MINI John Cooper Works In Depth (UK)

Faster, louder and more dynamic

Technical features of the new MINI John Cooper Works

MINI UK Press Release: Motorsport is the single greatest influence in the development of the MINI John Cooper Works. In fact, the four-cylinder, common rail direct injection unit found in the standard MINI Cooper S has received the same modifications as the MINI CHALLENGE car, which is a model only licensed for track use.

Engine tuning The 2008 International Engine of the Year (1.4-1.8-litre category) found in the MINI Cooper S was a strong base unit on which to begin John Cooper Works tuning. The basic structure of the engine – a pressure die-cast aluminium crankcase with grey cast-iron liners and bed plate – has not received any modifications. Nor has the forged crankshaft or conrods.

The intake valves and valve seat rings have been upgraded with more durable materials to withstand the increased temperature caused by the free-revving engine. The pistons have had their sidewalls reinforced, which means the compression ratio is reduced to 10.0:1. The cylinder head has similarly had its wall thickness increased to reduce any localised stress or hot spots when running at peak output.

Air supply is improved through fitment of a larger air mass sensor and charge air line, meaning greater throughput of clean air and a reduction in the loss of throttle power. Induction is quickened through a larger air intake, in turn meaning the car’s maximum 280Nm torque figure is 20Nm over a standard MINI Cooper S.

At the exhaust end, a strengthened and larger twin-scroll turbocharger and exhaust manifold are central to performance improvements. The material used in machining the turbine has been upgraded for the Works engine, with maximum charge pressure increased from 0.9 to 1.3 bar. A high temperature can therefore be preserved for longer in the combustion chambers and helps the car achieve its remarkable peak torque figure.

The catalytic converter and rear part of the exhaust system are increased in size to aid the unrestricted flow and reduction in back pressure of exhaust gas, which minimises potential power loss or delay. Turbo lag is therefore virtually non-existent.

In addition, the transmission has strengthened gearing to handle the extra available power. This helps to give the car a remarkable output of 132hp per litre, yet still able to offer a staggering 40mpg.

Aural and visual pleasure is guaranteed by fitment of a John Cooper Works exhaust system. Large polished stainless steel twin tailpipes complement the deep burble produced by the Works engine and exhaust system.

Safety and chassis control

The following are standard features of the MINI John Cooper Works:

ABS Brakes EBD Electronic Brake Force Distribution CBC Cornering Brake Control EDLC Electronic Differential Lock Control DSC Dynamic Stability Control (incorporating Hill Assist) DTC Dynamic Traction Control

A first for any MINI is Dynamic Traction Control, which is an adjunct to DSC. When driving on loose gravel or snow, activating DTC improves traction by increasing the tolerance for wheel slip before DSC kicks-in. DSC will then only intervene in extreme cases. However, both DSC and DTC can be deactivated at the touch of a button and with greater slip available, even the most enthusiastic driving style is catered for!

With DSC fully deactivated, the car’s Electronic Differential Lock Control delivers an even sportier driving experience. EDLC works when the car is accelerating hard out of corners or tight bends. In this situation, it electronically slows the spinning inside rear wheel to enhance grip and ensure that all available power is transferred to the road through the wheel with greatest traction. In contrast to the way DSC and DTC manage power delivery to the wheels, EDLC does not intervene with the throughput of engine power, meaning the driver is in near total control of the handling of the car.

Customers looking for a firmer suspension than the one supplied as standard on the MINI John Cooper Works are able to specify a Sport Suspension, which stiffens the damper and anti-roll bar settings. Additionally, an even more hardcore John Cooper Works suspension which lowers the car by 10mm is available as an accessory from all MINI dealers.

Extra-large disc brakes paired with upgraded bright red Brembo performance calipers are supplied on Works cars. The front discs are 316mm in diameter. The rears are 280mm. The brake discs are approximately 22mm larger than those on a standard MINI Cooper S.

Interior and exterior styling

An array of high-quality interior features as standard in the MINI John Cooper Works includes a sport leather steering wheel, air conditioning, glossy piano black interior trim and anthracite roof lining.

Performance of the Works cars is underlined by a new speedometer, which is increased to 160mph to account for the car’s higher top speed.

