This is the fastest-ever production Mini, the Mini John Cooper Works GP, which will go on sale in the UK before the end of the year. Only 2000 will be built, and Mini has yet to confirm pricing.
Unveiled at Pau in Southern France, the ‘GP’ is a limited-run version of BMW’s second-generation hatchback. The third-generation Mini already in development.
Strangely, despite the unveiling, Mini is remaining tightlipped about its specific performance. It’s suspected though that the race-bred car will produce around 220-230bhp.
We do though know that it’s quick. The two-seater has already lapped the the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 8min 23sec: that’s a whopping 18sec faster than the 201bhp Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit (I know, Mini don’t help themselves with identity by giving their performance models such elongated names!).
The newcomer is fitted with adjustable race suspension and a competition-spec braking system with six-pot callipers at the front. Just for good measure, the ECU has been race-tuned.
In addition to its aggressive appearance, it also comes with large front and rear aprons, side skirts, a bespoke roof spoiler, plus the car benefits from redeveloped aerodynamics — there’s a reprofiled nose for less drag, and a sealed underside and rear diffuser.
Kumho has also specially developed new high-performance Ecsta V700 tyres for the car, which runs on 17in rims.
Scheduled to be built at Mini’s production plant in Oxford, the John Cooper Works GP will be available in an exclusive colour — Thunder Grey metallic — and will have its own unique interior, including Recaro seats.
“This is a track car, but it is also developed for everyday use,” Jorg Weidinger, head of chassis and suspension development on the Mini John Cooper Works GP, said. “It is not a car you put on a trailer to take to the race track; you drive it there.”