We’ve pretty much seen the new Mini John Cooper Works GP already. It’s reportedly lapped the Nürburgring in less than eight minutes, a noteworthy accomplishment for a 300-horsepower front-wheel-drive hatchback though admittedly, it was a prototype wearing a weird race-track-themed camouflage wrap. Still, it didn’t hide the bonkers aero add-ons that denote the new hardcore GP model, and with the pocket rocket now revealed for the 2019 LA Auto Show, we can see it’s every bit as bonkers as we were expecting.
It’s also just as fast as we hoped, or actually a touch faster. Mini says the new JCW GP will sprint to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds. That should put 60 mph right around 5 seconds flat, which edges out the mighty Honda Civic Type R. Mini doesn’t electronically restrain the GP, either, so keep your foot planted and the winged JCW will eventually top out at 165 mph.
Gallery: Mini John Cooper Works GP (2020)
How is this accomplished? Simply put, the JCW GP packs the most powerful engine ever fitted to a production Mini. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged mill develops 302 bhp and 332 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is available at a low 1,750 RPM. It’s a 74-bhp increase over the standard JCW thanks to upgraded internals, a larger volume intake, free-flowing exhaust, and a tweaked turbocharger. As such, Mini also equips the GP with an upgraded oil and cooling system for the engine, so it might better cope with the rigours of being treated like a race car.
That’s also the motivation behind the GP’s bodywork. Aside from giving the Mini a decidedly aggressive look, the flared wheel arches, GP-specific front and rear fascias, and that massive roof spoiler improve downforce and cooling versus the standard JCW. The wheel arches are also needed because the GP’s stiffened suspension both lowers the car and widens the track. There’s additional reinforcement in the chassis and engine bay, along with stiffer suspension bushings and a strut bar for the front towers. Paired with GP-specific four-piston front brake calipers and 14.1-inch rotors, the GP is absolutely set up to be a veritable go-kart on a race track.
Such a feat isn’t easily accomplished on a front-wheel-drive car, but to that end Mini incorporates an eight-speed Steptronic transmission with an integrated mechanical differential lock to dole out the power. It works in conjunction with the car’s Dynamic Stability Control – which gains a special GP mode for this application – to manage both understeer and oversteer while cornering. That can certainly play an important role in the Mini’s sub-eight-minute Nordschleife lap, though it must be noted that for this official JCW GP launch, Mini makes no mention of the Green Hell or a lap time.
Being a special model, there is of course the requisite badging both outside and inside the GP. You’ll also find reduced sound insulation inside along with just two seats, and behind them is a red bar designed to keep cargo from suddenly crashing forward in the event of an emergency stop. It gets a set of special 18-inch wheels that weigh just 20 pounds each, and you can have your JCW GP in any colour you like. That is, as long as it’s Racing Grey metallic with silver, red, and black trim.
Mini will build just 3,000 2020 JCW GP models, and as previously reported, pricing starts just below £34,000. That’s a hefty sum, but that price does get you the most powerful production Mini ever. Deliveries are slated to begin in March 2020.
The new MINI John Cooper Works GP.
A rarity with racing genes sets new benchmarks for performance in the premium small car segment. The new MINI John Cooper Works GP (combined fuel consumption: 7.3 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 167 g/km) is the fastest model of the British brand that has ever been approved for road use. A 225 kW/306 hp 4-cylinder turbocharged engine accelerates the two-seater model – based on the MINI 3 door – from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds. The new MINI John Cooper Works GP will be presented to the public for the first time at the Los Angeles Auto Show (22 November to 1 December 2019) and subsequently produced in a limited edition of 3,000 units at the MINI plant in Oxford. Delivery to racing enthusiasts around the globe will get underway in March 2020.
An intense, purist race feeling is conveyed by what is by far the most powerful engine ever to be used in a small car of the brand, suspension technology that is fine-tuned based on John Cooper Works' comprehensive racing expertise and a body that is optimised in terms of lightweight construction, torsional stiffness and aerodynamics. The new MINI John Cooper Works GP offers unrivalled sporty flair and overwhelming agility. As such, it forms part of a fascinating tradition that has been closely linked to the name of the legendary Formula 1 designer John Cooper ever since the debut of the classic Mini 60 years ago. On both road and racetrack, this combination has been a constant source of sporting highlights: from the first Mini Cooper and winning the British Touring Car Championship to the three overall victories in the Monte Carlo Rally, the MINI Challenge racing series, achievements in the Dakar Rally and the latest generation of the John Cooper Works models.
