Team Octane’s MINI at the World Challenge Series of the 2013 Honda Toronto Indy!

MINI Team Octane Alain Lauziere at Honda Toronto Indy 2013 World Challenge Series

Alain Lauziere and lilcoopr at the 2013 Toronto Indy

Sorting through my external harddrives of MINI footage that I haven’t edited and uploaded yet… Came across this goodie!

I gratefully had the experience to be a Flag Girl for Team Octane (Team Octane / Equipe Octane) in the World Challenge series race at the Honda Toronto Indy last summer (2013). In the pits, really awesome experience for a MINIac! Thank you Team Octane & Alain Lauziere!!! Also, MINI of Charleston makes an appearance with their B-spec MINI racer also entered in the series!

Follow and support Alain Lauziere’s Team Octane (Equipe Octane) on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/EquipeOctane

Catch more lilcooprTV action:
Instagram: @lilcoopr
Twitter: @lilcoopr
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lilcooprTV
Blog: Confessions of a MINIac www.lilcoopr.com

Happy Motoring

5 Things I Dislike About My 2009 JCW Clubman

After driving STELLAtoo for more than ½ a year and 10,000 KMs, I’ve come to really love but also dislike a few things about her.  Nothing that I dislike is enough to make me downgrade the car in my mind: I still think it’s absolutely amazing!  This list is more of a “sigh, STELLAtoo doesn’t do this…” kinda list.  Not a “OMG don’t buy an R55/56/57 because it’s bad.”  Nothing like that at all, OK? :)
Feel free to sound off in the comments whether you agree or disagree!
5 Things I Dislike about STELLAtoo (in no particular order):
1) No ram air.

I loved motoring around in STELLA (2006 Cooper S) without using any energy-consuming methods to blow air around the cabin.  It blew just enough air around to keep things fresh even though the system was off.  Don’t want any air circulating today?  No problem, just take 2 seconds to close the vents/direct them somewhere else and keep motoring.  Adam dislikes the ram air because he says it dries his contacts – I never had that problem!
In STELLAtoo, when the fan system is off, it’s OFF.  Nothing.  Absolutely nothingggg comes out of the vents.  It’s as if they are closed.  I find myself turning on the fan on speed 1 or 2 just to get things moving a bit.  With the music off, you can faintly hear a motor of some sort kick in when the system is turned on.  That gives me the impression I am using energy of some sort that’s taking away from my fuel economy and perhaps overall power?

Turn the system on low or open the window a crack.  Or get used to no air circulating.  I guess the bottom line is that I enjoyed the air blowing without me needing to turn anything on!
2) Driver’s side seatbelt gets stuck.

Every morning as I peel out of my condo parking spot, I reach for the seat belt.  And it’s stuck.  I need to make a sharp turn around the aisles while reaching for the belt.  So I stop, fiddle with it, buckle up, then keep going.  This was never a problem for 3 years with STELLA.  With STELLAtoo, the buckle part gets stuck between the seam/crack in the driver’s door.  Wedged in there and stuck on the side of the seat.  I don’t know if this happens on the passenger side.  It probably does
If I wait until I get up 3 levels and have a brief pause while the garage door opens, then I hear the “ding ding” of STELLAtoo reminding me to buckle up.  Yes, I could just buckle up before I start the car but I’m usually in a rush – excited to get out and motoring!

Adjusting the seat in any which way didn’t help, and I noticed an small (not very noticeable unless you are looking for it) indent on the side of the seat from the seatbelt in not just my car but others at the dealership.  I don’t think there’s anything that can be done other than getting used to it and adjusting my habits to reach for it when I’m not distracted by anything.  Either that or one of those plastic-y mechanisms you see in some cars that pushes the seatbelt forward and kinda holds it?  Do those things work?  Not only are they visual-unappealing, but they have the potential to be more annoying.  Will look into that and update you!
3) Melting (dented) hood scoop.

