More specific information on the hottest street Mini in history has now been released as the 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP prepares for its formal debut at the Paris Auto Show. Previewed in May at the Mini United Festival in Le Castellet, France, this limited-edition pocket rocket will start hitting showrooms later this year. With production capped at 2,000 units for the entire world, it's still not certain exactly how many are headed to America.
As Mini confirmed at its preview showing, the new John Cooper Works GP will pack an appropriately tweaked version of the 1.6-liter turbocharged Cooper S 4-cylinder engine under its scooped hood. We now know it's tuned to make 218 horsepower - four more ponies than the previous JCW GP model and 10 up on a "normal" JCW variant. It also churns out 192 lb-ft of torque from just 1,700 rpm but can kick that figure to 207 lb-ft at 2,000 revs for a limited period when the overboost circuit is engaged. Matched with a 6-speed manual transmission, it will let this competition-bred front-driver sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 150 mph.
Added firepower aside, the real secret to this maximum Mini's adrenaline-elevating formula lies in its heavily revised chassis. A full race-spec conversion, it's based around a fully-adjustable coil-over shock package that allows each damper to be individually fine-tuned to any street or track condition. Both front and rear camber angles are increased while front toe-in is reduced with the collective net effect being to improve weight transfer, steering feel and corning confidence. Rounding out the hardware upgrades are 215/40 performance tires on 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels and bigger and more capable anti-lock disc brakes.
The JCW GP Mini also features a custom Dynamic Stability Control system that is not interlaced with the normal Dynamic Traction Control. Instead, it features a unique GP racing mode that eliminates the Automatic Stability Control's ability to force engine power reduction and instead confines itself to only the braking side of the equation. Processing input received from the EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) under hard cornering, it creates more effective torque vectoring that transfers power from the inside wheel to the outside wheel where the contact/tractive forces are greater. How effective are the changes? In testing at the fabled Nurburgring, the new Mini John Cooper Works GP blasted around the North Loop some 18 seconds quicker than its predecessor.
To give it a proper fast-track profile, the Mini John Cooper Works GP balances numerous exterior cosmetic enhancements with an equally generous selection of functional upgrades. Painted exclusive Thunder Grey metallic with bright red accents on the hood, mirrors and front air intakes set off by a bevy of GP-specific badges, this ultra JCW hardtop boasts aero-enhancing front/rear aprons, underbody fairings and side sills as well as a custom rear diffuser and roof spoiler that collectively help trim high-speed lift at the rear axle by 90 percent and contribute to an overall drag reduction of six percent.
The full-race ambiance carries over to the cabin treatment, where the JCW GP jettisons its rear seat but gains a pair of Recaro competition-style buckets up front trimmed in black leather with grippy Alcantara inserts and a thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped JCW sport steering wheel. The sinister ebony influence also manifests itself is the car's Anthracite headliner and the generous use of Piano Black trim. Red accent stitching/piping adds a color counterpoint that also appears on the shift knob and cargo guard that prevents items from sliding forward out of the luggage compartment. As a finishing touch, GP badging is found on the seatbacks and dash.
No official pricing has been released at this point. However, the 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP is expected to start somewhere in the $45,000-$50,000 range.