The 2005 racing season for the MINI of Charleston has been filled with ups and downs this year. The season started with driver Brad Davis winning two of his first three SCCA National Championship Series races in the Blue 2002 MINI Cooper S. The race at Roebling Road in Pooler Georgia saw the team on the pole up finished poorly after a front tire failure caused the team to pit and change a tire (not a good idea in a 45 minute sprint race!). The Road Course at Daytona found the team 3rd after a close 2nd place fight and first going to Bill Gotwald, in a 2005 MINI Cooper S he purchased from MINI of Charleston the month before. Meanwhile the other part of the team, Robbie Davis, son of Executive General Manager Brad Davis, was winning races in the 2002 MINI Cooper that was one of the original 7 factory cars raced in 2002-2003 season. Rob won 3 South Atlantic Road Racing Championship Series (SARRC) events, a Carolina Cup event and co-drove with his dad to another class win in the car at Road Atlanta in an ECR endurance racing series event.
However after the “high” of the beginning of the season, the team had several bumps in the racing surface. In April, MINI USA was contacted by Customs and the EPA and informed that the requested extension to the Cooper’s testing and evaluation visa (the car was a pre-production car) had been denied and the car would have to be shipped back to Portugal or be unceremoniously crushed. So after opening the season with 7 straight victories, the car headed for the scrap heap. After the early season success of several MINIS, the SCCA added 175 pounds penalty weight to all MCSs, making the total extra weight 250 pounds. Robbie jumped into Dad’s Cooper S and proceeded to win two more SAARC races and co-drive with Dad to a 2nd in class (after running out of gas) at Daytona in another ECR event. When the team returned from Daytona it got more bad news as MINI USA had now been notified that the Cooper S was also a pre-production car and needed to suffer the same fate as the red Cooper.
MINI USA graciously agreed to provide new 2005 MINI Cooper S’s to the 4 dealership teams that had their 2002 MCSs “repossessed”. However production and paperwork delays left the MINI of Charleston team without a car for the important middle of the season races. Brad went to work to find a temporary solution and purchased the 2004 South East Division (SEDiv) class champion car. However, no matter what circumstances, a factory MINI driver is not comfortable racing a Honda Civic SI. So based MINI’s ad agency’s successful Counterfeit MINI campaign, the team used 4 rolls of duct tape and converted the Honda into a Counterfeit MINI. Although better than missing important points races, the Civic did not win at races that the MINI surely would have dominated. Brad fell from his points lead in the division to a close 2nd.
The new car arrived less then two weeks before the final regular season event at Virginia International Raceway in Danville , Virginia . Early mornings and late hours around the regular job got the car ready in time to race the final race. Brad qualified the car in 2nd, but started from the pole when the fastest qualifier decided to start from the rear, due to an intermittent mechanical problem. The team’s only hope was to win the race and the current points leader not finish. Brad led the first 4 7/8 laps but hit a slippery spot on the track at the end of the straight and did several spins in the grass. Upon re-entering the track, Brad was 20 seconds behind the SSC class race, now in 6th position. By the end of the race he had worked his way back to 3rd, but still closes the regular season in 2nd in the SEDiv.
The car is now being prepared for Brad’s run at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in September at Mid-Ohio Raceway. Brad has also had the honor of being selected to attend the International MINI meet, MINI United, this October in Italy and will be driving one of the two John Cooper Works Challenge cars representing the USA in the International MINI Clubsport Championship on the Misano Race Track. Robbie will complete his season with the SARRC Invitational at Roebling Road in October. Rob needs only to finish in the top 5 to secure the SSC SARRC Championship in his rookie year.
Brad Davis – 8 SCCA National Races:
3 Fastest Qualifier, 2 First Places, 7 top 3 finishes, 1 ECR First Place
Robbie Davis – 7 SARRC Races:
7 Fastest Qualifier , 7 First Places, 1 Carolina Cup Race, Fastest Qualifier and First Place finish,
2 ECR endurance races:
1 Fastest Qualifier, 1 First Place , 1 Second Place
For additional Information contact Brad Davis @ 843 402-6551