Mountain climb

// Posted in MINI

MINI Cooper D

One tank of diesel, 161 laps and a touch over 1000km. That was the challenge created by Tarmac magazine and put to MINI Australia and its Cooper D. What’s even more amazing is that this challenge was conquered! A pretty amazing stat, too, 1000kms around Mount Panorama—Australia’s most famous racetrack—on 40 litres of fuel.

Two drivers shared stints behind the wheel across a big day that began early in the morning and finished some 17 hours later. During that time the car only stopped for driver changes. The Dooper’s stop-start function ensured no fuel was wasted while the car was “idling” in pit lane.

A few parameters were put on the crew to ensure the challenge could be met. The first being the most obvious, the 60km/h speed limit—it won’t be long until the Mountain is closed and V8s are thundering around for the annual Supercar enduro, until then, though, the track is a public road and as such all speed limits apply. Keeping speed down is one way to save fuel, keeping revs down is another. For the duration of the challenge the goal was to keep revs below 2500rpm. Lucky, then, that the MINI has great road holding abilities which meant the 60km/h speed limit could be held as long as possible through some of the tighter corners around the 6.2km track.

Pretty cool, huh. You can read all about it in the next issue of Tarmac.

Of course, those of you with a good memory will know that Mini has a strong history at Mount Panorama with another amazing stat in its books. In the 1966 Gallaher 500 (that’s miles, remember) the first nine places were filled by the Mini Cooper S. Nine places! I told you it was another amazing stat!

MINI Cooper D

MINI Cooper D

MINI Diesel Wins Bathurst 1000!

Thirty-three [Ed: Oops, they mean forty-three] years after it won the Bathurst endurance event outright, a MINI Cooper has returned to victory lane at Mt Panorama.

Not since 1966 when the Morris Cooper S of Finn Rauno Aaltonen and Aussie Bob Holden won the Gallagher 500 mile event has a Mini won an event at the famed home of Australian motorsport, but last week, a special MINI conquered its own lofty goal.

A showroom standard MINI Cooper D completed the race distance of 1000km – 161 laps of the 6.2km circuit – on a single 40-litre tank; a remarkable achievement given the circumstances and parameters of the challenge.

The target was to achieve 1000km around the Mt Panorama circuit during a normal public day, negotiating the typical rigours of the public day, such as residential and tourist traffic, wildlife and, significantly, the 60km/h maximum speed limit.

Devised by Tarmac magazine, the test involved driving the MINI Cooper D around Bathurst’s hills and dips on a single tank. With a combined city/freeway fuel consumption figure of 3.9l/100km, the theoretical range of 1025km meant the biggest question hung over whether the 174m vertical climb each lap would greatly affect the consumption.

Starting at 7am and finishing almost 17 hours later, the MINI Cooper D remained below 2500rpm the entire day, and used its gearshift-suggester and instantaneous fuel use gauge to good effect, helping to refine driving styles throughout the test and stretching the single tank to the absolute limit.

Two drivers rotated through the pilot seat three times during the endurance test, limited by their bodies fuel systems rather than the car’s. And during every stop, the MINI’s stop-start technology ensured there was no wasted fuel.

National manager for MINI, Justin Hocevar praised the efforts of the MINI Cooper D, and the feat, saying “Bathurst holds a significant place in MINI history and this recent achievement is yet another victory for MINI.”

“Whilst the MINI Cooper D is all about maximising efficiency this does not come at the expense of performance, which is very unique in the small car arena”, said Justin.

Tarmac magazine editor Dean Evans was also enthused about the project: “Though Tarmac is a performance magazine, we wanted to prove you can still have fun with eco cars. The MINI Cooper D combines the two ideally. Its history at the track was simply a bonus.

“We also knew the Cooper’s handling would help a lot and though 60km/h was our maximum legal speed, we held 60 through even the tightest corners of Mt Panorama, maintaining corner speed and minimise throttle input. Many people thought we were crazy, but we just like to do things a little differently – a bit like MINI itself.

The MINI Cooper D achieved a remarkable 161 laps of Mt Panorama at a distance of 1001.7km on the single 40-litre tank.

The full feature story will appear in the next issue of Tarmac magazine, on sale November.