Mini John Cooper Works GP Boasts Impressive Nrburgring Time Despite Being Not Yet Fully Baked

Anthony Magagnoli
by Anthony Magagnoli
mini john cooper works gp boasts impressive nrburgring time despite being not yet

In conjunction with the 24 Hours of Nürburgring this past weekend, Mini presented a lightly-disguised John Cooper Works GP well before its scheduled on-sale date in 2020. With more than 300 horsepower on tap, the new JCW GP is almost half a minute faster than its predecessor around the Nordschleife.

While development tuning is still in process, the JCW GP lapped the “Green Hell” in less than 8 minutes. While that is impressive for any front-wheel-drive hot hatch, it will inevitably be compared to the 7:43.80 that was set by the Civic Type R. Whether it reaches that figure or not, it shares outlandish design style and boy-racer looks with the Type R.

The winged fenders feature deep reliefs cut into them. I’m struggling to envision the aerodynamic purpose of this design, though I hope there is a rational explanation. Maybe to control the airflow down the side of the car? If they’re a pre-cursor to 4-inch extensions for TCR racecar bodywork, then I’m OK with that. The fenders almost made me overlook the cartoonish spoiler over the rear hatch.

Ultimate performance of the JCW GP will depend significantly upon tire selection. The demonstration car was fitted with Hankook Ventus S1 Evo Z *star* tires. The current Ventus S1 Evo line of tires falls into the Tire Rack’s “Ultra High Performance Summer” category, which would be typical for an OE summer performance tire. There are still the “Max Performance Summer”, “Extreme Performance Summer”, and “Streetable Track & Competition” categories above that. We’ve seen many performance cars fitted with tires like the Pirelli P Zero Corsa or Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 to simply set a blistering lap time.

It is possible that the JCW GP will be offered with another tire that prioritizes track performance, as that is kind of the point of this version of the car. I suspect that they’ll need it if they hope to chase down the Civic Type R’s Nürburgring time. As for the “star”, that generally means that the tire was specifically designed for a particular vehicle application. The reality is that many OE tires are specifically tuned for the vehicle that they come on and aftermarket replacements may not be identical, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Three-thousand of the John Cooper Works GP models will be produced, which represents a 50 percent jump over the 2,000 offered in each of the prior two generations.

[Images: MINI USA]

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  • Formula m Formula m on Jun 25, 2019

    This seems pointless. BMW is getting sued for destroying the Mini brand. So they develop a vehicle that will be even lower to the ground to improve handling. My co-workers JCW Mini can barely creep around the parking lot avoiding speed bumps/pot holes. The Civic Type R is $41-42k CDN. This Mini will be $45-50k+ I would guess. Pretty pointless

  • NG5 NG5 on Jun 26, 2019

    I love hot hatchbacks, and even more cars with only two doors, but I don't understand why they want to set lap times with this. Why set yourself up to be compared unfavorably to the (likely cheaper) Civic Type R before even being released? Did they think they could beat the time and then not succeed on their track day, forcing them to release the time anyway to justify track costs? Are MINI buyers salivating over fast lap times? Is there a hardcore base of MINI track drivers in some country? Just tell me if it's fun, that the goofy add on bits make it more fun, and where it compares favorably to other hatches (smaller, interior materials, etc.). I've driven an older Mini a lot and I like the brand, but I don't think "track car".

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.