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Mini E Race – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 13-mile long Nürburgring-Nordschleife is one of the most treacherous race tracks in the world, even on the best of days. Taking it on in the fog seems like a recipe for disaster. Nonetheless, that's exactly what a BMW engineering team did recently with a very special edition of the Mini E. The team took one of the battery-powered Minis, applied some weight reduction measures to the body and then installed the usual array of racing bits – new tires, brakes and a rollcage.

The electric powertrain underwent some recalibration, likely to tone down the Mini E's overly aggressive regenerative brakes, before ex-DTM race driver Thomas Jäger took to the 'Ring. Jäger managed to set a reasonably respectable lap time of 9 minutes, 51.45 seconds with a maximum speed of 116.2 miles per hour. No word from BMW on how much juice remained in the battery at the end of the lap. Check out a highlight real of the lap after the jump.


  • MINI E Race crossing the finish line. (04/2010)
  • MINI E Race and its driver Thomas J�ger, the former DTM pro. (04/2010)
  • MINI E Race on the N�rburgring-Nordschleife. (04/2010)
  • MINI E Race on the N�rburgring-Nordschleife. (04/2010)
  • MINI E Race. 100% electric power, zero-emission. (04/2010)
  • MINI E Race (right) und MINI E (left). (04/2010)
  • MINI E Race (right) und MINI E (left). (04/2010)

[Source: BMW]



PRESS RELEASE

Green power through the Green Hell.

* 12.04.2010
* Press Release

Munich/Nürburg. Taking on the infamous Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit at race speed with an electrically powered car is an ambitious project, but the BMW Group has just become the first car manufacturer to make it happen. Today the MINI E Race, a modified race-spec version of the standard MINI E, completed a lap of the legendary 20.8 km "Green Hell" in a time of 09:51.45 minutes. The MINI E Race hit a top speed of 187 km/h.

"The length and profile of the Nordschleife place extreme demands on the technology of our electric car. But the MINI E Race met this considerable challenge with great authority," said the BMW Group's Peter Krams, who headed up the project. "The aim of this unique undertaking was to provide an impressive showcase of the great potential of the MINI E and its environment-friendly drive concept."

At the wheel of the electric racer for the hot lap was former DTM racing driver Thomas Jäger from Munich. "I've driven this circuit many times, but never in such an extraordinary car," said Jäger, the MINI Challenge champion in 2006. "The power of the electric motor has an incredible effect, as you can access its full reserves of torque at all times. Another element of this fascinating experience is the lack of noise from the drivetrain. All in all, that was certainly the cleanest and quietest race lap I've ever driven."

Extensive preparations had to be completed before the car could roll out onto the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. The MINI E Race was fitted with a special lightweight body and a roll cage in order to ensure optimum performance and safety on the track. And various other components, such as the suspension, brakes and tyres, are also race specification. Other than that, however, the car relies almost exclusively on the standard technical make-up of the MINI E. For example, it shares the same 150 kW/204 hp electric motor, supplied with energy from 5,088 lithium-ion battery cells. The control electronics and the software were reprogrammed to achieve an optimal driving performance for the Nordschleife. The power from the emission-free motor is channelled to the front wheels via a single-stage helical gearbox with a lengthened gear ratio.

To see the video on the MINI E Race's lap of the Nordschleife, please go to

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z3BKaGqurQ

Here you will find technical specifications of the MINI E and the MINI E Race in the attached file.

Model-specific conversions

Interior

Recaro Pro Racer (HANS) CFRP seat, 6-way safety harness (3-inch), suede leather steering wheel 320 mm diameter

Roll cage

Bolt construction (lightweight) CrMo4, approx. 35 kg incl. mounting materials

Transmission

Mechanical multi-plate limited-slip differential with 40°/50° ramp breakover angle, 55 Nm preload

Engine

Adjusted engine management settings

Suspension

KW Variant 3 coilover suspension, tuned to the higher axle loads of the MINI E Race with modified damping characteristics and adjusted springs

Exterior

Diffusers, rear wing, CFRP body parts

Safety

Integration of special race ABS
Differentiated main switch concept


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      And they did it in the fog and drizzle! I hope that BMW can get their design closer to this Mini EV conversion, that keeps *both* it’s back seat *and* most of the boot!

      Gearless Episode Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scMd_5C-vOg&playnext_from=TL&videos=CP1bspuz2ys&feature=sub

      Gearless Episode Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT-zvFv9IrA&playnext_from=TL&videos=CP1bspuz2ys

      Now *that* would be a car I would buy!

      Sincerely, Neil
      • 5 Years Ago
      Agreed that the lap times would be substantially lower if it were dry instead of wet.

      I thrash my Mini-E at times and I can tell you, you do want to hear the motor! It's not the same as a gas engine feedback with asending and decending revs with shifting, but it is very wonderful and sensory as you hear the jet llike sound spool up and then the regen as you accelerate and decelerate.

      It's a super fun driving experiance and the car just wants to leap forward and have fun on the corners. the fun facter between 20mph and 80mph is like no other car I have driven.

      I am really looking forward to the Active-E with its rear wheel drive configuration.

      13.700 miles in 10 months.

      • 5 Years Ago
      "The electric powertrain underwent some recalibration, likely to tone
      down the Mini E's overly aggressive regenerative brakes"

      Having driven the Nurburgring in Gran Turismo 4 (over, and over, and
      over and over...), I can guarantee you that the thing you need less
      of is *not* braking power. :)

      So I doubt that. I'm sure they tinkered with other aspects however.

      Coincidentally, for comparison I've done the track in 9 minutes, 21 seconds using a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5 - 16 Evolution III (of course, in perfect weather). Doing it in less than 9 minutes in that particular car requires a seriously expert driver. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        When setting up a hybrid or pure EV, you have a decision to make on how the accelerator pedal responds. Regular cars provide some engine braking with no pedal input; do you simulate this? You can provide either a little braking when the pedal is not pressed, or a lot. BMW have chosen a one-pedal setup where lifting off the pedal provides a lot of braking, and the null point (no power delivered or generated) is quite a long way down the pedal's travel. That gives less fine control of how much power is delivered, so a racing driver might well want to have a more conventional feel.

        Most hybrids have gone with a small amount of braking to simulate engine braking in high gears, but there are advocates for no braking. (The car still slows under the influence of aerodynamic drag and other sources of resistance.) Fans of 'pulse-and-glide' driving prefer zero braking on the accelerator pedal so you don't have to find the null point in order to glide.

        For race driving the driver is generally either hard on the accelerator or hard on the brakes, a small amount of overlap helping to stabilise the handling sometimes. He accelerates as hard as possible while retaining traction until the last possible point to brake for the next corner and then brakes as hard as possible without skidding. It's completely different from road driving.

        I can't recall whether the Mini-E offers regenerative braking on the brake pedal, or whether that is friction-only. Cars with low levels of 'coast' braking offer regen on the brake pedal, mixed with friction braking.
      • 5 Years Ago
      well I guess that's ok although a ford transit van did a 10:08. driven by a girl : )
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ok. Whoever edited this video should be taken out back to the barn and shot. What's with the late night, Members Only commercial music? Wanna hear the drive train - whatever that may have sounded like. Wanna actually see the car do something instead of having it keep breaking frame.

      Thumbs up on the mini, thumbs down on the video.