The exclusive character of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP, uncompromisingly geared towards extreme driving pleasure, is expressed in both its engine power and its performance characteristics. More clearly than ever before, its standing is at the very forefront of the MINI and John Cooper Works model range. Its additional output over and above that of the MINI John Cooper Works is 55 kW/75 hp. As such, the outstanding position of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP is even more clearly defined than that of the extreme athletes of the two previous MINI model generations, each of which was manufactured in a small series of 2,000 units. The MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit, launched in 2006 and the MINI John Cooper Works GP of 2013 already reflected unusually intense racing flair with their 160 kW/218 hp turbocharged engines, their specific suspension technology and their exclusive design and equipment features.
The new MINI John Cooper Works GP takes the experience of performance in a premium small car to a whole new level. In the course of test drives as part of the series development process, it completed a lap of the Nordschleife at Nürburgring in less than eight minutes – almost half a minute faster than its direct predecessor.
The new MINI John Cooper Works GP: an overview of the highlights.
• 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology, 225 kW/306 hp and 450 Nm.
• 55 kW/75 hp more output than the MINI John Cooper Works.
• Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, top speed: 265 km/h (not cut off).
• Model-specific oil supply and cooling concept geared towards maximum performance.
• Model-specific sports exhaust system for emotionally powerful sound.
• 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission with integrated mechanical differential lock for the front wheels.
• Distinctive chassis design and set-up, suspension lowered by 10 mm as compared to the MINI John Cooper Works.
• Particularly high-performance sports brake system.
• Extremely rigid body structure, engine and suspension connection.
• Model-specific front and rear aprons.
• Roof spoiler with double-wing contour.
• Powerfully flared carbon wheel arch covers.
• Interior with two seats and model-specific cockpit.
Impressive source of power: 4-cylinder engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology.
A 4-cylinder engine designed for maximum performance and based on motor racing expertise delivers the power required for the thrilling performance characteristics of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP. The 2.0-litre engine features the latest generation of MINI TwinPower Turbo technology as well as numerous precisely modified details that set it apart from the engine of the MINI John Cooper Works. Model-specific modifications include a reinforced crankshaft with enlarged main bearing diameter, specific pistons, bushless connecting rods and a new torsional vibration damper with optimised cooling.
In addition, the extreme performance of the 4-cylinder engine is achieved by means of a newly developed turbocharger. It is integrated into the exhaust manifold and fitted with a divert-air valve that helps optimise its response. The compression ratio of the engine in the MINI John Cooper Works has been reduced from 10.2 to 9.5 in line with the increased boost pressure as provided by the system. The intake air duct has also been newly developed. Enlarged inlet and flow cross-sections and the increased volume of the noise damper ensure maximum dethrottling.
In addition, the latest generation of petrol direct injection is conducive to spontaneous power development. Its new multi-hole injectors, arranged centrally between the valves, are able to cope with an increased flow rate, transporting the fuel into the combustion chambers at an injection pressure of up to 350 bar. The fine atomisation enables precise metering of the fuel and in addition to optimised efficiency also results in particularly clean combustion. MINI TwinPower Turbo technology also includes fully variable valve control based on VALVETRONIC as patented by the BMW Group and variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust sides (double VANOS).
In addition, the new MINI John Cooper Works GP features a model-specific engine oil sump with increased volume and a distinctive geometry. This ensures a reliable oil supply at all times, even during extremely sporty driving involving high levels of longitudinal and lateral acceleration.
Spontaneous power delivery, unbridled forward thrust.
The extensive modifications to the basic engine and to the MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology result in a particularly spontaneous response to every movement of the accelerator pedal as well as continuous development of power up into the high engine speed range. The 4-cylinder engine develops its maximum torque of 450 Nm at a speed of 1 750 rpm, maintaining this torque up into the 4 500 rpm range. The maximum output of 225 kW/306 hp is available between 5 000 and 6 250 rpm.