This topic has been done to death over the forums for owners with a R56/55/57.  The heat put out by the turbo is so freakin insane!  About an hour after motoring, I washed my car and when the water hit that area, it sizzled and created steam!  I’ve looked into the M7 heat shield but have concerns about it containing the heat.  Isn’t the point of the cooling fans to circulate heat OUT of the engine bay?  Not TRAP it in a small, isolated, not-to-mention expensive part?  It’s cheaper and easier to replace the hood scoop frequently if necessary rather than need maintenance in the engine bay due to excessive heat.  MINI Durham is an authorized installer of M7 so I have easy access to the parts if I decide it is the right option for STELLAtoo.
To be honest, the melting is not THAT noticeable.  I did notice it before I read about it on the forums, but I couldn’t decide whether it was a small, aerodynamic indent purposely placed there or if my eyes/lighting was playing tricks on me.  If I don’t point it out, it’s barely noticeable to MINI owners who are not in the know and especially not noticeable to non MINI owners.
Solution: M7 Heat Shield (or isn’t there another company that makes one too?  But doesn’t that one involve taking apart something to install it? – which made me kinda uneasy).  Carbon fibre hood scoop (= $$$).  Research an aftermarket hood scoop (maybe they are constructed to better withstand the heat?).  Ask the dealership for a replacement, wait for it to melt again, and ask for another replacement – continue this process until I either get a) turned away or b) own my Coopster!
4) Double-venting sunroof.

“Wow, you have TWO sunroofs?  That is sooooooooooooooooo cooooooool!”  That’s the typical reaction I get from friends when they see me pull up with my sunroofs vented.  For years of ownership with STELLA, I thought it would be cool if the rear moon roof could open as well.  Be careful what you wish for!  I saw it on the 2007 MINIs and thought it was a great addition to the car.
To be honest, I find it creates more noise when vented on the highway.  There is also less air getting into the cabin.  I think the airflow just gets kinda thrown around up there instead of moving smoothly over the roof.  I am no physicist and I haven’t Googled the science of air flowing over an open sunroof (YET!) but I feel it’s probably not as aerodynamic due to the increased noise.  Knowing how awesomely-cool the MINI designers are, I think they thought of this, researched it, and came to the conclusion that the noise wasn’t that bad/air still flows fine/the pros outweigh the cons.
Still, if I had a button to press that would keep the rear sunroof stationary, I would press it, glue it down, and make sure it doesn’t get un-pressed.  Well, I would un-press it when motoring up to friends who are going to oooh and ahhh over it 😉

Get Ian (who created the wicked-awesome auto-up for the R50/R53) to create a circuit to interrupt the movement of the rear sunroof.  Climb up there and, out of frustration, mess with it myself so the rear roof stays put (not a good idea and not one that I will end up doing-or recommending!).  Manage my expectations of looking cool and having quiet airflow while motoring at highway speeds.  Yeah, I’ll choose the last option for now!
5) Little things I liked about STELLA.

The VERY audible burble and pop of my exhaust.
Radio controls that were more intuitive.
R53 body style.
Super-super charger power.  Let me explain this one:  Picture this… highway onramp.  Accelerating speed.  Merging into traffic.  I pushed the RPMs higher on STELLA and increased my speed to more than I would be cruising at and created this super-super charger power that sustained the rest of the journey.  I perfected this for more than 2 years and made notes of how to access it.  Basically, my theory is that you set the “limit” for the cruise high from the beginning so STELLA gets all that power ready, and then you slow down to your cruising-with-the-flow-of-traffic speed and she maintains this extra boost of power.  The car ultimately feels a LOT faster!  I talked to my manager at MINI Durham and he said there is science behind it – so it’s not all in my head that I have extra power.  On days when it wasn’t safe to sharply accelerate when on-ramping, I noticed she was still powerful, just not in the same way.
There’s nothing like this whatsoever with the turbo.  I can press the sport button anytime I want and get an extra boost of power, but with the supercharger, I felt like I was unlocking a secret source of energy within the car.  It’s like getting to a new level in a game from P4RGaming that unlocks new features!
Drive an R53!  Just kidding!  It’s natural to pick out favourite parts of everything in life.  What it comes down to is really personal choice to find the right car for you.

I love the new car for so many other reasons that I can adjust and overlook some R53 quirks.  It’s just nice to know that they impacted your life so much that you miss them once in a while.  It’s also nice to know that the two cars are so different, but at the same time, so similar.  Based on what you prefer, you can choose the MINI that fits you the best.  There are die-hard R53 owners who say they wouldn’t dare drive anything else (that was me before!).  There are also die-hard R55/56 owners who are loyal to the new features and couldn’t look back (I walk the line of happy with my R53 AND R55!).
I think it’s a testament to the vehicle that I drove it for 7 months, put on 10,000 KMs, and have only a little list of minor things.  These five “dislikes” are really just out of habit of driving an R53 for 3.5 years and getting used to the car.  Adjustment “dislikes”, if you will.  They absolutely don’t impact my day-to-day motoring enough that I would choose a different car or recommend someone purchase something else.  NICEEEEEEEEEEEEE – I like happy endings! 😀
How do you feel about the two generations of MINI?

