Aero Testing the Mini Cooper R56 in a Wind Tunnel with Sneed Speed

Sneed Speed and company are no strangers to building fast track cars. Recently, they took their R56 Mini Cooper equipped with their new aerodynamic kit down to the A2 wind tunnel to get some hard data.

Stop just one second. A speed shop is putting up thousands of dollars to collect hard data in a wind tunnel?! This is how you know a serious speed shop, ladies and gentlemen. Let the fun begin.

Full disclosure: Sneed Speed invited RFD down to A2 in North Carolina to check out wind tunnel testing of their latest aerodynamic bits installed on the Mini Cooper, E46 BMW M3 and Subaru STI.

Sneed Speed’s test day at the A2 wind tunnel began by subjecting the Mini Cooper with factory body work to high air speeds. No aerodynamic bits were added. Under these conditions we saw that the Mini’s engine needed to produce 62 horsepower to maintain 100 MPH. The horsepower figure is calculated using drag value. Horsepower is easier to understand so that’s what we’ll go with.

Now let’s look at the downforce figures. Starting with the front, it’s apparent that the little Mini Cooper produces a bit of lift. The reality is that most street cars produce some level of front lift. The Mini Cooper in stock trim produces 64 pounds of lift up front and 34 pounds of lift in the rear. This is why the Mini Cooper feels a bit disconnected at high speeds. Because it is.

With the Sneed Speed aero kit installed, the measured downforce increased dramatically. The rear wing yielded just under 110 pounds of downforce on the rear and reduced frontal lift by about 43 pounds. The total number displayed is calculated by simply adding the front and rear numbers together. With this setup, the Mini would require an additional nine horsepower to overcome the increased drag created by this aero setup at 100 MPH.

Sneed Speed Mini Cooper Wind Tunnel
Adding too much attack angle can be detrimental depending on where grip is needed. With the full aero kit, the rear wing was set to 5 degrees and the front stayed the same. The result was an additional 50 pounds of downforce over the rear however front lift increased to 40 pounds. This is due to weight transfer as the rear wing produced enough force to raise the front.

Reducing the rear wing angle of attack increased front downforce and reduced drag slightly. For tracks with long straights this would be a preferred setup. For shorter tracks with fast sweepers the “full” angle would work best.

To obtain more information on available aero parts for your car, or simply to talk fast rides, check them out at and be sure to continue following us as we release the wind tunnel results of the E46 M3 and Subaru STI.


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