Project TCS – Mini Cooper S Track Car First Drive

Cars Project TCS

The Mini Cooper S is off to JWS Developments at Bolsover today. However we couldn’t let her go until we had a bit of a play yesterday! Now that we have sorted our insurance with “Need To Insure” at Mansfield.

Fantastic price and a great policy for what we need, supplied by Paul at Need to Insure. He went that extra mile for us and we would thoroughly recommend him!

How did it drive?

We knew the car wasn’t perfect when we picked her up. It was the cheapest facelift R53 on the market though, so it was never going to be perfect was it.

Other than the initial steady test drive, this is the first time either myself or Jay has been able to drive it properly.

So the initial thing that jumped out to us was that it was loud, very loud. There seemed to be an obvious blow from the exhaust or manifold somewhere. That coupled with a bit of a rattle and a whine, it really is a one man band!

Other than the budget tyres though, the R53 seems to be fairly well grounded and stable. With what seems a decent gearbox and suspension, it seems a decent starting point to me. However we will soon find out now that Jon and Chris at JWS have it in their capable hands.


Well it is only 170bhp and it’s also still full fat, with 2 blokes on board too I might add.

I suspect it is losing a little power due to the blowing it currently has. This didn’t stop us getting some initial Dragy Gps runs though. Even if it was horrendous rain.

We kept to a sensible 0-60, 30-70 and 50-70, all in mph of coarse! More of a range of data will come once we are allowed back on track!

0-60 was a difficult one to put down due to cheap ‘Rapid’ budget tyres and wet conditions. The tyre article I will leave for another day! But yea, it wasnt good!

Terrible, wet 0-60mph unfortunately.

Traction control tried to take over continuously and it was rendered almost pointless to try for more. Jay did manage a run in the 8s however.

30-70mph and 50-70mph came in at 8.28s and 4.24s respectively.


These times were disappointing little but was to be expected with a blowing manifold on budget tyres, with 2 blokes on board. I suspect a healthy R53 with just the driver to be a little faster.


To say how cheap our Mini R53 Cooper S was, I still think we got a bargain. The first drive went fairly well.

Yes it has its issues, but overall I think it was a good buy. Or atleast thats what I’m hoping JWS tell us!

It’s about what I expected of a 170bhp car. Well maybe a little slower but I was pleasantly surprised at how well planted and tight it all felt.

Be sure to head over to our YouTube channel to follow all of our progress.

We will be back shortly with JWS findings and an initial dyno run! Then it’s time to start shedding some weight!

First initial run with Jay driving
Now it’s my turn! Can’t wait to turn this into that something more unique and special. Track will be a real hoot.

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