Which do you prefer?

Do you agree with my list?  Disagree?

Got any solutions? *YAY

That’s what the COMMENTS are for!!!
Happy motoring,
PS: Look for a list of things I LIKE about STELLAtoo, my 2009 JCW Clubman, in just a couple days!

Guide to Custom Bonnet Stripes (R56)

I get emailed this question A LOT… “Where did you get your stripes done? They look like they are factory stripes, except for the custom colour!!”

Well, I took a blank sheet of paper to a dealership and traced the stripes!! There was a member of SOMC who wanted to do the same but for some reason his local dealer didn’t have any MINIs with bonnet stripes on display… So I did it for him:

Hopes this helps someone else out too!!! Happy Motoring and I’d LOVE to see the pictures when they are done 😉

VIDEO!! East Enders MINI Motoring Club – March Meet

Hey Guys!

Here’s a little video I put together from the March meet of the East Enders MINI Motoring Club!

Check it out on the East Enders blog here: http://eastendersminimotoringclub.blogspot.com/ or here on Youtube :)

The next EEMMC meet is this Thursday from 7-9pm…. Here is the official info from the invite that I designed:

Hope to see you out this Thursday!!

Happy Motoring :)

"Only R53s motor."

Random little ditty of the day: I found this in a member’s signature on NAM:

The R56 is a car designed for mass production for weak minded individuals, by accountants. The R53 was designed by passion and dedication, and was withdrawn from production because it’s profit margin was not worth the number of vehicles BMW was producing, which was over 300% more than was anticipated from market research. Dont be fooled. Know the truth. Only R53s Motor.”

Hmm, R56s can obviously motor too! I do agree that production costs were a big factor in the redesigning of the MINIs, but I think that they did a really nice job with keeping the design similar. When I show friends a picture of a 2006 and 2007 MINI, they often can’t tell them apart! So I can’t complain. I do love my Stella though and I’m glad she’s an R53 — just for my own sake :)


My mum and I had to go on an adventure today. I had JUST enough gas (“just” is the key word here) to make it to a gas station within maximum of 2 kms. We finally found premium at a Sunoco. 94 Octane, baby! Stella’s happy! Now I can finally turn on my heat! On Wednesday when I went to school, I knew I had just enough to make it there and back and all the gas stations on the way were out of gas, so I had to be frugal with the heat. I just wore lots of warm gear and I was ok :)

Another update: The winter storm last night/yesterday was crazy! They ended up closing school at 3pm yesterday so it was good that I didn’t try to head out to class as it would have been a waste of gas and time. Driving through bad weather is also really exhausting. It snowed like crazy all day and the freezing rain started around 4pm. It started as ice pellets hitting my bedroom window, but turned into rain later on in the night. The rain continued all night (until 3am at least because that’s when I went to sleep). We even had thunder and lightning! The power kept flickering and it actually went out for a minute or so around 3am. That’s when I decided that I wasn’t going to get any more work done that night! The winds were also crazy all night. I could see the silhouettes of the trees blowing against the night sky. Very crazy storm. This morning when I woke up, there was over a metre of snow infront of all the doors/exits to the house from all the blowing! I literally put on ski pants and boots and jumped and played around in it for a bit :) I waited until the roads were clear (which happened quite quickly) and then headed out on that gas adventure as mentioned above. It started snowing again quite heavily this afternoon, but nothing serious like last night, thank goodness!

Also, my heart goes out to those families that lost sons/daughters in the Enterprise High School tornado disaster in Alabama. I wonder why they had school on a day that they had serious tornado warnings, though! I guess when you live in an area that has warnings like that all the time, you start to take them kind of lightly. It must have been horrific for those students to see their friends crushed under debris from the roof and the tornado!

Anyways, I have a midterm on Tuesday in my Finance class so I should get back to studying. I got a lot done today and yesterday because of the snow. I still need to get more done tonight since I work tomorrow and there’s no guarantee that I’ll have time to do it incase we get really busy – like we have been lately with the R56s and stuff! Also, I have 4 concerts coming up in 7 days! Oh wow, that’s gonna be nutssssss!! Three in a row from Wednesday to Friday. I can’t wait though!! 😀 Have a great weekend!!

