A narrative of two minis: Driving Gildred Racing’s Tremendous Coopers


The front half of a classic Mini Cooper, seen by the sea.
Enlarge / The basic Mini Cooper made barely 60 hp by the point it bowed out within the mid-’90s. Gildred Racing will make you one with much more energy, with both a mid-mounted V6 or, like this blue automotive, a Tesla drive unit.

Gildred Racing

Monterey Automobile Week all the time brings out the automotive trade’s heavy hitters, from world-class classic vehicles to brand-new seven-figure monitor toys, basic Vespa scooters, and every little thing in between. And but, a stunning duo wound up as my favourite expertise of the week: driving a pair of two tiny “Tremendous Coopers” dropped at Monterey by Gildred Racing to advertise the debut of a brand new Tesla-powered electrical undertaking.

The corporate’s Tremendous Cooper electrical powertrain conversion may need deserved the lion’s share of headlines as the most recent and biggest providing, however the firm’s earlier Tremendous Cooper “S” additionally delivers an absurd 502 hp (375 kW) to the rear wheels from a mid-mounted supercharged V6.

Taking an expansive view, the pair really serves as a microcosm that completely encapsulates the present fanatic trade, proper all the way down to the variations between rear- and front-wheel drive—and even to this present day, I can’t resolve which I appreciated extra.

The red car was a hoot; the blue car was a total handful at anything like full power.
Enlarge / The crimson automotive was a hoot; the blue automotive was a complete handful at something like full energy.

Gildred Racing

Mini race vehicles for main lovers

Gildred Racing of Buellton, California, makes a speciality of restorations and race prep for traditional Mini Coopers. A halo undertaking that reworked one of many diminutive British hatchbacks right into a mid-engine RWD screamer helped make the title extra recognizable when the primary Tremendous Cooper began attracting consideration six years in the past. And the S I drove definitely didn’t disappoint.

For a little bit of context, this automotive beforehand beat a McLaren 720S drag racing on Season 2 of Netflix’s Quickest Automobile, so my impressions of absolute insane acceleration shouldn’t be thought of exaggeration. Not even shut, for the reason that peak of 502 hp is dyno-proven on the wheels, not on the crank. Energy-to-weight ratios work exponentially, in any case, and even with a 3.5 L Acura V6 and supercharger dropped in behind the entrance seats, this little Cooper nonetheless weighs solely 2,100 kilos (954 kg).

Overlook about ABS or traction management; the S calls for the utmost driver consideration always, highlighted by a six-speed stick shift sending that torque to the bottom. A set of 13-inch wheels shod in 225-millimeter tires helps tame the tiny beast a bit, however as soon as some basic Monterey mist began rolling in off the coast, we began skittering round on slippery roads with solely a touch of countersteering required to flick into severely enjoyable motion.


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