With aggressive styling, a hardcore interior and pushing out over 400whp, SpeedTech Motorsports’ full-on turbocharged R56 Mini build is one incredible and incredibly complete performance machine.
Feature from Performance Mini magazine. Photos: Ethan Haynes.
We love a lot of cars, that’s no secret, but some cars just hit different and SpeedTech Motorsports’ Turbocharged R56 Mini Cooper S is one such car. This Mini goes hard on every level – it looks so good, it sits so right, the interior is special and, as you would expect from a company with the word ‘speed’ in its name, it’s got some serious power on tap. R56s really don’t get much better than this.
SpeedTech Motorsports has been around for over 10 years and specialises in VW, Audi, and, of course, Mini. For company owner Abraham Viera, his interest in Minis was piqued many years ago when he first drove a customer’s R53 and the rest, as they say, is history. When it came to this R56 build, there was a very specific reason for choosing this car and a clear plan for the project.
“We wanted to challenge ourselves into making an N14 engine reliable despite the reputation it has built for itself,” explains Abraham. “We found the car online. The body was in good condition, but the car wasn’t running because of the engine misfiring. Our plan for the car from the beginning was to build it into the first N14 engine with a Garrett GTX2867 Gen II turbo on stock internals and erase the bad name it had by giving it this new setup,” he says.
So, while this turbocharged R56 Mini is an absolute powerhouse of a Cooper S, there was a lot more to this build than just making a fast Mini and being done with it.
Unsurprisingly, with the engine not running and also being the focus of this project, the 1.6-litre turbocharged N14 four-pot has undergone some serious work, and what SpeedTech has achieved is simply awesome. “When we got the vehicle, the first step was to fix the misfiring issue it had to get it running again,” says Abraham.
“Once we had that issue fixed, our building project began. We knew this was one of the common issues this engine had and the cause of the engine’s bad reputation, and we immediately knew this is where we had to start if we were hoping to reach our expectation of giving this engine life again. That’s why our first modification on the engine was the custom oil catch. This would help prevent the engine from carbon deposits, which would eventually lead to another cylinder misfire,” he says, and then, work began on preparing the engine for its massive increase in power.
“Next, we installed a custom front-mount intercooler. We did this because we knew that the OEM intercooler wasn’t going to be efficient enough for the build we were trying to achieve. This install was then followed by the custom big turbo kit.
The team wanted to use a Garrett GTX2867 turbo, but we couldn’t adapt it to the original exhaust manifold. Therefore we also ended up using a custom exhaust manifold because it would allow us to use an external wastegate,” explains Abraham. “Due to our choice of turbo, we had to use an aftermarket BOV, and for this, we went with the TiAL Q50 because we were very familiar with it and had used it on our previous builds.
“With the big turbo kit, one of the things we knew we had to address was exhaust restriction and backpressure. We, therefore, decided to install a 3” turbo-back exhaust, for optimum flow. We opted for a 1994 Volkswagen GTI Magnaflow muffler; we have previously used this on our VW GTI build and liked the way it sounded, so we decided to keep that nice deep growl with this setup for the Mini,” Abraham says, and while it might sound unconventional, it works.
“Because we had built a custom exhaust manifold, it caused it to sit too close to the valve cover, and this would eventually cause it to melt. This required us to add a valve cover heat shield to protect the valve cover, and we also installed billet caps to avoid any melting of these in the future.
“At this point, our project was moving along. We loved the power it was producing, but the more power the engine made, the more heat it produced and the more fuel it required. The methanol and the direct port meth-injection kit installation allowed us to bring down the increasing air temperature in the engine,” Abraham tells us.
“Our next step was to control the power it was making on the go. This is when we installed the boost controller, which allowed us to adjust the boost levels at any time. We then proceeded with switching to colder spark plugs because we knew this upgrade would prevent future misfires due to the heat in the engine. We did the custom tuning after that because we needed to make sure we calibrated the ECU to accommodate the new setup since more air and fuel was added,” he says.
“To tie off the new engine setup we had so far, we installed a vacuum distribution block because we needed more vacuum sources to use the recently installed BOV, wastegate, methanol, boost gauge, etc. To add more airflow to the engine we used an RPM intake manifold because we knew that having bigger runners would help the engine breathe better.
The team then put in an uprated boost pipe because we knew that the stock plastic pipe was not efficient enough for the amount of power we were pushing. Lastly, we swapped out the regular hoses for silicone coolant hoses because this would help resist the heat more,” says Abraham.
That engine spec is just mind-blowing, the amount of work that’s gone into this small four-cylinder is insane, and the end result is just astonishing, with this R56 making an absolutely epic 402whp, around 460hp at the crank. Not only that, it’s reliable as intended, and while operating at this sort of power level does require oil changes every 1500 miles, it’s almost unbelievably still running its stock clutch and flywheel.
With such an epic engine overhaul, you could leave things there and still have a next-level R56 build, but a company like SpeedTech would never consider that to be a finished project, and with over 400whp on tap, it stands to reason that chassis upgrades were required.
“We decided on the Forge coilovers, front and rear anti-roll bars, front and rear anti-roll bar links, front and back control arm bushes, a front strut brace, and rear K-bar,” Abraham tells us, and that’s a suitably comprehensive selection of enhancements.
