With the pre-season maintenance and detail inspections completed, Mini went to the two-day track event with a brand new set of Nitto NT01 tires in 225/45 15. Tires this wide was possible with a set of new Konig Dial In 8"x15" wheels. The NT01 has a wear rating of 100 which is essential R compound so they should be grippy short of a set of slicks.
these Nitto are quite expensive but I couldn't get the Toyo R888R which was my first choice
the Konig wheels are extremely light at circa 12 lb; the tire is about 21 lb
inevitably these wide wheels protrude beyond the fender lips a bit
100 thread wear rating
I was expecting these new tires to last no more than two days and unevenly despite I rotate them after each day of driving. Last season I destroyed one set of tires after just 2 days of driving so I was quite pessimistic. I maxed out the negative camber on the front due to space limitation in the spring tower. I can gain some negative camber at the back but I didn't think there much to be gained to reduce the uneven wear.
last season I destroyed one set of tires after two days of track driving
almost every other cars have twice or more horsepower than Desire
always after a track event there are a lot of maintenance work to prepare for next event
I was pleasantly surprised that the tire worn relatively evenly across the width. To this I attribute to the wider wheels, and thus wider tracks effectively result in lower spring rate. Lower spring rate induce more negative camber in the corners on the outer wheels resulted in more wear on the inside to even out the rapidly wearing of the outside thread. I was very glad to observed this as I resigned that I've outgrown the Koni Yellow and Swift springs.
I drove about 280 miles in two days at the track
this is what a brand new set of Raybestos ST-41 racing pads look like after 280 miles of track driving; it last much better than the Wilwood BP-30 that I used last season which last just 2 days
they always wedge and I flip the pads after a day to even out the wear
the Mini gets about 6.6 miles a gallon driving at the tracks so fuel supply is crucial at the remote tracks; I am very happy to found room for three 5-gallon jugs in addition to the four jugs the trailer can carry
more parts arrived to prepare Desire for next track event; these are a set of outer ball joints for the front
these are Raybestos ST-45 racing brake pads for the front Wilwood brakes
these are seals and dust boots for the rear OE brakes
Here is a video of the Mini at Oregon Raceway Park (ORP) driving with a purpose-built BMW track car. He is a very good driver with a decade experience at this track. In the video he was in hot pursuit until I botched a shift at 5:00 and the game was over soon. This was the forth time I drove this track. Three times with the Mini and once with the Porsche.
Below is a most recent event at Portland International Raceway (PIR) driving with many high power cars. In this session R53 Mini ran with a Red Gulf R, an Audi S3 RS R, a silver S2000 and a blue S2000, a white BMW M4, a red MR2, a white Miata, an orange Miata, a blue Civic Type R, 3 Corvettes, a Porsche Cayman, an orange Viper, and another white BMW M (M3?) car. I was careful not to overdrive and was pleasantly surprised the amount of grips these tires developed despite the cold and damp conditions. We had intermittent drizzles with ~55F ambient. We were also told there is a tree stump inching itself up the tarmac at the beginning of the back straight.
Oregon Raceway Park is by far a much more technical track over Portland International Raceway.