The resulting pulling power can be used for exceptionally spirited acceleration manoeuvres. The new MINI John Cooper Works GP sprints from a standing start to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds. Thanks to the high elasticity of its engine, it is also capable of leaving higher-category sports cars behind on intermediate sprints. There is no artificial limit to the vehement forward thrust of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP – even at higher speeds. The top speed is 265 km/h.
Model-specific exhaust system generates an emotionally powerful sound.
The spontaneous development of power and the unbridled revving of the engine are underscored by the emotionally striking sound production of the exhaust system, which was developed specifically for the model. The drive acoustics authentically express the outstanding performance characteristics of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP. When driving in a relaxed manner in the low engine speed range the car produces a restrained, sonorous sound. Under full load, spirited power development is supported by the low exhaust back pressure and accompanied by a sound that is inspired by motor racing. This acoustic accentuation of the car’s extremely sporty character additionally contributes to the performance experience for driver and passenger.
The straight pipe ducting of the exhaust system leads into a particularly large rear silencer with a specific interior design. From there, two tailpipes with matt brushed stainless steel trim and a diameter of 90 millimetres each branch off centrally into the rear apron. These also provide an authentic visual showcase for the purist character of the drive technology, which is geared towards maximum performance. One of the features which optimise the exhaust system’s emission response is a petrol engine particulate filter. Exhaust gas purification in the new MINI John Cooper Works GP complies with the Euro 6d-TEMP emission standard.
Independent cooling concept developed based on racing expertise.
The performance characteristics of the engine pave the way for outstanding performance which can be experienced both on the road and on the race track. The temperature management requirements this involves are met by a cooling concept developed especially for the new MINI John Cooper Works GP based on racing expertise. Two external coolant coolers for the high-temperature circuit, a model-specific expansion tank with increased volume, an specifically designed coolant module storage system and an electric fan with increased output ensure that the engine maintains its optimum operating temperature at all times – even under high loads and with an extremely sporty driving style.
The crankcase cooling system can be temporarily shut off by means of a new split-cooling valve to optimise the engine's warm-up response. In addition, the transmission also has a separate cooling circuit.
New 8-speed Steptronic transmission with mechanical differential lock.
The high-performance engine of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP is positioned transversely at the front according to the hallmark brand principle. Adapted motor racing technology is also used to transfer the engine’s outstanding drive power to the front wheels. The new MINI John Cooper Works GP is fitted as standard with a model-specific 8-speed Steptronic transmission – complete with integrated differential lock and matched to the engine’s performance characteristics and high torque. The latest generation of the transmission features increased internal efficiency and an extended spread. The torque converter clutch, which is closed immediately after set-off, ensures a direct engine link and a spontaneous driving feel. A new transmission control system enables a particularly sporty shifting strategy. The acoustic comfort is optimised by a newly developed torsion damper. The 8-speed Steptronic transmission is operated via a model-specific electronic gear selector switch. Manual intervention in gear selection is also possible using the standard shift paddles on the steering wheel.
The model-specific tuning of the 8-speed Steptronic transmission is another element of the overall package of drive and suspension technology that is precisely geared to maximum performance, thereby giving the new MINI John Cooper Works GP its own unique properties. This is reflected in shift characteristics that are geared towards extremely sporty driving – for example with sharper brake downshifts and direct multiple downshifts during forceful acceleration. What is more, increased engine speed level, direct feedback on shift commands and a further increase in shift dynamics are also noticeable in automatic sports mode (DS transmission mode).
The mechanical differential lock integrated in the transmission ensures that the drive torque is distributed between the right and left front wheels so as to promote traction during particularly dynamic cornering. It is networked with the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system and acts as a transverse lock to reduce the speed difference between the front wheels. Under load demand, it is possible to generate a locking effect of up to 31 per cent. The mechanical lock counteracts any loss of traction, both in the case of differing friction coefficients and where there is a difference in speed between the right and left drive wheels. For this purpose, it directs a higher proportion of the drive torque to the wheel with the better grip or the wheel that is turning more slowly, ensuring that any tendency to understeer or oversteer is prevented early on. This makes for particularly agile steering of the MINI John Cooper Works GP and enables it to accelerate even more dynamically out of corners.
Tight engine mounting, body structure and suspension connection with a high degree of rigidity.
