September 26, 2022

As Darren Webb has found with this manic modified Mini Cooper S R56 challenge, making an attempt one thing sudden and following your intestine can actually provide you with wings

Characteristic from Efficiency Mini journal. Photographs: Wealthy Pearce.

Pink Bull is a type of manufacturers whose title implies impeccable high quality when it’s plastered alongside the facet of a race automotive. Your mind fortunately suspends the data that the product in query is, in actual fact, a cloyingly saccharine fizzy drink, as there are such a lot of different high-octane associations which might be pushed to front-of-mind whenever you see that racy canvas, liberally sprinkled with yellow suns and, sure, purple bulls.

The livery has slipped seamlessly into the pantheon of all-time classics – not fairly up there with Gulf, Martini or JPS, however definitely on the best way. Give it some thought: numerous F1 championship wins, NASCAR, Dakar, that astounding Peugeot 207 that decimated the Pikes Peak report, you title it – Pink Bull and quick vehicles go hand-in-hand.

It is sensible, then, that this race-themed scheme ought to discover its manner onto Darren Webb’s modified Mini Cooper S R56. In spite of everything, that is no unusual Cooper S. This can be a poised and agile creature, able to pounce with devastating drive, its solid motor thrumming to the beat of 390hp. That’s reasonably a big quantity, however this was at all times destined to be a go-big-or-go-home flex for Darren.

“My ardour for vehicles began at a really early age,” he explains. “Clearly, within the early days, finances and insurance coverage restricted the alternatives of automobiles I might afford; the massive weapons must wait, however again then, I ran a valeting firm – so no matter automotive I had was at all times trying immaculate! My first automotive was a Ford Fiesta, and like many an fanatic, I did get bored very simply… so it’s protected to say that almost all of my wages within the early days went into funding my ardour.”

As time handed by, these insurance coverage issues naturally began to soften away though, on the identical time, life started to get in the best way, and Darren discovered himself needing wise transport to ferry the rising household round. As a self-employed carpenter, he modified the workhorse – a VW Transporter – to function as each a load-lugger and a household wagon. However it wasn’t precisely flicking the quick automotive change.

“As Covid hit and the primary lockdown was upon us, I set about doing all these jobs at house, that are on each tradesman’s listing of issues to do,” he continues. “With the constructing trade being very restricted at the moment, I had loads of time on my fingers to rekindle my ardour for efficiency vehicles! I made a decision I wished to discover a automotive that may turn into a lockdown challenge: one thing which I might construct into a singular one-of-a-kind creation that I might take to meets and exhibits to work together with fellow lovers.

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By this time, I had already swapped the VW for a piece van and an Audi S4 Avant, which acted because the household automotive, and that gave me the chance so as to add a challenge to the fleet that I might modify in my spare time.”

Close up of wheels on modified mini cooper s R56

Curiously, Darren didn’t set out particularly to discover a Mini at first. The over-arching quest was merely to accumulate one thing fast that was a bit completely different to the whole lot he’d owned earlier than. He meant to speculate a good period of time, cash, sweat and tears into this dream, as he was now lucky sufficient to be ready to take action, and so the search started. With an open temporary like this, it may be a bit overwhelming to pore over the classifieds and take within the sheer breadth of speedy machines out there available on the market, however after a number of weeks of consideration, Darren started to slim the factors down.

He’d coated many miles to view all types of vehicles and never discovered something that actually ignited his passions, nevertheless it was an opportunity discover on Fb Market one night that allowed the items to lastly begin clicking into place. “I’ve at all times been within the MINI, however by no means owned one as, to be trustworthy, it was by no means on my most well-liked listing of vehicles to buy,” he says. “However I turned immediately intrigued by this advert I noticed and rang the proprietor to ask after I might view the automotive. Boris, named due to lockdown, was a 2008 Cooper S with a Stage 1 map.

I went to Bournemouth to have a look, and the check drive was, to say the least, exhilarating! I used to be hooked, it was love at first drive. My thoughts was firmly made up, there was no level in persevering with the search, I needed to have this automotive.”

Modified Mini Cooper S R56 engine shot

As has been the best way over the past couple of years or so, work was ebbing and flowing between lockdowns and restrictions, and when Darren purchased this R56, he discovered that he was out of the blue very busy once more. However that didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for constructing the Mini in any respect.

Positive, he might have left it because it was and loved it, because it was a wonderfully first rate little automotive. However it had been the sport plan to mod it from the beginning, and that’s exactly what he meant to do. So, discovering time between jobs, Darren was doing an increasing number of analysis into the Mini aftermarket to reimagine the Cooper S into one thing next-level.