“The guys chose these particular modifications because we wanted to have better stability with the Forge coilovers as well as be able to adjust the height and damping. The anti-roll bars, roll-bar links, control arm bushes, strut bar, and K-bar were all done to have better stability in the corners,” he explains, and these chassis upgrades ensure this R56 can handle the vast amount of power that is being put to the tarmac.
We’ve already touched on our appreciation of this R56’s styling, and, as well as endowing this Cooper S with otherworldly performance, SpeedTech has also ensured it looks the part both inside and out, and this is one Mini with maximum presence. “We weren’t looking for just a fast car, but also a car with the sleek appearance of a show car,” smiles Abraham, and that’s exactly what they’ve got.
Its front end is enhanced with the addition of a Maxton Design lip with a textured finish, there’s a larger bonnet scoop and Spec D projector headlights, while the flanks feature Maxton Design side blades, and at the rear, there’s an Orranje G-Wing. But that’s not all, because the car is covered in custom additions.
There are the BMW M badges with German flag tricolour stripes, the Mini badges with monochrome BMW roundels in the centres, custom LED Union Jack rear lights, plus touches like the LED front and rear side markers, plus
the blacked-out side repeaters and front wing badges.
Then, of course, there are the wheels, and for this build, SpeedTech opted for a set of staggered 17” gunmetal Rotiform RSEs, and they look awesome. The cross-spoke styling suits the look of the R56 so well, the gunmetal finish is mean and moody, the rears have got that sweet concave, and the combination of aggressive fitment and the drop from those coilovers gets them filling out the arches to perfection.
Its interior is no less impressive, and the goal was to create something a little more hardcore. “A sleek appearance for show was our exterior goal but for the interior, we wanted the look and feel of a race car. That’s why we went for our bucket race seats and harnesses,” explains Abraham.
The seats in question are Braum Racing Elite-X seats, and not only do they look good, but they also offer loads of support, and they’ve been paired with matching Braum four-point harnesses on a Braum harness bar. The stock steering wheel has been replaced with a Momo Millennium Evolution item, while the combination of that gorgeous Black Forest Industries gear knob and the CravenSpeed short-shifter makes gear changes a joy.
A P3 gauge and SpeedTech vent gauge pod have been fitted, and there’s a rear seat delete, while the finishing touches to this race-inspired interior are the Rennline aluminium floor mats and matching pedals.
This turbocharged R56 Mini really is something else. It’s just such an awesome build on every level. It’s got insane power, a sorted chassis, killer looks and a full-on interior. Everything’s been done to such a high standard, and it’s such an impressive project – this is real R56 goals.
Unsurprisingly, when we ask Abraham about his favourite mod, there’s only ever going to be one answer to that question. “The big turbo kit. Putting it simply because it’s our pride to be the first ones in the world to have this setup on stock internals,” he smiles, and it’s the cherry on top of this next-level build.
This turbocharged R56 Mini serves up everything you could possibly want from a performance build, and this monster Mini is the perfect way for SpeedTech to show off its tuning expertise. SpeedTech by name, speed by nature.
Tech Spec: Turbocharged R56 Mini
1.6-litre turbocharged N14, Stage 1 Cat Cams camshafts, high-performance N14 racing chain, custom 3” turbo-back exhaust system with 1995 VW Golf GTI Magnaflow silencer, custom exhaust manifold, Garrett GTX2867R Gen II turbo with external wastegate kit, Snow Performance stage 2 meth kit, SpeedTech Motorsports direct-port meth-injection kit, SpeedTech Motorsports 2.5” boost pipe, RPM intake manifold, custom oil catch can system, SpeedTech Motorsports valve cover heat shield, SpeedTech Motorsports billet oil and coolant caps, custom front-mount intercooler, DervTech Tuning custom tune, TiAL Q50 BOV and MVS 38mm wastegate, Turbosmart manual boost controller, Torque Solution engine mount, Mishimoto coolant hoses
Standard six-speed manual gearbox, clutch and flywheel
Forge Motorsport camber and damping-adjustable coilovers, Powerflex front and rear race control arm bushes, Powerflex rear strut mounts, H&R 27mm (front) and 22mm (rear) anti-roll bars, adjustable anti-roll bar links, AEM front strut mount
Hawk cross-drilled discs and HPS pads
Wheels & Tyres:
8×17” (front) and 9×17” (rear) Rotiform RSE with 205/45 (front and rear) Nankang NS-25 All-Season UHP tyres
Braum Racing Elite-X leather racing seats, four-point racing harnesses and harness bar, rear seat delete, custom rear K-brace, Momo Millennium Evolution steering wheel, Black Forest Industries gear knob, CravenSpeed short-shifter, P3 gauge, SpeedTech vent gauge pod, Rennline aluminium floor mats and pedals, 7” Pioneer Apple CarPlay head unit, LED interior light kit
Maxton Design front lip with textured finish, Spec-D Tuning projector headlights, LED headlight bulbs, larger bonnet scoop, Maxton Design side blades with textured finish, custom LED Union Jack rear lights, Orranje G-Wing, custom MINI badges with monochrome BMW roundels, BMW M badges with German flag tricolour stripes, LED front and rear side markers, blacked-out side repeaters and front wing badges