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Mini confirms production of JCW GP hatchback

Mini John Cooper Works GP will be based on concept introduced last year

Published: November 25, 2018, 2:30 AM
Updated: December 3, 2018, 4:07 PM

Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept

Mini has confirmed it will produce a new Mini John Cooper Works GP, based on the concept introduced at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show and shown at this past spring’s New York International Auto Show.

Meant as a tribute to Mini’s motorsports heritage, a GP last made a production appearance in 2013, as a 2,000-unit limited edition.

“The MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept is all about the unfettered feeling of driving and levels of performance found in motor sport competition,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, at the concept’s introduction in Frankfurt. “This is driving fun in its purest form.”

Not much is known yet about the production car due in 2020, but it’s anticipated it will have the concept’s colour scheme, which is in the familiar JCW contrast. The main colour is Black Jack Anthracite and it’s accented with matte Curbside Red Metallic. It rides on 19-inch lightweight multi-spoke wheels that match the body colours.

It will likely carry over most of the concept’s body add-ons — large front and rear aprons, flared wheel arches, side skirts and prominent roof-mounted rear spoiler — but not the shoulder flare-outs that made the concept significantly wider than the production Mini hatchback. All the new trim is expected to be carbon-fibre, to minimize weight gain and keep the balanced weight distribution for which Minis are known.

The interior of the concept was stripped down for the track, but it is expected the production car will bear some resemblances in the things it can sensibly duplicate, such as racing style seats and belts that mimic racing harnesses. Like the concept, instrumentation is expected to be fully digital and it will likely also use a head-up display. Look also for driving dynamics adjustments in the cockpit.

Although it was removed in the concept, expect a 2-position rear seat and carpeting throughout. Things such as door panels were also removed (and door pulls and handles with them) and an aluminum roll cage was added. We wouldn’t be surprised to see interior trim mimic the roll cage on door panels, and also straps for pulling and opening functionality; both features would add to the racing persona of the car.

Nothing is known about the powertrain and drivetrain, though we anticipate it will be controlled by a dual-clutch paddle-shifted automatic. Details, pricing and production runs will be announced closer to its market date.

“If you know about MINI, you’ll be aware of the brand’s long and successful history in motor sport,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group’s Design Director. “The MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept brings together the full suite of defining MINI design features and showcases them at their sportiest and most exciting. What we’re looking at here is maximum performance, maximum MINI.”