The model-specific connection of the engine, transmission and suspension along with an extremely rigid body structure ensure highly a spontaneous and precise response to steering manoeuvres and accelerator pedal movements. The particularly outstanding features include an engine mount specially developed for the new MINI John Cooper Works GP. The tight connection of the engine and transmission to the body optimises drive response.
In the underbody area, the tunnel bridge has been replaced by a solid support for the likewise modified rear axle member. The generously dimensioned, rectangular strut frame provides ideal conditions for a suspension set-up geared towards the very highest levels of lateral acceleration. At the front end, the suspension connection is optimised by a strut brace.
Model-specific suspension set-up, DSC with GP mode.
With model-specific kinematics and elastokinematics, the suspension technology of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP opens up a whole new dimension of the characteristic go-kart feeling. In the course of an intensive testing program on the Nürburgring Nordschleife and other race tracks, it was precisely tuned to the car’s extremely high engine output and the vehicle concept of an exceptional athlete within the small car segment. The model-specific versions of the single-joint spring strut for the front wheels and the multilink rear axle were also optimised with regard to component stiffness. In order to increase agility, the track widths were increased and the body lowered by 10 millimetres as compared to the MINI John Cooper Works. Specially tuned suspension springs are just as much a part of the model-specific suspension as the specially adapted auxiliary springs, dampers and stabilisers. Newly designed swivel bearings enable increased camber levels on the front wheels. Together with the likewise increased camber levels of the rear wheels, this increases the potential for transmitting lateral forces during dynamic cornering. Stabiliser bearings on the front and rear axles with particularly high preload optimise roll support during spontaneous steering movements.
In addition to its connection, the design of the suspension design also features extensive measures to increase rigidity. The precise handling characteristics of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP are enhanced by stiffer rubber bearings in the support bearings of the front and rear axles, for example. The four wishbones on the rear axle are fitted on the outside with clearance-free metal ball sleeve joints instead of rubber mounts, while on the inside there are highly rigid rubber mounts. The strut in the engine compartment is bolted directly to the support bearings of the front axle.
The standard functions of the electromechanical power steering include speed-related steering support for maximum precision when cornering at speed and for comfortable manoeuvring at low speeds. As an alternative to the standard setting, the DSC also offers a GP mode that can be activated by means of a toggle switch. This setting raises the thresholds for stabilising interventions on the part of the braking system and engine control system. In combination with the mechanical differential lock, this provides even more intense support for the
agile handling of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP. In addition, the toggle switch for controlling the driving stability system can also be used to access DSC off mode.
Sports brake system and lightweight forged wheels in exclusive format.
The sports brake system in the new MINI John Cooper Works GP ensures consistently high deceleration performance even when subject to intensive use. It comprises 4-piston fixed-caliper disc brakes on the front wheels and single-piston floating-caliper brakes on the rear wheels. The sports brake system is characterised by high stability and a direct, clearly defined pedal feel. The front calipers are made of aluminium and combined with 360 × 30 mm ventilated discs. They are finished in Chili Red and bear the John Cooper Works logo.
The new MINI John Cooper Works GP is fitted as standard with 18-inch lightweight forged wheels. The light alloy wheels in 8.0 J × 18 format weigh less than nine kilograms and are fitted with high-performance tyres specially developed for this exceptionally sporty vehicle. The hub caps on the exclusive light alloy wheels bear the GP logo. The structure and profile of the 225/35 R 18 tyres are designed to ensure maximum steering precision, optimum transmission of lateral forces when cornering in sporty style and increased traction during acceleration and deceleration.
Unmistakable design, optimised aerodynamic properties.
The new MINI John Cooper Works GP has model-specific design features that make its standing as an exceptional athlete unmistakable right from the starting line. These also make a significant contribution to the car’s driving characteristics – namely stability and precise controllability even in highly dynamic situations. The body, which has been modified in detail, primarily optimises the car’s aerodynamic balance and the targeted supply of cooling air to the drive units and brake system. The large roof spoiler with double wing contours, the model-specific design of the front apron surround known as the Blackband and the front spoiler lip of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP form a precisely coordinated package designed to reduce lift. As a result, lift values on the front and rear axles are significantly reduced as compared to the MINI John Cooper Works.
