Rumors Behind the JCW GP

As the hotly debated JCW GP project continues to advance, today we look at some of the factors that appear to have lead MINI to select an outside firm to be so heavily involved in the production of its own special edition.

As was reported yesterday on MF, MINI has been anticipating a production decline in 2006 as the factory undergoes construction.

Additionally, resources at the MINI factory are being diverted away from normal production to build a limited number of R56’s. Approximately 2-3 R56’s are being built each day along side the existing R50/R53 production lines, with a goal of having 50 R56 mules by Christmas.

With those pressures on the current production it is understandable that MINI would start looking for alternative means for completion of a special project like the JCW GP.

Why Bertone? The key may rest with underperforming sales within BMW’s motorcycle division. Bertone was the primary subcontractor for the C1 motorcycle, and as part of that deal had anticipated building a total of nearly 30,000 units. However, BMW halted the line after only about a third of that number had been produced. The JCW GP therefore could be seen as a way for BMW to help Bertone offset some of the losses it would have suffered due to the C1 not living up to the original production expectations.

  • Interesting about the R56 mules – we should be seeing more and more spy pics then 😉

  • GSKChicago

    So is the target of 50 R56 models being built along side the current gen to test the manufacturing of said model, test the strength of the build, etc? Not knowing much if anything about auto manufacturing processes I find this interesting.

  • Interesting about the R56 mules – we should be seeing more and more spy pics then 😉

    You will very soon 🙂

  • Andy S.

    I’d say these 50 R56’s are more than just hacked together “mules” we commonly think of in Detroit. Based on the timing (less than a year before start of production) and the fact they are being built at the Oxford plant, I’d say these are the real deal. All sheet metal should be off production tools, with maybe only a handful of assembly parts still considered “prototype”.

    Since January is the peak season for cold testing, I expect several of those 50 vehicles to be destined for a lot of snow driving. Sure wish I lived near the MINI/BMW cold testing facility.

  • the mole

    January isn’t necessarily the peak season for cold testing. This could take place in more places than Oxford/Munich and did so many moons ago.

    the 50 or so will more than likely undergo durability test work…

    x ‘spect

  • That is no doubt true. FWIW, MotoringFile reported back in January about cold weather testing of the the R56 in Northern Finland.

  • meb

    …if they would just leave the brakes a natural colour and consider a different looking wheel. Both remind of what passes as early teenager tatse.

  • Dan

    What motorcycle is the C1? Is it the cruiser type twin cylinder bike or one of the single cylinder bikes? I’m surprised Bertone would build bikes.

  • i’d say the bertone assembly is an up-there reason i’m still on the gp list.

  • Erik Rutberg

    The C1 was part scooter part motorcycle (125cc), and it has a roof and seatbelts.

    Here is a link to some info:

  • O(=^=)O Capn

    So, I imagine they are testing the construction/assembly process by building the mules.

  • IanF

    That C1 looks neat. I’m kinda surprised it’s not on the BMW-UK bike site?

    I won’t even entertain the tought of it being imported to the U.S…

    I don’t think the GP is a bad deal if it stays around $30K. My guess is it will sell out quickly. I hated it at first, but after looking at what you get for the money it’s growing on me. I don’t even mind the red mirror caps – as contrasting mirrors seem to be a common theme on Euro touring racers. And I’m sure one could eventually find a buyer for the wheels at the same price as a set of SSR Comps or BBS RGFs.

  • minicoopermike

    Yeah, one could easily swap out the wheels and tires. If MINI would just tie/clean up the ‘loose’ ends (mis-matching flares, side skirts, rear spoiler) I think it will be a great package around $30K.

  • Looking at the comments, I’d say the MCS GP hype is gone… The GP is dead. Long live the R56!

  • Charles

    The GP as a track car will require losing the 18″ wheels and adding better brakes. Owners will do just fine selling both the wheels and the Works brake kit. There are no suitable pads for the Works brakes so a Wilwood kit is ther likely choice because it has pads for street and track, and one kit will fit even the stock 16″ wheels. In my case, I already have 17″ Kosei K1’s and the 16″ Monzas. It will be a killer on track days.

  • red fury

    I just want to know one thing …

    When and where Can I order the rear wing for my ride ???