MINI JCW GP Gallery and Press ReleaseSep 6th, 2012
The standard-fitted high-traction sports tires offer awesome cornering grip, impeccable braking response and impressive performance. And to top it all off, with a DIN unladen weight of 1,160 kilograms, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is one of the lightest sports cars in its class.The balance between the engine, the suspension and the aerodynamics was fine-tuned during intensive testing on the Nürburgring North Loop (the old grand prix circuit), where the MINI John Cooper Works GP promptly clocked up a best lap time of 8:23 minutes – streets ahead of many big-name sports cars from higher segments. With its 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 242 km/h (150 mph), the GP brings an authentic race car feel to everyday driving.
The responsive power and excellent revving ability of the MINI John Cooper Works GP’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine are reflected in dazzling performance figures. This zesty character is down to a cutting-edge engineering package and extensive technology transfers from the world of motor sport. Among the highlights are the aluminum cylinder block and bearing mounts, reinforced pistons, sturdier cylinder head, low-weight crankshafts and sodium-filled exhaust valves. Twin-scroll turbocharging produces high boost pressure, and direct petrol injection ensures precisely controlled fuel supply, while fully variable valve control, based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology, helps to maximize engine responsiveness and efficiency.
The state-of-the-art powerplant responds instantly to throttle commands and delivers maximum torque of 260 Newton metres from just 1,750 rpm. For extra punch when accelerating, peak torque can be increased for short periods to 280 Nm from 2,000 rpm, thanks to the overboost function. Maximum power of 160 kW/218 hp is delivered at 6,000 rpm. It is transferred to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, which is precisely matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.
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 20 millimetres. 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. The EDLC software brakes the wheel on the inside of the turn, and the drive power that would otherwise be lost at this wheel is redirected to the outer wheel, where the contact forces are greater.
With its conspicuous and distinctive appearance, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is upfront about its performance credentials right from the word go. The body is painted in the exclusive colour Thunder Grey metallic, with red for the edging round the bonnet opening as well as for the exterior mirror caps and the side air intakes in the front apron. John Cooper Works insignia appear on the lower air intake and the tailgate. The final proof of identity is provided by “GP”-badged side stripes running between the front and rear wheel arches. The standard specification of the MINI John Cooper Works GP includes xenon headlights in black shells, foglamps, sun protection glazing, air conditioning, DSC with special GP mode, and a Sport button. The aerodynamic body parts like the large front and rear aprons, striking side sills and model-specific roof spoiler not only add to the eye-catching appearance but also play an important part in controlling air flow. The rear diffusor, together with the underside panelling and the roof-edge spoiler, reduce lift forces at the rear axle by 90 per cent, for impeccable handling control even under high-speed cornering and when driving at or near the limit.
A six per cent reduction in drag is reflected in improved fuel economy and a higher top speed. The air flow round the front of the car has been significantly improved with the help of a large spoiler and full aerodynamic shielding of the engine compartment underside. This aerodynamic shield not only reduces drag and front axle lift, but also improves air flow through the engine compartment. Slits in the centre of the shield help to expel air from the intercooler. The slits are situated in an area of fast air flow and high vacuum force, so that the air is literally sucked out of the engine compartment, thereby improving the performance of the intercooler.
The exciting race car feel is raised a further notch by an interior ambience which, partly due to the absence of a rear seat bench, is focused entirely on the needs of the driver and “co-driver”, both of whom can savour the performance of the MINI John Cooper Works GP to the full thanks to Recaro sports seats with special GP stitching. A cargo guard prevents items from sliding forward out of the luggage compartment in sporty driving situations. The John Cooper Works thick-rimmed leather steering wheel and the gearshift knob with chrome ring and red shift diagram help give the driver a more direct feel for the car. Finally, with features like the anthracite roof liner, the piano black interior surfaces and door grips, and the anthracite rev counter and speedometer dials, this interior also helps to improve the driver’s concentration and focus on the road.