We have been having some good weather the past couple of days so it made perfect sense to compare my 2 cars (that felt good to write :) against each other. First I drove the Mini, then the Vette.
It is soo easy to drive! Just point it at a corner and decide what speed you want to enter. You can manage the under-steer easily by modulating the throttle. Come off the throttle and there is glorious over-steer. And it is so very eager to turn-in, it does feel very light on its feet.
The SC whine is addictive as always and the throttle response in the higher revs is pretty good too. Compared to the Vette, the gearing is a bit too tall tho.
After 2 days of driving the Vette, I again realized why I love this small thingy so much! Especially the fact that you have so much time (comparatively) to enjoy the experience of carving through corners.
The first thing that I noticed is that the 1st gear in the Vette seems to be much shorter than the Mini, I have no doubt it is because of the gobs of torque from the LS. Same thing with other gears really, 30mph in 5th is great for cruising (I would be in 3rd in the Mini). This was all in town stuff till I get to the fun roads. There is no way I could go anymore than 60 70% throttle in 2nd and 3rd in any turn. The LS just makes too much power for that. Also, in the switch-backs the change in direction is not as immediate as the Mini but once the car is settled down in the turn, it is actually faster than the Mini. The car is a little bit softer than the other guy on the straights but it stays more level in the corners, that may be coz of stiffer swaybars and the transverse leafspring at the back. Ooh yeah, and getting oppo is damn easy even with the 295 section rears :)
The handling and power are great but the craziest part of the Vette are the brakes. I have no clue what the pads are but damn do they stop haaard. The pedal feel is pretty good too, a little bit of pedal movement and then its all modulating on the pressure. That the one thing that I feel I will never get in the Mini, the Mini’s current brake setup is pretty good but its pedal still feels a bit mushy (fluid is 20k miles old).
Overall, both of these are damn good on the narrow twisties, the Mini gives you a lot of confidence and the Vette scares the living daylights out of you :D