PS: As you can tell, I’ve stopped using song lyrics as the titles of my posts. It was confusing a lot of people and they thought that that’s how I felt, when really I just liked that particular lyric. I’ll still do it sometimes, though, when I don’t have a particularly good title 😉

MINI Waterloo gets the R56s!!!

MINI Waterloo got the R56 2007 MINIs on February 15th! Just a day shy of Valentine’s Day! I’ve been really excited to see the reactions of everyone, especially the customers! The Toronto Auto Show has definitely been bringing more people into the show room. This past Saturday, we were very busy!! Now is also the best time to get your hands on a 2006, as stock is definitely limited!

Since the 2006 and 2007 MINI look so similar (to non MINIacs!) but there’s definitely a lot more standard features on the 2007s. MINI Waterloo decided to put some graphics on it to make our gorgeous 07 Cooper S stand out a bit more! These pictures are courtesy of Bev, as I haven’t had a chance for some good pictures yet! Don’t worry, more will come 😀 We also have a Cooper in the showroom: sparkling silver with a black roof!

Feel free to drop by the showroom (especially on a Saturday, since that’s when I’m there!) and see the 2007 MINIs for yourself!! I am very impressed with them (but I still LOVE my Stella – a 2006 R53).

PS: if you can’t already tell, I simply LOVE these slideshows from slide.com! It’s an easy way to show a bunch of pictures at once without taking up a lot of space or having to open another window. Please comment and tell me yay or nay. Should I keep them? Are they loading properly for you? :)

Detroit Auto Show

So, this post is at least a tad bit late!! The Toronto Auto Show just passed (I didn’t go to it) and I still haven’t posted about the Detroit one! Ohhhhh noooo! Well here goes!

I went with a few members of SOMC and we took one MINI down. I sat in the back right and I further affirmed the fact that yes me, all 5 feet 11 inches of me, can fit quite comfortably in the back of a MINI. Those Brits (and Germans) sure know how to make a car!

We stopped in at Detroit Tuned on our way to the show to see Chad and the elusive Detroit Tuned garage! His MINI is spectacular and he had a large assortment of MINI parts. Another awesome thing was his COUNTERFEIT MINI(van)! Of course we had to pose for a picture infront of it:

After Detroit Tuned, we headed to the show. It was hard to find parking (well, a parking place that looked a little less sketchy at least!) but finally we did!

Here are the pictures from the MINI display at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (aka the Detroit Auto Show). Enjoy!

More pictures from the show can be seen here, as well as bigger versions of the MINI pictures!

MINI Advertising Around Town

First, it started out with a billboard near a Tim Horton’s. Quite a few of my friends called me and said “What is up with the new MINI? They’re making airplanes now?” Haha. Apparently in Toronto there are different variations on this one, with different “fast” things turned into counterfeit MINIs!

EDIT: This billboard has been recently replaced with this one now that the R56 has officially launched in Canada:

I love that they said “Rabbit Season” as it’s obviously poking fun at the fact that the MINI is cooler than the VW Rabbit 😛

These were taken today when I was on my way to fill up with gas. It was hard to get a good picture of them since I had to literally stop on the side of the road with my emergency flashers because there was no driveway nearby. You get the idea though. The pictures used are phenonmenal! Very shiny, glossy MINIs in bright colours! I hope we see the results of this advertising in terms of more customers visiting the showroom 😀

“The paint is still wet, you?” – I didn’t understand this one at first, but now I think it means that he/she was so excited to drive the new MINI that they drove it when it was so new the paint hadn’t even dried yet!

“Don’t fear change, just speed traps.” – Oh, I like this one! I like how they talked about fearing change. Reminds me of all those arguments on MotoringFile about the changes done to the interior such as the centre stack, and the fake hood scoop and the such. I also think that it’s kinda funny/interesting that they used a Cooper S for an advertisement that’s talking about speed traps…….. Yeah, I’m pretty observant 😛

I’ll update this post more as I find more billboards and such around town! I love playing “I Spy” with the ads 😀

EDIT: I found this billboard off of Yonge St in Toronto. It was near the Toyota Dealer at Yonge/Lawrence I believe. It’s pretty high up and I had to pull into the dealership and then walk around a building to get this shot. I love it!!!!!!!!!! Here it is:

I think this one is my favourite so far. I LOVE the MINI in this one, the Union Jack accents with the driving lights and bonnet stripes are my favourite. The saying, “Cop Tease”, is pretty funny as well! Good job, MINI 😀