Part 4 - Building a Pole Winning B-Spec Car - The Fast Parts
Updated: Nov 4, 2019
We now have a running, legal car to race B-Spec for $5,600 but we certainly do not have a competitive car. The nice part of B-Spec is spending a ton of money on the engine will not make it more competitive but the same is not true about the parts that make the car handle. That is where the real expense sits as you will see. We almost double the costs.
The obviously place to start is with the brakes. Because it does not matter how fast you are, if you can't stop you will not complete a lap. A proper set of race pads from one of the 3 main companies that provide them will set you back $350. This is another area where the Mini has both a advantage and disadvantage over the other cars in the class. The Mini is the only car with rear discs so pads can be expensive. Others that race cars that use rear drums have commented that they use inexpensive street compound shoes. Stainless lines are also recommended. For most cars you can get a set for $100 so the brakes are a $450 upgrade.
The next place to change is the shocks/struts and springs. Most cars in the class now have Bilstein B14 part numbers available . Unfortunately they are hard/impossible to find individually and the springs that come with the sets are too soft to be competitive. For the Mini the B14 kit runs around $850 although availability is hit-and-miss and we have seen prices from $750-1,100 over the past year. We paid $900 for ours because we needed immediate shipment. We tossed the springs and converted to 2.5" ID race springs of 6" length. These short springs required the use of helper springs and collars to fit them. We used 500# front (that is the stiffest allowed by the rules) and 450# rear. The race springs are around $50 each, the helper springs are around $25 each and the proper collars/spacers to allow the use of the helper springs was $15/corner for a total of $360. There were two other areas we upgraded, the camber plates and a rear sway bar. The rules allow a thicker Progress bar for the rear, which we ordered for $190 and the front camber plates can range from $200-450 depending on the brand. We used the most expensive brand, Vorschlag, based on the recommendation of Chad at Detroit Tuned and they ran us $440. So in the end the suspension cost us $1,900.
The final piece of the puzzle was wheels and tires. Luckily the SCCA rules require a minimum weight on the wheels so finding inexpensive wheels is fairly easy for most cars in the class. We went with Konigs from Summit Racing at $90/each. We have seen them on sale for $70 at various times and they have other styles and colors available for as much as $115. So we have $360 in the budget for 1 set of wheels but if you race regularly, having extra wheels and tires is critical. Tires are the biggest expense over time and they can be quite expensive. The top of the line Hoosiers that most people in the class use run $270 each and can last from 3-5 weekends. There are less expensive tires that have 95% of the performance at 60% of the cost but since this article is about the car that sat on the pole, we are showing the budget that way. Wheels and tires? $1,440.
Think we are done yet? Not quite. You have to mount and balance the tires - we pay $20 each but others pay much more. Minis use bolts and we recommend switching to longer proper race studs so you will have another $150 there - ours came from Motorsports Hardware. And you need a proper alignment which can run from $100-200. And finally, the rules allow the ECU to be "tuned" which basically means changes to the software controlling timing and injectors etc to gain about 4-5 HP. This is different for each car and based on which tuning house you use. We got ours done at Detroit Tuned for $650.
At this point we have added $4,900 to the original $5,600 for a total price of $10,500. This does not count all our time and effort nor does it include the amounts we spent having other people do some of the work (because we did not have the time). But slightly more than $10k to build a car that sat on the pole in its inaugural outing at the 2019 SCCA Runoffs sounds like a bargain.
PS this budget does not include graphics. You can easily spend anywhere from $250 - 2,000 on graphics alone.
Come back soon for Part 5 - What does it cost to race a B-Spec.