The upcoming MINI John Cooper Works GP, like its predecessor, will be a hardcore halo sports model for the BMW-owned small car maker with borderline wacky aero bits, ample mechanical grip for its size, and a generous helping of turbocharged grunt.
To prove this new version is just as much go as show, the British firm travelled to its adopted home country to test it against one of the world’s most formidable tracks. Good job it’s open to the public. Its aim was to beat the previous JCW GP’s lap record of 8 minutes 23 seconds, set a whole 7 years ago.
The good news is that it has definitely done that, though MINI has declined to reveal the exact time. Not that it matters, though, as the new car has been confirmed to post a lap time under the 8 minute mark, meaning a 23 second improvement at the very least.
That said, the car will still have quite a task ahead if it intends to ruffle the feathers of the current FWD lap record holder’s time of 7 minutes 40 seconds set by the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R. We suspect, though, that they’d be content having it just be the fastest MINI to date.
It also gives the automaker a chance to gauge public reaction to a mostly uncovered near-production prototype. What do you reckon? Looks rather nice to us and doesn’t try too hard to shout about its predilection for racetracks over the street.
Under its compact bonnet lives a 2.0-litre BMW turbo-petrol powerplant producing 220kW mated to a dual-clutch transmission. That’s already quite a strong figure, but on the JCW there will be less weight hustle around thanks to an aggressive weight reduction programme, lightweight panels, and light alloy wheels.
Once it does reach a ready stage for an official launch, the company says that only 3000 examples will be manufactured throughout its planned 2020 production run.