What started out as a blog strictly for my Mini has become more of a blog about all my current projects and motorsports activities.
I discovered motorsports by accident. A local car club’s business card was stuck to my windshield after eating at a restaurant one day, and upon visiting their website, found out that they held small, fast, and safe motorsport events called “autocross” every month near my university. I started autoxing very casually (2-4 events/yr) between about 2007-2012. I started in a Tarmac Black 2006 Evo IX GSR in SM, which was always on street tires & not competitively modified – probably one of the reasons I autoxed so infrequently. In January of 2013, I purchased a near-stock Wicked White Evo IX MR with about 22,000 miles to replace my GSR. When I swapped over the rear differential, the shop that did it had actually stripped the fill bolt, leaving the car more or less undriveable until I repaired the differential. This turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise.
Given all the downtime the Evo saw, I finally decided that it was time to get a daily driver. During March of 2013, I purchased a base 2008 Mini Cooper. It was Lightning Blue, with a 6 speed manual. With the Evo down, I decided to take the Mini for a spin at one of the local autox events – and fell in love with competition of autocross. For the first time, I was driving a relatively competitive car – though not fully prepped, the Mini handled well and was easy to drive, and I landed 38th in index overall that year.
By the end of 2013, I knew what I wanted to do. I decided to start from scratch: order a brand new MINI, spec’ed exactly the way I wanted, to be competitive in HS, and fully prepped the car by SCCA’s then-new street class rules. I probably autoxed more in 2014 than all my past years combined. I focused on improving as a driver, locking down sponsors, and trying to develop a system/methodology that would make me nationally competitive. I improved greatly in 2014, getting 17th overall in index.
2015 was a blur, getting about as many runs as I did in 2014 on less events – much to do with autocrossing two cars at multiple events. I had finally started to dial in the Evo, and had a good amount of progress in both cars – especially the Mini by the end. While I finished 18th, I had made a lot of improvements in driving overall.
2016 and 2017 passed with a number of failures and successes. The Mini saw very little change year over year, and I began re-focusing my attention on the Evo. The Mini gradually saw less and less use, especially with the various daily driver additions I saw during this time. In 2018, I sold the Mini in search of a balanced RWD – but which?
I floated the possibility of a number of cars during this time. The Subaru/Toyota twins, S2000s, 370z’s, etc. The Subaru BRZ was the top running car for a while, but given the experience with the Mini, I decided no more temporary cars. Every car I bought moving forward would be a “keeper” – something I intended to keep forever. With that in mind, there was only one car that fit the bill – a car I wanted since it’s debut in 2007/2008 for its driving dynamics, poise, looks, and overall performance: the E92 M3.
The M3 is currently prepped for FS in SCCA Solo, and I have plans to do track days in the car as well. The Evo has continued to see most of the attention, as I tweak the car year over year to improve the handling and performance, trying to get it to mirror the best parts of all the cars I have owned thus far. I make changes to the Evo, test out at autox, and run on track days. The M3 has admittedly seen little use, but I hope for that to change as the Evo’s build settles down.
Most of the focus of this blog is on my motorsport activity in general, but I track all the cars I own for various modifications & maintenance posts, in large part to keep track of everything I’m doing with all my cars. Although this is more intended to be a fairly private journal of my activity, I hope that it can prove useful to anyone looking to do similar with their builds.
2020 – Much of 2020 ended up shifting around due to Covid-19. We are introducing a new driver to the team, Y. Kim. I sold the M3, which all but sealed my effort at being “serious” at autox, ending an admittedly lackluster career – I will continue autocross in order to test n tune cars, and I still believe it is the best way of getting used to the feeling of a car at the limit. Otherwise, for the first time in 2020, I plan to begin competing in various time attack series with my Evo.
One thought on “About”
Hey Sam, it’s really good to have a fellow mini auto-xer like you.
After reading your “about” page, I reallized that we have many goals/flavours in common.
Since you asked about my goal last time,,
My goal is,
*Develop my skill as a driver
*Build my brand/identity/reputation especially in Korea
*Be in top 3 in Street class at local auto-x cup 2014
And my ultimate goal with Mini is,, to prove that MINI isn’t just a fashion car for “Gangnam” regidents,, and show them(mainly Koreans) what it capable of at the track/amature road race situation.
That’s what I’ve been doing for 2 and half years after the purchase.
Too bad that I have been kept it for almost stock and used lesser tires to prove what “stock” mini can do at track, and to train myself… Said, that was a good idea but killed time to seriously prep it for street class and get into competition at Auto-x events.
Now I’m planning to move to Korea end of this yeat for more motorsport activity/relationships, only have half of the season left. Incoming baby is another factor.
Fortunately, having 3 events in this year after setup,
Im just getting used to my new setup(sticky zii and rsb), starting to make acceptable results(pax 23rd out of 90 drivers, 2nd in street class) will do my best effort to get into top 3 in street class with cup point at end of the season even if it looks hard.
(I need to beat es miatas with race shocks/more experience than myself)
So,, keep in touch, it will be helpful for both of us to advance and achieve our goals.