Monday, 14 May 2012

Mini John Cooper Works GP

The New MINI (or, as it is now, the New New MINI) is a polarising thing, embraced and derided with equal passion by two distinct camps; those who enjoy its quality build/fun-to-drive package, and those who decry the heritage-pissing that its name encapsulates. I'm very much in the former camp - you can read my thoughts on that here on Not£2Grand.
...and what we see here, rather excitingly, is the fastest road-legal MINI yet. It's reassuring that the company have developed this package for the classic hatch, rather than using it to shift a few units of the Coupé or the Countryman - it demonstrates a certain purity of purpose. The new JCW GP has been clocked lapping the Nordschleife in 8 minutes 23 seconds, a full 19 seconds quicker than its predecessor. There are two reasons for this: firstly, they've massaged the twin-scroll-turbocharged engine to release rather more power than its 215bhp forebear. (They're being cagey about exactly how much power at the moment, however.) Secondly, aerodynamics - check out the slippery rear diffuser; the underside's also considerably smoother to aid downforce.
It's got a stripped interior, featuring Recaro buckets and not a lot else. Those peculiar four-spoke wheels hide six-pot brakes at the front, and are all wrapped in sticky Kumho rubber developed especially for this car. It's a light, raw trackday special, and MINI will only be building 2,000 of them. Best get your deposit in quick, then...

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