Racing simulators are all the rage right now thanks to the pandemic turning us all into homebodies. For those that have the space, budget and time, the sim rig craft is fast turning into a competition to see who can one-up everyone else with rigs that are wild, complex or just plain cool, but few can touch this Mini Cooper S-based racing simulator built by artist and part time racer, Brent Cheney.
A long-held plan of the Utah man, Brent finally decided to make his dream a reality with the purchase of a US$1000 Mini Cooper S with a faulty engine before starting the mountain of work that followed.
To get the car down to his basement man cave Brent ditched the useless engine, cut the entire car up using a power saw, before relocating all the pieces downstairs to reassemble upon a wooden base.
He used metal brackets, nuts and bolts to reconstitute the Mini's components back to their original positions, but in lieu of an actual engine he put his Intel i9-powered gaming PC under the bonnet. A monstrous 49-inch Samsung monitor now sprouts from the dash and replaces the entire windscreen, and the standard tiller and pedals are replaced by Fanatec items. A six-speaker surround-sound Harman/Kardon sound system provides sonics, and is augmented by a boot-mounted subwoofer.
He even spruced up the interior by installing some phone chargers and iPhone-controlled ambient lighting.
The entire project took six weeks from go-to-whoa, and cost him roughly US$6500 (AUD$10,323) for all the simulator parts as well as the car.
Brent told CarScoops that the project started out as a ‘Hold my beer’ type challenge after his friend said it was impossible. “Most of the things I do because people don’t dream big enough. I have seen similar things but never a full car, so I knew that it was up to me to prove it to the world!”
Originally I was planning on using an E36 M3, but [the Mini Cooper] sort of fell into my lap and it turned out to be absolutely perfect for the build. Once I had the car, I completely gutted it and cleaned, I cut it into pieces small enough to move to the basement. I had to be able to fit through doorways and around a tight corner on the stairs. From there I reassembled the car, then installed all of the electronics.”
Game of choice? Brent spends most of his time on the popular iRacing series where he hosts a competition with the Utah iRacing chapter.
The entire build is documented on his Youtube channel where he also holds livestreams using the Mini Cooper racing simulator.
While pushing the nerdy basement-bound gamer stereotype to the extreme, Brent’s DIY job is admittedly quite cool, but you needn’t put in the same amount of effort to get involved. WhichCar has experience with iRacing having reviewed the game, including an explainer on what’s needed to get started. A carved-up Mini Cooper is not a prerequisite.
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