In addition, the front apron has particularly large air intakes. The roof spoiler, which extends far beyond the side line, has a key role to play in optimising driving dynamics. With its reversed wing profile, it generates maximum downforce with the lowest possible aerodynamic drag in order to press the vehicle onto the road at high speeds.
Wheel arch trim made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic.
The visually unmistakable features that are important in terms of the car’s aerodynamic properties also include the large and strikingly flared wheel arch trims of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP. They make it possible to combine the use of very large track widths and wide wheels with optimised air ducting in the side section of the vehicle.
The wheel arch panels are manufactured by means of a special process and with a material combination used for the first time by the BMW Group consisting of a thermoplastic substructure and an outer shell made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Intelligent lightweight construction goes hand in hand with the sustainable use of resources. The raw material for the outer shells, which are made of a particularly lightweight CFRP fleece, is a refined material that is recycled from the production of the BMW i3 and the BMW i8. The four CFRP components required for each individual vehicle are produced using a shared wet-pressing tool. In this way, a highly efficient production process can be applied that was previously only implemented in high-volume production. In addition, the wheel arch covers with their hexagonally sewn CFRP structure, double matt finish and consecutive numbering give each of the 3,000 vehicles produced a unique visual highlight. The new MINI John Cooper Works GP is the BMW Group's first production vehicle to feature an exposed matt CFRP coating. The individual numbering with the numbers “0001” to “3000” is applied to the surfaces of the front wheel arch panels by means of a newly developed paint transfer process.
Model-specific design accentuations signal purist sporty flair.
The purist character of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP, geared towards maximum performance, is further underscored by precisely deployed designed accentuations. Only the exclusive finish Racing Grey metallic is available for the
exterior paintwork. Meanwhile the roof and exterior mirror caps are finished in the contrasting colour of Melting Silver metallic. Just like the front apron, the rear apron with integrated rear fog lamps has a distinctive shaping. A cross-member on the hexagonal radiator grille, the inserts in the lower air intake and the inside of the roof spoiler are finished in high-gloss Chili Red. Meanwhile the GP logos on the front and rear, the outer sides of the roof spoiler and the door sill finishers, as well as the foils above the side skirts, are finished with a stylised “GP” in Rosso Red metallic matt.
A striking contrast here is provided by the black finish of the headlamp surrounds, the central radiator grille and rear lights, the fuel filler flap and the door handles, as well as the inlay on the bonnet and the MINI logo at the front and rear of the vehicle. The black inlays on the headlamps and the maximally darkened Union Jack rear light units likewise emphasise the uncompromising sporty flair of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP.
Sports car cockpit with two seats and reduced acoustic insulation.
Two seats and reduced acoustic insulation for the purpose of weight optimisation also give the interior of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP genuine sports car flair. The standard equipment includes John Cooper Works sports seats in Dinamica/leather combination with silver side edges, red accentuation seams, a GP badge underneath the integrated headrests and red belt straps. The interior trim on the passenger side bears the numbering of the respective vehicle. This is produced individually for each one of the 3,000 extreme athletes by means of 3D printing.
The model-specific John Cooper Works leather steering wheel also acquires its exclusive character from accentuations produced using the 3D printing process. In addition to red accentuation seams, the steering wheel rim made of soft nappa leather also features a metal centre marking for the 12 o'clock position created using the additive manufacturing process. The shift paddles on the steering wheel are likewise 3D-printed in metal. In addition to the GP logo, a characteristic honeycomb structure can be seen on the paddle surfaces. Colour accentuations in the otherwise dark cockpit are provided by the red GP logos on the floor mats, matching double stripes on the gear selector and the Chili Red painted aluminium cross-brace behind the seats. This serves as a shield to prevent luggage items from slipping forward in the event of sudden braking.
Digital instrument cluster and central instrument with model-specific displays.
Optional features for the new MINI John Cooper Works GP include automatic climate control, the Connected Navigation Plus package, which also includes telephony with wireless charging, and an alarm system. The Connected Media system comes as standard: it displays model-specific information on the 6.5-inch screen in the central instrument panel. The standard trim also includes a digital instrument cluster on the steering column. The high-resolution 5-inch colour screen shows the road speed both numerically and on a scale. The model-specific display includes temporary feedback and permanent display after activation of GP mode. A GP logo is permanently shown at the top of the screen. The graphic animation before vehicle start shows a model-specific image including the GP logo.