Well… it’s May, and really the end of May. Kids are getting out of school, most racing seasons are well and truly started, and here I am just about to dust off the Mini and get going.

One Lap of America 2024 has already concluded. Through an unfortunate turn of events, I wasn’t able to find a co-driver and had to back out of this year’s event. That was pretty disappointing. OLOA is one of those events that gets into you and if you don’t do it you really feel like you are missing out. The #FOMO is real. For those of you that have never experienced it, it is the closest thing to doing a Top Gear Challenge for real people. This year featured several tornadoes, attacks of tumbleweeds, and a gauntlet of Kansas Highway Patrol. I’m sure the yearbooks will be amazing.

The Mini is ready to go. After surviving last year’s One Lap event, a few minor issues had popped up. Two really: first, there was a vacuum leak; and second, the car wasn’t keeping cool. We had a rush job to rebuild the head and get it on the car literally the day before OLOA last year and chased the vacuum leak and Check Engine Light the entire event. That ended up being the purge valve and a sensor that needed to be replaced.

Cooling was a bigger issue. At event at Hallet we noticed that there was some oil floating on top of the coolant in the tank. There was no obvious problem other than the oil and the sudden increase in engine temps when not moving. Our best guess (and consultations from others) lead us to believe there was a small leak in the heat exchanger. This has been a problem previously on this car. I took the Mini to the team over at Corsa Crew to help me sort it all out. The oil in the coolant seemed to have been just leftover from the previous issue with the heat exchanger, a full flush and refill solved that, but the trust wasn’t there. So, we replaced the heat exchanger for an full external oil cooler. We also fixed / replaced some resistors on the fans that weren’t working properly, a small leaking seal, and then vented the hood. All in all, the car idles 10 degrees cooler, intake temps are way down, and the temp doesn’t spike after use.

The car is ready, and I’m ready to kick off 2024. This weekend will be my first “Knock the rust off” autocross. Also really excited to continue our partnerships with Red Line Oil and RaceBox. Both are exceptional products backed by great teams that genuinely care about the people in motorsports.