During the 2020 coronavirus lockdown, Gary Surman of West Midlands precision engineering sub-contractors A&M EDM, acted on a longstanding ambition to improve the performance the A-series Classic Mini engine block. Gary was convinced that advances in engine technology could improve the racing performance of original engine. A&M designed and manufactured a road race version block machined from solid aluminium weighing only 20.5kg compared to the original 32kg, boosted by five functioning main bearings rather than three.
Gary and A&M’s Managing Director, Mark Wingfield created a sperate company, Ascaso Engineering to develop the engine. Mark Wingfield supported Gary’s ambition, believing a proprietary product would assist the precision engineering subcontractor’s long term growth.
The block is machined on a Hurco VMX42Ui 5-axis VMC cutting at high feed rates up to 10m per minute. The crankshaft is produced from a solid billet using PowerMill and the swivelling B-axis of a Hurco VMX60SRTi VMC synchronised with the motions of a Kitagawa GT320 rotary 4th axis table.
Gary Surman said: “We have manufactured precision components for Formula One, aerospace, automotive and marine industries for many years and applied our engineering skills to manufacture this engine. The original had three main bearings but the new version has five, so it can rev at higher speeds up to 10,000 rpm and accept a load over 350 BHP.”
The A+5 1273 cc K16V turbo engine was successfully circuit tested in December by Mini racer Jim Lyons. A&M laser-scanned his Mini to reverse-engineer the engine bay and legacy components in order alternative body kits.
Jim Lyons drove the 1273cc Turbo version for its first race at the world’s fastest Mini event at Brands Hatch in August 2023, finishing in fifth place overcoming a split exhaust manifold.
Jim Lyons said: “The engine is outstanding. Gary and the rest of the A&M team have done a fantastic job. The quality of the machining is better than I’ve ever seen before. The engine runs cool, so all the cooling issues I’ve had for 20 years have gone. Racing, I can really feel the difference in the weight of the engine. The Ascaso engine has a bullet proof bottom end, so we can really start to get some big power.”
The 1071cc KAD Gen3 16v turbo engine will be used for a land speed record attempt at 427 BHP in Bolivia in 2024. This engine has been tested from "out of the box as designed" and will be marketed as the 1071cc 16v TS following the iconic Cooper S 1071cc engine.
A&M have developed different capacities of dedicated classic Mini engines, from 1071cc through to 1400cc for the BMW K16V and 12G940 heads and anticipate sales from Mini racing enthusiasts around the world.