For the last twenty years, Nick Padmore has been racing Formula Fords, Radicals, classic VW Bugs, BMW M3s in the Britcar series, prototypes, and most recently, historic Formula Ones. However wide the breadth of his experience, he’s a true racer who tries to wrangle every last ounce of performance out of whatever he drives, regardless of whether it’s powered by twelve cylinders or four cylinders. When he takes the wheel of classic ’65 Mini Cooper S, he drives the tires off it.
This Mini has been a family-prepared machine; his father Keith and he have built it over the years, and the man’s experience with the car shows through the first quick corner. Fearless and aggressive, Padmore flings the Mini into Goodwood’s long right-hand Madgwick corner; understeering on entry and oversteering slightly as it rides over the crest.
He loves to use an aggressive steer into the corner to upset the rear, lift an inside tire, and get it to twitch on its way to the apex. Seeing as he’s always on the limit, the front wheel-drive Mini’s tendency is to power-understeer at the exit, but by manhandling the car to rotate before the apex, he’s got a good chance of minimizing the scrub out of the corner.
To help shorten the line wherever he can, Padmore tries banging the car off the curbs at Goodwood. What’s more—the short wheelbase ensures the car is always lively and doesn’t necessarily power understeer at the exit—over surface changes it shimmies! Whatever the more powerful Alfa GTA behind him has under its hood, it’s not enough to catch this featherweight Mini.