LRX828E works Mini Cooper Australia
As early as 1959, Minis joined MGAs and Austin Healeys in the BMC Competition
Works rally team, based at the MG Car Company's Abingdon workshop. However it
wasn't until the inclusion of the Mini Cooper in the1962 season that the Minis
experienced success. No doubt BMC's signing of well known international drivers
such as Timo Makinen, Rauno Aaltonen, Paddy Hopkirk and later Tony Fall
contributed to this change of fortune, too.
The Mini Coopers scored their first major outright win at the 1962 Tulip
Rally, and by the mid-1960s BMC was the UK's undisputed rally king. By1967 the
MK1 Cooper S alone had snared more than two dozen major rally victories,
including four consecutive Monte Carlo Rallies (although the 1966 team which
took first, second and third places was disqualified for a lighting
technicality) as well as an impressive list of class victories.
Meanwhile, BMC's European rally drivers became household names and
celebrities in their own countries. The most successful Works driver was Rauno
Aaltonen from Finland. In 41 drives, he scored eight outright wins, two category
wins, 14 class victories and the 1965 European Rally Championship. Results like
these, combined with BMCs immaculate preparation and organisation, meant that
rallying soon became the key publicity vehicle for the car companies.
Between 1959 and 1970, a total of 71 works Minis were built at the Abingdon
Works, including fifty 1275cc cars. Works Minis contested a total of 116 events,
representing 263 individual entries, and the crews collected no less than 109
One of the Abingdon Works Minis which has survived beyond its competition
life is LRX 828E. Specifically prepared for the 1967 European Rally
Championship, it was primarily driven by Rauno Aaltonen and navigated by Henry
Liddon (UK). However, success proved elusive.