September 26, 2022

This superior modified Mini R50 Race automotive is a 407whp turbocharged drive to be reckoned with.

Function from Efficiency Mini journal. Phrases: Martyn Collins. Pictures: Wealthy Pearce.

After reducing his tooth modifying Ford RS and Cosworth fashions whereas working for the Hendy Ford Rally Workforce, and having a Mk1 Fiesta as his first automotive, you would possibly suppose Nigel Marsh was destined for modifying future quick blue-oval fashions. So why did this Ford fan find yourself proudly owning and constructing this modified Mini R50 observe automotive? Effectively, Nigel admits his admiration of the first-generation grew from working a storage (Engine Evolution), which specialises in them.

“A number of prospects began needing theirs fixing, some wanting them modified. I loved the problem and determined to make my very own,” he tells us as we chat, and a broken R50 Cooper Problem automotive (take a look at our R50 purchaser’s information) rapidly adopted. “I used to work in a bodyshop, so we acquired it in and repaired it – or so we thought. Then, we tried to place a cage in it as I used to be going to construct it – and the cage wouldn’t match! It seems the shell was a little bit of a banana, and I ended up scrapping it,” Nigel explains.

However that wasn’t the top of his and that Mini’s story, as Nigel then was looking out for an additional shell to switch all of the Problem elements into. “I discovered this R50 shell on eBay from a breaker, I attempted to purchase the latest I may discover – this was a 2005, and I began yet again!” It was a pink non-sunroof shell, so he transferred all of the elements over, and this Mini developed from there, though he admits that the ‘Problem’ rocker cowl is likely one of the few unique elements that has remained.

Nigel’s modified Mini R50 observe automotive was all the time constructed to take part within the Fortress Combe Saloon Automobile Championship. So, so long as the automotive has pressured induction it’s allowed to race. Though, if this automotive was going to be supercharged, Nigel knew he was going to return up in opposition to efficiency points. “With a supercharger, you’ll be able to solely realistically get 250-270whp, however I needed to construct this Mini so it will make 400hp on the wheels. That’s what it does, I don’t want it to be any extra highly effective,” he smiles. So, Nigel’s Mini was all the time going to be turbocharged.


Roll cage in modified mini r50 race car

The primary job was to dispatch the shell to Customized Cages to have an FIA-approved cage fitted, and it ended up taking 5 months for the job to be accomplished. Then it was time for a brand new coat of Skoda Metal Gray with a pink roof, plus Aero package and the Mini Problem rear spoiler.

After speaking to specialists, who weren’t eager to promote him the elements to make the turbo conversion, Nigel thought he’d do it himself. “I spoke to Dave King at JEK, who constructed the manifold, and I assumed, you already know what, he appeared to know what he was doing, so I went with him. He did all of the manifold, the intercooler, the radiator and the oil cooler. We took the aluminium crash bar off the entrance, and it’s been changed by a bespoke entrance finish for it, so if I punt somebody in a race, it gained’t injury the radiator,” he explains.

Digital display in modified mini r50 race car

Elsewhere, the downpipe and exhaust system are from Mini Sport, in actual fact from Daniel Harper’s previous Cooper S rally automotive. “That was purchased eight or 9 years in the past once I had the Garrett GT28 turbo on the again. It made 327whp then, with that turbo on it and everybody mentioned you’ll be able to’t get extra out of it, so I assumed we needed to put an even bigger one on it!” Nonetheless, an even bigger turbo wouldn’t match on the again of the engine, in order that’s why it’s been mounted on the facet.

Additional turbo work noticed Nigel improve that GT28 to a GT32, however there have been extra issues as that wasn’t actually spooling up till 5000rpm. “It didn’t have the oomph to make it spool, then it will simply are available with a large clout, and that was pointless.” So, because the G25-550 turbo had simply come out, Nigel acquired one and bolted it on. “It was so significantly better, it’s acquired good energy supply on it,” he smiles.

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engine in modified mini r50 race car

The engine itself was constructed by Brett Sims Motorsport and has a scrumptious race specification. It contains Carrillo rods and pistons, has a completely flowed and ported head with double springs and outsized valves, titanium valve-spring tops and collets, a Brett Sims race cam, a Revolution Motor Works inlet manifold, ASNU 1050cc injectors, Audi RS coil packs, a bespoke WOSP alternator and a light-weight clutch and flywheel.

