading forums, and plenty of reading. Once I had an idea of what I thought I wanted to do, I called an expert. I emailed Way from Way Motor Works. He was at SEMA, but replied that he already had thought about building an One Lap Mini. We caught up when he got back. I went through my plan, and we ended up throwing out some of it, refining some of the others, and then adding in some items I hadn’t considered. Once the call was finished, I felt good we had a plan and could start to budget. It’s going to be expensive, but it should get the Mini in a really good spot for the event.

So here’s the major items on the list:

  • OS Giken clutch and flywheel
  • Quaife LSD
  • Megan racing coilovers
  • Adjustable rear sway bar
  • Poly bushings
  • Swapping to ATi crank pulley
  • Adjustable rear control arms
  • Aluminum coolant tank
  • ECU tune
  • Oil pressure sensor
  • Trailer hitch

Another key point of reliability is having someone who knows what they are doing complete the work. Last thing that I would want is for the car to fail because of my shoddy workmanship.

Made to trip over to Atlanta this week for Way and team to start looking at and working on the car. He called today and predictably fired me as a mechanic on the car. Apparently my work on the water pump was less than stellar. The hoses were hanging on by a thread and I had the clamps in the wrong places. He also discovered several seals that needed replacement. And then the M7 pulley. Based on how the belt was hitting on the other pulleys, he’s guessing it was machined incorrect. Other than those items, he gave the car a good review. He was happy it was a good base to build from and all the trouble areas we would address.

Work has already started on the Mini. Depending on when some of the parts arrive, I should have the car back in a couple weeks.

Also, be on the lookout for another exciting announcement coming soon!