For Sale: Ultra Rare Brand New US Based R56 MINI Challenge Race Car

Are you in the US and have you ever wanted to own a MINI Challenge race car? Here’s your chance. MotoringFile reader Charlie Arolla is selling his pristine example with just 6 kilometers on the odometer. Thats right, this far has never seen use on the road or track. It’s a time capsule of MINI racing history and is (as you’d expect) an incredible track weapon. This is one of three Challenge cars in the US and one our of 169 R56 LHD JCW Challenge cars that were produced worldwide. Of that 70 were manufactured in the 2008 MY. Clearly this is one of the most rare MINIs you can own.

This particular example is not just brand new but also comes with every spare part imaginable – all still new. In all it’S likely the most pristine example of an R56 JCW Challenge race car you’ll ever find.

If you’re interested you can email Charlie directly. Price: $65,000.

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We’ll turn it over to Charlie for the full description.

The Full History and Description

MINI first introduced their new John Cooper Works CHALLENGE Race Car to the public at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September of 2007. Their Press Release announcing the car can be found here:

While attending the Frankfurt show the original purchaser of this 2008 specially-built racer (who was really a Porsche aficionado and collector) immediately fell in love with the car and wanted to buy one; but subsequent inquiries revealed that MINI/BMW would not accept a U.S. order for the cars. Fortunately he had a colleague who owned a business in Germany and arrangements were made in November 2007 to purchase two cars from BMW through this business—one for him and one for his friend.

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The production car was completed on June 17, 2008 @ Oxford, England; and then it was shipped to BMW Motorsport in Munich, for outfitting as a CHALLENGE-spec racer.

Paperwork requesting approval for import into the USA was completed by a Georgia company experienced in bringing non USA-spec cars into America for racing use, obtaining all the necessary clearances from the EPA.

Not wanting to wait for the 6-8 week journey via ship to get the cars to the USA, the 2 cars were palletized and loaded board a Lufthansa air cargo jet and landed in San Francisco on September 17, 2008. After clearing US Customs this car was trailered to the first owner’s home in Saratoga, CA.

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Unfortunately because of health issues, the new owner was precluded from participating in track events with the car; and he subsequently offered the car for sale in April of 2009 which is when I purchased it from him with just 6 km on the odometer..

The “sister car” to mine was offered for sale in December of 2008. It’s current whereabouts are unknown.

The car came with an additional set of wheels (boxed) a pressurized air tank and wheel dolly for charging the on-board air jack system, wrenches for adjusting the coil over KW shock absorbers, a de-fueling hose and electrical switch to remotely activate the fuel pump, owners manual, and complete documentation of the sale and import process.

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European race car drivers are blessed with “skinny butts” and the Recaro Hans-spec driver’s seat was appropriately sized for them. Unfortunately, I did not fit in the provided seat so the necessary bracket to exchange the seat for a Recaro XL version was obtained from punktEins Service Gmbh in Germany and a XL Recaro ordered. Currently the XL seat is mounted in the car, but the necessary bracket and original seat are included with the car.

Like the original owner, I have never had the opportunity to track the car. It has been stored since its purchase, first in San Jose, CA and now in Cave Creek, AZ. The car is as-delivered from MINI. Fluids have been replaced and a new MINI battery installed; but otherwise it is ready-to-race. The fitted “rain tires” should be replaced.

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The car is a 2008 MINI Cooper S (R56 model), Chili Red with white roof and racing stripes, with the JCW engine package, 1.6 liter turbo-charged engine, 6 speed manual transmission with limited-slip racing differential, JCW front and rear bumpers with a special Challenge rear wing and rear undertray. KW adjustable coil over shocks front and rear replace the stock units; and 4 piston Brembo brakes are mounted on the front axles

The car has 4 on-board air jacks for service and tire changes (jack locks for extended up-in-the-air storage are included); an FIA-approved roll cage, on-board timing system, on-board fire suppression system, Schroth 5 point seatbelt restraint system, Recaro XL Hans racing shell, Sparco quick-release padded steering wheel.

Approval from the EPA to import the car as a “racing vehicle only” precludes registration for or use on a public highway. To my knowledge only three of these vehicles were ever imported into the US; mine, it’s “sister vehicle”, and one imported by Randy Smalley of RSR Motorsports.

  • Eddie Cosme

    Beautiful car! I wish I had the kind of money where I could buy a track-only car like this.

  • jcwcoupe

    OMG I want this. Argh… I wish I had a truck and trailer. I’m guessing this can’t be driven on the street right?

  • If only I could afford this. This would get me to the track for sure.

  • James D

    If I could afford this, I’d just slap the plates from my 2008 JCW on it and take it for a drive out in the Texas Hill Country. Seriously, who’d even know the difference other than another MINI fanatic?