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Mini promises 220kW-plus in next JCW GP

Most powerful Mini teased a year ahead of John Cooper Works GP launch

13 Feb 2019

THE most powerful and fastest Mini devised yet is in the pipeline for a launch in 2020 in the form of the limited-edition third-generation John Cooper Works GP.


Packing more than 220kW of power from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the latest JCW GP – others were launched in 2006 and 2012 – will have at least 50kW more power than the ‘standard’ 170kW JCW Mini that is available in hatch, Clubman, convertible and Countryman guises.


The engine is expected to be a close relative of the powerplant in the mechanically related BMW X2 M35i.


The confirmation of the hot powertrain was announced by the BMW-owned British manufacturer today, along with three teaser images – of the wild rear wing, a front alloy wheel and twin exhausts protruding from the rear diffuser.


Just 3000 will be built for global consumption, up from the 2000 built last time. While the Australian launch has yet to be confirmed, Mini Australia says it has expressed interest in getting its hands on an allocation.


Last year, BMW Group Australia managing director Marc Werner told GoAuto that he wanted the car for Australia, describing it as “my personal favourite”.


If it comes as it surely must, it will probably land soon after the European launch in 2020.


Last time around, Australia was initially allocated 30 units, but ended up getting 55.


As before, the JCW GP is arriving towards the end of the Mini hatchback’s model lifecycle, as a sort of exclamation point on the current generation.


The new GP is based on the JCW GP Concept shown at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show. Images reveal it gets a similar extravagant rear wing, pronounced rear diffuser and centrally mounted twin chrome exhausts.


While the concept has race-style central locking wheel nuts, the image of the alloy wheel shows a conventional wheel-nut set-up for the production version.


Mini promises the new JCW GP will get motorsport technology by JCW for “a whole new dimension of performance and driving fun”.


It is not clear if this includes a number of lightweight carbon-fibre parts that were evident on the concept, but it almost certainly will be stripped of many creature comforts – even rear seats – in the interest of weight loss.


Mini says pre-production testing of the JCW GP is now in full swing, and it hinted that it is about to hit race tracks for suspension and performance testing.


The media release mentions the 8min 23sec lap time of the previous 2012 160kW JCW GP at the Nurburgring, perhaps suggesting that test mules are about to appear there to lay the groundwork for smashing that time in the more powerful, more aerodynamic new model.


Mini vice-president of product and launch management Thomas Giuliani said: “The fastest Mini in our brand history – which now goes back 60 years – is an expression of pure racing passion.


“We are well aware of the enormous fascination exercised by the Mini John Cooper Works GP, not just from the euphoric reactions to the concept vehicle but also from past experience.


“After all, every one of its predecessors was completely sold out even before the official market launch.”


Mini has not said where and when the production version will make its global debut, but the Frankfurt motor show later this year would seem appropriate.

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