Published: Sat, September 09, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Mini announces hardcore John Cooper Works GP Concept

Mini announces hardcore John Cooper Works GP Concept

MINI boss Peter Schwarzenbauer said: "The MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept is all about the unfettered feeling of driving and levels of performance found in motorsport competition... this is driving fun in its purest form". And just to make it look as racy as possible, Mini has fitted the GP with racecar-like cabin: conventional door panels and no rear seats, headliner and gearlever (paddle-shifters on the steering wheel take over the job). It's wider and lower than the regular John Cooper Works Hardtop, with a gaping mouth up front, massive air intakes, new side skirts, a huge diffuser, and a wing that could easily have been pulled off a World Rally Championship auto.

Commenting on the uncompromising look of the new vehicle, BMW Group senior vice president of design, Adrian von Hooydonk, said: "If you know about Mini, you'll be aware of the brand's long and successful history in motor sport". Lighter and stripped out, Mini says this concept is an ode to the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winning auto.

Mini has yet to release any technical details of the auto, meaning this GP Concept is likely to be more of an aesthetic exercise than a preview of what to expect under the clamshell bonnet of any upcoming GP model. There are a few trademark Mini toggle switches and a large (and slightly worrying) emergency cut-off button to provide some analogue relief. A peek inside reveals a roll cage joined by little more than a pair of low-mounted bucket seats with 5-point belts. You also get two screens and a head-up display. It's a bit annoying, really; when you see something this aggressive you naturally want to know what powers it.

Mini did not mention other enhancements as this is still a concept. It delivered 160kW and 280Nm of torque on the overboost, providing the front-wheel drive track focused hatchback with a 0-100km/h time of 6.3sec and top speed of 242km/h. Featuring highly distinctive styling, the concept could turn out to be a preview of a third generation Mini GP special edition, which could reach production towards the end of the current car's lifecycle.

For those unfamiliar with the GP badge, it denotes a vehicle one step above the John Cooper Works grade.

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