As before, back in 2006, the ultimate production MINI is being rolled out within months of its replacement’s appearance. The MINI John Cooper Works GP packs 215bhp for a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 150mph. But it’s the car’s coilover suspension and uprated brakes which push the car to a highly impressive Nürburgring North Loop lap time of 8min 23secs, that really impress on what is the fastest production MINI yet built. The official debut takes place at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, and a mere 2000 units will be built.
The MINI John Cooper Works GP’s exclusive suspension technology, too, relies heavily on motor sport. For the first time on a MINI, it features an individually adjustable coilover suspension, which allows ride height to be lowered by up to 20mm. Among other things, this means the suspension set-up can be fine-tuned to different circuit conditions whenever the MINI goes out onto the track. The front shock absorbers are mounted upside down in the tube, with the piston rod pointing down, in order to increase longitudinal and lateral stiffness.
The front camber has been increased compared with the regular MINI John Cooper Works, so that the performance potential of the sports tyres – which differ significantly from road tyres – can be used to full effect, without the penalties of early understeer, inevitably leading to increased tyre wear. Other features include reduced front-wheel toe-in and increased rear camber, which alters the forward weight transfer so as to give more speed and more neutral steering when driving close to the limit. At the same time, the reduced toe-in improves agility and cornering confidence.
On the MINI John Cooper Works GP, the DSC Dynamic Stability Control is not combined with DTC, as would normally be the case, but with a special GP racing mode. Under hard driving, the driver may often not want ASC engine power reduction cutting in, so instead this system offers just ASC braking, based on the EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) subfunction.
Aero tweaks (the Cd is an unimpressive 0.35) and special tyres will help top end performance. As before, the Works GP is a two-seater, with the rear bench being replaced by a substantial strut brace. The mk2 MINI JCW GP will cost £28,790 – over £6000 more than both the current JCW and original GP.