Suspension got here subsequent, with Nigel becoming AST coilovers, DNA rose-jointed entrance arms, Mini Sport rear arms with R56 trailing arms which are absolutely rose-jointed and Roll Centre correction spacers. “These have been all chosen as they suited the championship I used to be aiming to do,” Nigel explains.

It was then time to give attention to this Mini’s wiring. The bespoke wiring loom is the work of Longman Racing, well-known for its work on Traditional Minis. The sprint show is a Stack one, fitted in a bespoke sprint panel that, just like the exhaust, got here from Mini Sport.

Braking is taken care of by HiSpec calipers on the entrance, the identical as these on Mini Problem automobiles, whereas the wheels on the Mini within the photographs are cast aluminium Stuttgarts, so that they’re very mild and powerful. Nigel additionally has units of Rotas, Speedlines and Workforce Dynamics, which he makes use of for testing or as wets.

Altogether, Nigel reckons it has most likely taken him eight years to get there, however he’s had some unhealthy luck and a pandemic get in the way in which. “It truly took two to 3 years to construct it, however I’ve simply been actually unfortunate with circumstances. There was the time spent ready for the cage to be fitted. Then once we went testing in it with the GT28 turbo, which is vacuum-controlled, the pipe fell off, and it went on full increase and totalled the engine! That’s one more reason why they modified the MBE to a MaxxECU, because it had no increase safety.”

The plan this yr is to lastly go racing, however he admits 407whp won’t now be sufficient. “The issue with that racing collection is that once I began to construct this automotive with 400whp, you’d be within the prime 5 automobiles. Two years later, you now want 600whp! That is most likely within the prime 10 of automobiles, however, down the straights, you’re by no means going to maintain up with them. Across the corners, it gained’t be so unhealthy, however I want extra seat time on this automotive.”

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Nigel admits his precedence now could be constructing prospects’ automobiles however thinks, if he wants it, he would possibly match an extended closing drive ratio for extra pace. “Elite Racing Transmissions, who did the gearbox, makes two closing drives – a shorter one or an extended one – however it’s one other £1500 to do! It’s good for an additional 20wph on the prime, although, I might have thought.”

Tuners won’t admit it, however as Nigel has proved, it’s fairly onerous to get a real 400whp out of a modified Mini R50. However, Nigel’s turbo R50 race automotive doesn’t simply speak the speak: with a confirmed 407whp, it could stroll the stroll, too.

rear shot of modified mini r50 race car

Tech Spec: Modified Mini R50 Race Automobile


1.6-litre Tritec constructed by Brett Sims Motorsports, Carrillo rods and pistons, absolutely flowed and ported head, Brett Sims race cam, double springs and outsized valves, titanium valve spring-tops and collets, JEK exhaust manifold with a Garrett G25-550 turbo, JEK downpipe, customized intercooler, radiator and oil cooler with pipework to match, Revolution Motor Works inlet manifold chopped and modified to swimsuit, ASNU 1050cc injectors, Audi RS coil packs, bespoke WOSP alternator




Elite Racing Transmissions straight-cut six-speed canine field, light-weight clutch and flywheel, bespoke Mini Sport plated differential


AST coilovers, DNA rose-joined entrance arms, Mini Sport rear arms, absolutely rose-jointed R56 trailing arms, roll centre correction spacers


HiSpec six-piston callipers with 310mm discs, bespoke pedal field, Alcon cylinders

Wheels & Tyres:

17’ Stuttgart cast alloy wheels, Yokohama A052 tyres


Mini Sport carbon dashboard, Longman Racing (OBR) PDM, Stack LCD 7” multi-function sprint logger with a professional race ECU, Tremendous B battery, Cartek battery isolator, Lifeline Zero 360 fireplace extinguisher system, ATL gasoline tank, full Raychem-spec motorsport loom with Deutsch connectors, Corbeau racing seat, Sparco harness, Sparco steering wheel with bespoke swap panel


Full Aero package, MINI Problem rear spoiler, Skoda Metal Gray physique, pink roof