A Sport button is located in front of the gear stick. When pressed it activates a bespoke engine control map producing boost earlier in the rev range and sharpening steering and throttle response. The red gear knob is unique to the MINI John Cooper Works.

Exclusive lightweight 17” light alloy wheels in Cross-spoke CHALLENGE design, shod with Run-flat tyres, feature on the Works cars. Each wheel weighs less than ten kilos.

Marking the cars out is the John Cooper Works logo, which is positioned on the boot, grille and brakes, as well as the door sills.

Motorsport DNA: The MINI CHALLENGE car

MINI performance was taken to new levels early in 2008 with the launch of the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE, a MINI Cooper S built specifically for track use and ready to race.

Development of this racer means the way the new MINI John Cooper Works performs on both road and track is no fluke, for it is a direct adaptation of the MINI CHALLENGE race car. Developed by the John Cooper Works engineering team, the technical enhancements were extensive and in many cases, shared with the model now available to public buyers.

Power enhancements are at the core of the striking CHALLENGE car’s modifications. As well as a re-developed twin-scroll turbocharger, the standard MINI Cooper S engine receives modified pistons, air filter, air intake passage, catalytic converter, exhaust components, electronic sensors and engine management system.

Numerous chassis and suspension tweaks add to what is a finely-tuned racing package. The new suspension system features adjustable damper units from KW Automotive, designed specifically for motor sport. A six-speed manual gearbox transmits power to 17” front wheels made by Borbet and shod with exclusive new racing tyres manufactured by Dunlop.

Body revisions based on the John Cooper Works Aerodynamic Kit, available from all MINI dealers, are key features of the CHALLENGE car’s set-up. To generate increased downforce at higher speeds, CHALLENGE car owners can expect a new adjustable rear spoiler, rear diffuser and performance front spoiler. The new braking system performs exceptionally. Large four-piston calipers mean the car can go from 62 – 0mph in just 3.1 seconds. A race-specific ABS configuration and an air-pressure elevating system complete the product modifications, which together equate to a vehicle 30kg lighter than the previous CHALLENGE car.

Safety measures perfect the range of MINI CHALLENGE car features. A roll cage welded firmly to the body of the car houses RECARO bucket seats combined with a six-point safety belt, along with the HANS (Head And Neck Support) system used in Formula 1 cars. This car will not be licensed for public roads and as such is expected to maintain its appeal among racing enthusiasts.

MINI CHALLENGE racing

The manufacturer-supported MINI CHALLENGE race series is fast gaining presence and popularity around the world. Since 2004, Challenge races have been staged in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and New Zealand. In 2008, MINI Australia is also staging a CHALLENGE competition. Here in the UK, the MINI Challenge Club & S-Class Championship is in its seventh year. 32 competitors are competing over 17 rounds at some of the UK’s finest circuits and all driving first generation MINI Cooper S race-prepared cars. With seven rounds gone in June 2008, Martin Depper, Joel Wroe Johnson, Michelle Nixon and Jack Stanford are starting to break away from the rest of the pack and stake their claims for end of season honours.

As part of the Dunlop Great & British package the race series has gained a huge profile and the ‘Sunday at Six’ events are now broadcast by Sky Sports.

The cars, drivers, officials and support teams provide a captivating and charismatic addition to every venue that the MINI Challenge attends. Each meeting has full technical advice and parts support, a dedicated race centre as well as the friendliest, most social paddock in motor sport.

North of the border, the Scottish MINI Cooper Cup is thriving. Now in its sixth year, the competition sees more than 20 cars line up in every race. Every round is televised and the Championship has attracted drivers from complete novices to seasoned racers. This season alone has produced eight different winners, underlining the fiercely competitive nature of every race.

What’s in a name?

John Cooper Works under the ownership of BMW Group

The Cooper name originates from John Cooper, an engineering legend inextricably linked to the golden age of British motor racing throughout the 1960’s. With the introduction of new MINI in 2001, the Cooper name was reborn under the guidance of John’s son Mike, who began developing aftermarket tuning kits for the new MINI at the original John Cooper premises in East Preston, West Sussex.

In December 2006 BMW Group acquired the rights from Mike to the John Cooper Works Brand. Early in 2007, this transaction became effective and gave BMW Group the opportunity to develop this sub-brand and strengthen the MINI brand and product range.

