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Mini unveils hi-po JCW GP edition

Ring leader: Mini’s limited-run Cooper S John Cooper Works GP has lapped the Nurburgring-Nordschleife as fast as the AWD VW Golf R.

Limited-edition John Cooper Works GP special is Mini’s fastest production model yet

Mini logo14 May 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

MINI will produce just 2000 examples of its fastest road-going product yet, the two-seat John Cooper Works GP hatch unveiled at the Mini United festival in Le Castellet, France over the weekend – and a handful could make it to Australia.

Weight-saving measures such as ditching the rear seats are complemented by adjustable race-style suspension and upgraded aerodynamics in the name of boosting performance and driving dynamics.

No power and torque figures have been announced, but given that the current JCW produces 155kW of power and up to 280Nm of torque, expect an increase over the 160kW/244Nm outputs of the previous JCW GP, which was sold as a factory-fitted kit and served as a 2000-run swansong for the first-generation BMW Mini in 2006.

The new GP has posted a Nurburgring-Nordschleife lap time of 8m23s, matching Volkswagen’s 195kW/350Nm all-wheel-drive Golf R and beating its predecessor by almost 19 seconds.

Mini Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told GoAuto the local outfit will be putting its hand up for the GP and hopes to get an allocation of between 10 and 20 vehicles of the 2000 built for global consumption when production begins early next year.

In the meantime, the new GP continues undergoing a testing program, part of which involved setting that time at the ’Ring.

39 center imageOther than the obligatory decals, features that mark the GP out as something special hark back to the 2006 original, including two-tone four-spoke alloy wheels, red exterior mirror housings and a GP badge in the bonnet air intake.

A large finned roof spoiler is also fitted, along with a distinctive new rear diffuser said to optimise flow around the car’s underbody, while a “race-spec” brake setup and “bespoke racing” tyres add to the GP’s competition pedigree.

No interior photos or details have been provided other than claims it “contributes to the car’s inspiration racing feeling”, and “focuses unashamedly on the needs of the driver and co-driver”.

Mr Croaker was unable to confirm whether Coupe or Roadster versions of the GP will emerge, pointing out that, while these sports-oriented models were well-suited to the extra performance, the hatch better applies to the car’s historical significance.

However, spy shots of a Mini Coupe wearing the GP’s four-spoke alloy wheels, side skirts and a camouflaged version of the distinctive rear diffuser emerged earlier this month.

The GP is the latest in a long line of recent Mini special editions, many of which have been named after places in London, in recognition of the German-owned brand’s British heritage.

Mini sales are up 25.3 per cent to the end of April this year, with the Hatch and Clubman wagon accounting for 478 of the 777 cars sold.

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