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Interior of Mini Cooper S build

“On the primary weekend, Boris obtained a first-class valet so I might give the whole lot an in depth inspection,” he recollects. “I knew how I wished him to look and began to design the outside – this a part of the transformation I might do independently, with the assistance of Phil Southgate from Tintinit, who would supply my designs as vinyl stickers. All the main engine modifications would wish steering from my go-to mechanic, Steve Gorrage from NSG, who was the important thing to the success of the challenge avoiding expensive errors. Steve and I sat down to debate what I wanted to make this Mini a show-stopper in efficiency, and a plan of motion  was executed.”

Darren’s in-depth analysis had highlighted Lohen as a protected pair of fingers when it got here to embiggening the spirit of the Mini and having drawn up a components listing with Steve, he positioned an order and sat patiently by the postbox to await the substances for the automotive’s reformulation. And whereas he was ready for the shiny new solid motor to reach, Darren made essentially the most of his spare time to spend each out there minute chucking the R56 down nation lanes to essentially get to know the dealing with and determine what could possibly be improved.

Close up of Milltek exhaust

Appearing as a stress-reliever after lengthy days on the constructing web site, driving the Mini turned more and more addictive, and it’s honest to say the passion for the challenge was rising by the day.

To tide him over earlier than the massive energy upgrades, Darren opted to seize himself a recent set of wheels, deciding upon the JR30 design from Japan Racing – an outstanding alternative that works very well with the R56’s strains. “Due to Covid and lockdown restrictions, supply of my engine wasn’t all plain crusing,” he says, “as many supply firms had employees shortages and so my persistence was actually stretched at this level.

Each Steve and I simply wished to crack on! However lastly, the engine arrived, so the operation might start. We began with Lohen’s solid N14 crate motor, Schrick Gen 2 cams, a Quaife ATB diff, and a Helix Autosport four-paddle clutch and flywheel equipment. We additionally went with a Lohen 330 hybrid turbo, Turbosmart Kompact EM sequence BOV, and a Milltek 3” stainless exhaust system. This made Boris go from 200hp to 390hp!” he exclaims with a smile.

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Fairly staggering beneficial properties, and it’s simply as effectively Darren went with the ATB as that’s an entire lot of grunt to throw by the entrance wheels. With the {hardware} all put in, he then wanted to drive the freshly up to date Mini as much as Lohen in order that they might map it to Stage 3 specs.

Because of Covid, he couldn’t truly witness this taking place as he needed to sit masked-up within the ready room, however the noises coming from the subsequent room had been definitely fairly thrilling. And the drive house? That was really transcendent. Boris had developed into an entire different entity.

Rear shot of Modified Mini Cooper S R56

“Driving this little automotive gave me excessive pleasure even earlier than all of the modifications,” he beams. “However now it’s simply pure exhilaration, a whole stress-buster, a singular super-high-performance automotive that I created. Not solely am I proud to indicate him off, however I do know I positively made the correct choice to go along with my intestine and personal a Mini.”

Regardless of all of the pandemic-related setbacks, the entire challenge solely took Darren round six months to finish, and with Steve’s assist all of it got here in on finances too. With large Tarox brakes and Tein coilovers serving to to make the most effective of all this newfound energy, this indignant R56 has actually discovered its wings – and Darren’s eager to take pleasure in it to the fullest throughout the summer time of 2022 and past. It seems that bottling the aggression of a Pink Bull race automotive into the diminutive Mini footprint is a recipe for sudden thrills. He could have began out merely searching for a lockdown challenge of non-specific origin, however the modified Mini Cooper S R56 has correctly taken flight.

Trying to purchase and tune a R56 Mini Cooper S? Try our purchaser’s and tuning guides.

Tech Spec: Modified Mini Cooper S R56


1.6-litre turbo N14 absolutely solid by Lohen, AEM consumption, Airtec intercooler, Schrick Gen 2 cams (248° period), Lohen 330 hybrid turbo, Forge turbo blanket, Turbosmart Kompact EM Sequence blow-off valve, Milltek 3” stainless-steel exhaust system, Stage 3 map




Six-speed guide gearbox, Quaife ATB differential, Helix Autosport four-paddle clutch and flywheel equipment


Tein coilovers


Tarox six-pot entrance calipers, drilled and grooved discs

Wheels & Tyres:

17” Japan Racing JR30 wheels with 215/40 Kumho Ecsta PS71 tyres


OMP Tremendous Quadro steering wheel with purple stitching and purple centre stripe, sprint trim in Pink Bull colors, HUD projector, rear seat delete


Customized Pink Bull Racing livery, bigger bonnet scoop, rear spoiler extension, rear diffuser