The deal was agreed with the then owners of the John Cooper Works brand and in 2008, Mike Cooper remains as a consultant on the BMW Group’s John Cooper Works brand strategy. Mike has been involved in the design and production of the aftersales tuning kits available for the MINI Cooper S.

Although no longer producing their own tuning kits or accessories under the name John Cooper Works, Mike Cooper’s Cooper Car Company develops and supplies car accessories for various other corporate clients. The Cooper Car Company supplies BMW AG with hardware components for the current MINI Hatch aftersales tuning kit as well as sports air filters and sports exhausts for the BMW 3 Series. These parts bear the name John Cooper Works or BMW Performance respectively.

No formal co-operation agreement exists between the Cooper Car Company and BMW AG but given the successful relationship forged between both parties, it is planned and desired that the Cooper Car Company will be a partner of BMW AG for many years to come.

John Cooper Works tuning and MINI since 2003

The John Cooper Works tuning brand is a developing MINI story. Prior to the launches of the Oxford-built MINI John Cooper Works and MINI CHALLENGE cars in 2008, a line of aftermarket tuning kits and factory-built models plot the history of John Cooper Works back to 2003. In 2008, close to four thousand John Cooper Works-tuned MINIs are on UK roads.

2007 John Cooper Works Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper S

UK sales to date: 402

Technical specification:

  • Sports exhaust with chrome finish tailpipes
  • Adapted air filter
  • Modified engine control unit
  • John Cooper Works badges
  • 192 hp
  • 250 Nm peak torque between 1,500 and 5,000 rpm. With Overboost deployed, peak torque is increased to 270 Nm between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm.
  • 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds

2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit

UK sales: 454 (Limited production of 2,000 models for worldwide sale)

Technical specification:

  • Limited Slip Differential
  • ASC+T
  • EBD
  • DSC as a no-cost option
  • Rear seat bench removed to accommodate a polished reinforcement tube connecting the spring strut domes on the rear axle
  • 16-inch John Cooper Works disc brakes
  • Thunder Blue/Pure Silver paintwork with red caps on the exterior mirrors
  • Adapted air filter
  • Modified outlet ducts
  • Modified injection nozzles and spark plugs
  • Sports exhaust system with chrome finish tailpipes
  • Modified engine control unit
  • 18-inch light alloy wheels with low profile tyres
  • John Cooper Works GP Aerodynamic Kit
  • Recaro leather seats in Panther Black
  • Bose audio system with CD player
  • John Cooper Works GP badges
  • 1.6-litre supercharged engine
  • 218hp
  • 250 Nm peak torque at 4,600 rpm
  • 149 mph top speed
  • 0-62 mph in 6.5 seconds

2005-06 Sound Kit for MINI Cooper (Performance equal to standard MINI Cooper)

UK sales: 525

Technical specification

  • Air filter system
  • Stainless steel sports exhaust
  • Modified engine control unit
  • Engine cover finished in silver with John Cooper Works emblem
  • John Cooper Works badges
  • John Cooper Works certificate of authenticity

2004-06 John Cooper Works 210 hp Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper S

UK sales: 1209

Technical specification: As 2003-04 John Cooper Works 200hp Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper S, but with:

  • JCW upgrade kit to increase power output, consisting of a complete JCW air filter system, injection nozzles with increased throughput and modified engine control unit
  • 210 hp
  • 245 Nm peak torque at 4,500 rpm
  • 143 mph top speed
  • 0-62 mph in 6.6 seconds

2003-04 John Cooper Works 200 hp Tuning Kit for MINI Cooper S

UK sales: 1197

Technical Specification:

  • Complete John Cooper Works air filter system
  • Modified cylinder head including valve drive and gaskets
  • Sport rear silencer in stainless steel
  • Modified supercharger
  • Injection nozzles with increased throughput
  • High power spark plugs
  • Modified engine control unit
  • John Cooper Works badges
  • Engine cover finished in silver, including a John Cooper Works emblem
  • John Cooper Works certificate of authenticity
  • 200 hp
  • 245 Nm peak torque at 4,500 rpm
  • 143 mph top speed
  • 0-62 mph in 6.6 seconds

MINI John Cooper Works Technical Specifications (UK)

+ Official Technical PDF / MINI UK

MIIN John Cooper Works in Motion