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Stephan McKeown's 2006 R53 Cooper S

by Jeffrey Zurschmeide

extensivemodifications                This car received extensive modification from the shop that later became Dinan BMW. Stephan McKeown wanted great track performance in a car that was also a pleasure to drive on the street. (Photo courtesy Jim Williams)

“I wanted both a street and track car, with an emphasis on handling and stopping over raw power,” says Stephan McKeown. McKeown bought a stock 2006 Cooper S, and to prep his MINI for both track days and street performance, he had all work planned and performed by Al Megenity at A&E Performance. Megenity sold A&E to his former employee, Steve Dinan, in 2008. Dinan has produced many performance parts for the MINI under his own name before and since.

“After listening to me ramble on about what I was looking for in a MINI, Al offered me a drive in a Cooper S prepared at A&E Performance, his shop in Campbell, California. Al’s been tuning and racing BMWs and MINIs from day one,” McKeown says. McKeown’s Cooper S came from the factory in pepper white, with a 6-speed manual transmission, Sport Package, Cold Weather Package, and elements of the Premium Package without the heavy sunroof option. Then Megenity went to work, primarily focusing on the suspension, but also addressing every aspect of a performance car. 

“Everything works together seamlessly, creating a whole definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Al thinks in entire systems: suspension, brakes, wheels, and tires are all interrelated. By selecting and tweaking high-quality, compatible components, he puts together a great-handling MINI,” McKeown says. 

cornersflat                You can see how McKeown’s car corners flat with the outside wheel straight up and down. That’s good suspension geometry. The car doesn’t even look like it’s working! (Photo courtesy Jim Williams)

Here are just the highlights of Stephan’s extensive aftermarket mod list. In this configuration, McKeown’s Cooper S generates dyno pulls at 224 hp and 180 ft-lbs of torque at the wheels: 

Strassentech front chin spoiler
Rennline stainless-steel folding tow hooks 
JCW black carbon-fiber rear wing
Alta 2-inch stubby antenna
Texas Speedwerks aluminum jack points

      JCW leather dash with black/red stitching
      Greddy Version II 52-mm oil pressure and water temperature gauges
      Craven Speed flexpod
      B & M short shifter
      Whalen shift knob
      Schroth red harnesses
      Minspeed black leather autocross kneepad
      30-percent-tint side and rear windows
      Second Skin sound damping

        Wheels and Tires
        Street: 17x7.5 SSR GT2 semi-solid forged at 14.6 pounds per wheel, with 3-mm spacers and Michelin PS2 235/40ZR-17 tires
        Track: 17x7.5 SSR Comp R semi-solid forged at 13.2 pounds per wheel, with Dinan wheel nuts and Toyo RA1S 235/40ZR-17 tires

          Stoptech 328-mm slotted front rotors with red anodized four-piston calipers
          Pagid racing pads in front
          Porterfield racing pads in the rear
          ATE racing blue brake fluid
          Stoptech braided stainless-steel lines

            Suspension and Handling
            Bilstein PSS9 corner-weighted coil-over  suspension system
            Camber: front -1.7 degrees; rear -2.7 degrees 
            H-Sport 27-mm front and 19-mm rear anti-roll bars
            Texas Speedwerks adjustable sway-bar droplinks
            SPC camber plates 
            Powerflex front control arm bushings
            MINI Mania precision steering amplifiers
            SPC billet aluminum lower rear control arms
            Moss upper rear control arms
            Powerflex rear trailing arm bushings
            M7 underbody strut system
            Dinan aluminum and carbon fiber strut tower brace

              Engine Performance
              GRS intercooler
              Dinan high-flow cowl induction intake and  high-flow air filter
              Dinan 15-percent supercharger pulley and belt
              Dinan 59.75-mm high-flow throttle body
              Dinan fuel pressure regulator and fuel tank pressure regulator assembly
              Dinan Stage 5 software
              Revolution MINI head: stainless nitrided valves, titanium retainers, custom locks, keepers, and dual valve springs
              Revolution MINI header and center pipe, coated with jet-hot 2000 black
              Borla sport exhaust
              GTT resistance fit steel/hard anodized lightened crank pulley (stock size)
              GTT twin-bearing idler pulley and tensioner pulley 
              Minspeed tensioner pulley stop bar
              MSD coil pack
              MSD 8.5-mm red plug wires
              NGK Iridium spark plugs (IK-22)
              Quaife ATB differential• Clutchmaster FX300 Clutch
              Texas Speedwerks Version 2 improved engine damper
              M7 air plate diverter


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