Mini Stunts & Tricks School
Last month, the Golden Gate Chapter returned to the BMW Performance Center West, but this time it was for the Mini Stunts & Tricks School.
We had 15 students for the event and everyone got to try out the Mini John Cooper Works Coopers! They’re extremely fast and nimble. Maybe not so fast, but nimble and front-wheel drive based. So it’s a different dynamic than the M School we had the previous day.
We split into 2 groups and we had 6 total exercises, 3 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. The morning session was all about setting up for the grand finale. We went through a warm-up exercise in the slalom. Each driver got about 10-15 minutes of getting used to controlling the car with your hands at 9 and 3 with a bit of speed going through a slalom course.
The second exercise our group had was the skid pad. Unlike the M School skid pad, the course was set up as a square and you had to learn how to induce oversteer and then recover it. Oversteer is induced by the use of the handbrake! You correct the oversteer like you would in a RWD car, pause it, and then use the throttle to steer the car back straight!
The final exercise in the morning for our group was braking and entering a corner. Basically, we got speed up with a full ABS stop, eventually with enough speed, you could steer the car into the turn. Nothing too tough, but you got an idea of the capability of the car.
We broke for lunch and then headed out to the black lake area. We first learned how to do a J-turn using the handbrake. The target speed was about 28 MPH, you pull up on the handbrake (keeping the button pressed) and hold it as you snap the steering wheel to turn around the cone. It’s pretty tough to do at first just because of what’s involved in successfully doing it.
The second exercise after lunch was the 180 (or Rockford turn–as in the Rockford Files). You start at one end, full speed reverse, pop the car into neutral, do a quick 90 degree flick of the steering wheel to flip the car around, and then pop the car into drive to continue. Tougher than it sounds, of course!
Finally, we had a timed course that put everything together: the 180, some slalom, autocross, a J-turn, some more autocross, a 90 degree handbrake turn, then stopping the car in a parking space with another 90 degree handbrake turn. All in good fun!
Take a look at the video of our event below!
Check out the rest of our videos and our YouTube channel here: