Modified Race-spec MINI E Tackles the Nurburgring

This is one of the reasons we love MINI and it’s parent company BMW. They have no reason to ever take the MINI E anywhere near the track. It’s been a success as a test bed for future cars and they’ve gotten all sorts of good press from it over the past year. But the people behind MINI (and BMW) thought; why not take the MINI E to the largest and most famous race-track in the world. And that’s not to mention how long (14 miles) and dangerous is can be. The video above is proof ridiculous ideas often result in great youtube videos. The result? 9:51 seconds.

[nggallery id=20]

Official Release: Making on the infamous Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit at race speed with an electrically powered car is an ambitious project, but the BMW Group has just become the first car manufacturer to make it happen. Today the MINI E Race, a modified race-spec version of the standard MINI E, completed a lap of the legendary 20.8 km “Green Hell” in a time of 09:51.45 minutes. The MINI E Race hit a top speed of 187 km/h.

“The length and profile of the Nordschleife place extreme demands on the technology of our electric car. But the MINI E Race met this considerable challenge with great authority,” said the BMW Group’s Peter Krams, who headed up the project. “The aim of this unique undertaking was to provide an impressive showcase of the great potential of the MINI E and its environment-friendly drive concept.”

At the wheel of the electric racer for the hot lap was former DTM racing driver Thomas Jäger from Munich. “I’ve driven this circuit many times, but never in such an extraordinary car,” said Jäger, the MINI Challenge champion in 2006. “The power of the electric motor has an incredible effect, as you can access its full reserves of torque at all times. Another element of this fascinating experience is the lack of noise from the drivetrain. All in all, that was certainly the cleanest and quietest race lap I’ve ever driven.”

Extensive preparations had to be completed before the car could roll out onto the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. The MINI E Race was fitted with a special lightweight body and a roll cage in order to ensure optimum performance and safety on the track. And various other components, such as the suspension, brakes and tyres, are also race specification. Other than that, however, the car relies almost exclusively on the standard technical make-up of the MINI E. For example, it shares the same 150 kW/204 hp electric motor, supplied with energy from 5,088 lithium-ion battery cells. The control electronics and the software were reprogrammed to achieve an optimal driving performance for the Nordschleife. The power from the emission-free motor is channelled to the front wheels via a single-stage helical gearbox with a lengthened gear ratio.

  • Mark

    Love the look with the Aero kit and those gold/yellow wheels.

  • Huckleberry

    anyone have any links to how that stacks up vs other makes and models that are gas powered?

  • WOW…gotta love this idea! It is not as if the MINI E needed to prove anything, but this gets a tip-o-the-hat for sure 🙂

  • Just think how much better the time would have been on a dry track and with some actual visibility!

  • Pingback: Modified Race-spec MINI E Tackles the Nurburgring - Mini Club UK()

  • I would love to watch the full unedited in-cockpit video without the music. Anyone know if it is available?

  • Ron in NJ
  • goat

    Nice work MINI… great to see this! Is there any less-edited and less “musical” footage we can see? E-cars make some neat sounds especially in the cabin and I’d like to see /hear that version of the video if it’s available.

  • lavardera

    yikes! I wonder if they altered the MiniE’s suspension at all?

  • lavardera

    hmm, was the fireproof underwear really needed here?

  • that.guy

    Would have been smart to keep the lap time confidential. That is pretty lame…

  • Would have been smart to keep the lap time confidential. That is pretty lame…

    It’s not lame but it’s not staggering fast. In my first day I managed something like 9:30 in a stock MCS. Others have done it quite a bit faster. The factory JCW is well below the 9:00 mark.

  • that.guy

    Lame given the fact that BMW prepped this car for the run and there was a professional at the wheel. Best R56 JCW time – 8:35, R53 – 8:55. I believe both of those cars were stock, not race prepped.

  • Lame given the fact that BMW prepped this car for the run and there was a professional at the wheel. Best R56 JCW time – 8:35, R53 – 8:55. I believe both of those cars were stock, not race prepped.

    It’s only lame until you realize the test driver was in fact blind …But of course that’s not true so you can resume your talk of it being lame.

  • Cory

    To me, considering what it is, it did pretty good. A JCW R56 is a quick and aggressive car. I don’t think anybody spends all the extra money for a JCW because of its fuel economy estimates.

    The MINI E, in contrast, is a small, cute, eco-friendly, and… well, slow car. It’s an electric MINI Cooper, not a Tesla. From what else I’ve read about the E, I’m surprised it did as well as it did. In fact, I applaud it.

  • that.guy

    Ok, ok. I applaud it too, given the whole blind driver thing. How can you not applaud that?

  • Boro Boy

    Good entertainment value, applause particularly for the genius who decided a bonnet with a scoop was essential. Just goes to show that go-faster scoops (sans superchargers) really do work! Hilarious.

  • MatthewW

    The lap time isn’t the point; while the body, suspension, and roll cage were designed for the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit, the “drivetrain” was identical to the MINI E.

    MINI could have modified the batteries and electric motor(s) to accomplish a far faster lap time, but I don’t think that was the goal of this project.

    Go E-power! 🙂

  • BilboBaggins

    You sort to have to have the musical score with the MINI-e as there is no engine to listen to. Maybe just a little tire squeal and some whirring.

  • I was surprised to see this on CNet too! What a hot MINI with the aerokit and goldish-yellow wheels! I bet the Prius can’t hold up on the track… 😉

  • dr

    No no no….The driver was not blind, he was deaf! Who else would want to drive an electric car around the Nürburgring?

    They had to add the soundtrack because otherwise the lame part would simply be the sound of squealing tires and the driver snoring while in the straights

    Seriously though, I’m glad they did it and all but I hold little interest in electric car performance.

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » Archive » The MINI E Racecar at the Nürburgring (Video)()