Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept: A study in racing
Mini has introduced a concept car at the Frankfurt Auto Show that recalls the racing heritage of the British firm. Called the Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept, it boasts an expressive exterior along with upgrades that make it the perfect track day warrior. Inspired by Mini’s success 50 years ago in the Monte Carlo Rally, the concept also continues in the mode of previous special editions such as the 2012 Mini John Cooper Works GP and an earlier 2006 Cooper S with the JCW GP kit. Both models sold in limited numbers of just 2,000 each.
While Mini hasn’t committed to producing a version of its show car, its debut and public reaction could pave the way towards making it a reality. The design itself underlies its track-oriented nature. Significantly wider than the current Mini, the car sports large front and rear aerodynamic aprons, wide side skirts and a large roof spoiler, many of these bits made from lightweight carbon fiber.
A large mesh grille and additional front inlets add to the car’s aggressive looks, further complimented by a functional hood scoop and auxiliary roof-mounted air intake. The Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept rides on 19-inch Racetrack lightweight wheels with contrasting red and orange accents. A matte decal on the fender with the number 0059 refers to the first year of Mini production in 1959.
An even bolder statement on the car’s track capabilities is made by the driver-oriented interior. There’s a full roll cage inside, while the rear bench seat, headliner and door trim panels have been removed in the interest of reduced mass. The low-mounted front bucket seats feature 5-point harnesses. Paddles on the steering wheel handle all the gear changes.
All gauges and relevant data are displayed in front of the driver, either on the dash or via a head-up display. Mini’s traditional center display has been given over to a large screen format touch screen that is used to control suspension settings. Even the door handle pulls have been replaced with fabric straps.
“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 Schwartzenbauer, BMW board member in charge of Mini. “This is driving fun in its purest form.”