Adjustable Nitron suspension, a Quaife sequential gearbox and 265bhp sounds like the perfect fast road MINI. Except the latest JCW CHALLENGE car isn’t road legal – but that hasn’t stopped Ryan Dignan.
Hands up how many of you have drooled over the latest F56 JCW CHALLENGE race car and thought how cool it would be to build something similar for the road? Okay, so I haven’t forgotten about the hardcore JCW CHALLENGE, but those special 50 are converted road cars, rather than proper race cars. Ryan’s car doesn’t even have headlights as standard equipment and costs almost £42,000 when new!
Well, with the 2017 MINI JCW CHALLENGE over by the end of September, and Brett Smith crowned as champion, it was time for the drivers to have a well-earned rest and the teams running them to refresh and rebuild these mini touring cars. All ready for the start of the next season, which should be in April.
Not in Ryan Dignan’s case. After a successful first season, and the buzz of finishing 16th out of 32 entries, he wanted more. Instead of resting his modern MINI racer, he wanted to do the unthinkable and get this 2014 JCW CHALLENGE MINI on the road! “When the season finished towards the end of September, I knew it was something I wanted to sort before the winter months properly set in,” explains Ryan.
Seemingly impossible, but believe it or not, MINI CHALLENGE bodyshells come off the same Plant Oxford production line as any other F56 hatch. Then, they are sent straight to MINI Challenge HQ at ExcelR8 Motorsport in Norfolk to be converted into JCW Championship cars. “Getting the MINI CHALLENGE car road registered was something I had been looking at doing for a while, but race commitments and work left me with little time to get it sorted,” he adds.
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January - February 2018