Competition world

In good company

The Mini had been in the competition world almost from the first test runs when it put the big Jags in their place around the lanes of Oxford. The first big success for a Mini came with Pat Moss's win in the 1962 Tulip Rally, in a 997 cc Mini Cooper. On the track however, Sir John Whitmore won the 1961 British Saloon Car Championship in a Mini Minor then in 1962 John Love did the same with a Mini Cooper. In the same year Minis swept the board in rallies, collecting nine class wins and three outright wins in international events.

April of 1963, saw the first Mini Cooper S with the new 1071cc engine.
The engine was closely related to the Formula Junior racing unit and produced around 70bhp. Early cars were sold only to selected competition drivers, but as production rose it was made available to the public.

The Mini Cooper'S' became an outstanding rally car for BMC's competitions department. From 1964 four international events were won outright by Cooper 'S's, these were the Tulip, International Welsh, Circuit of Ireland and Monte Carlo rallies.

The Monte Carlo wining car was 33 EJB a 1071 'S' that was driven by Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon was the navigator. The wining car was then put aboard an aircraft flown back to England, and appeared centre stage at Sunday Night at London Palladium, a televised variety show of the time.