World Premiere: MINI JCW Endurance

This is going up a few hours early since Autoblog (along with a few other sites) couldn’t quite get that embargo ‘thing’ figured out. For the record gentemen, it was tomorrow morning.

Today takes the wraps off of one of the most ambitious motorsport projects from the brand yet. This weekend MINI will be tackling the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring, perhaps the toughest and most difficult 24 hour race in the world. And to do it MINI has created an entirely new race car based on the R58 MINI JCW Coupe.

We have the full press release below but we can shed a bit more light on this car ourselves. A few weeks ago I had a chance to sit in the car and go over it in detail. In short this is unlike any MINI Challenge race-car ever made. It may look similar but it has much more extensive aero work along with a heavily revised 1.6L JCW engine. Like the Challenge race-car, the JCW Endurance uses a stock JCW engine. Unlike the Challenge car it doesn’t make due with merely 225 hp but instead over 250 hp.

Helping put this power down to the tarmac is MINI’s first sequential manual transmission. It’s a race transmission that is mounted on the dash just to the right of the steering wheel – very similar to last year’s ALMS/LeMans M3s. Shift times are measured in milliseconds.

Inside the cabin is sparse but perfectly laid out. I can tell you from experience that climbing into the car (especially for someone 6’2″) is not a thing of beauty. And getting out is even worse. But once you’re in the race seat and the controls seem to fit like a glove. However I do apologize for putting my size 13 pretty hard (by accident of course) into the key slot which was moved to the left of the steering wheel.

Even opening the door is a strangely new experience as it’s made entirely out of carbon fiber and weighs seemingly just a couple of pounds. I literally swung it open with a flick of my finger. Carbon fiber is also used on the hood and boot-lid to further reduce weight.

Unfortunately MINI doesn’t have any further plans for this car after the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring this weekend. In fact I specifically asked if this was the next Challenge car and got a resounding ‘no’. So what we have here is simply the fastest most ultimate of all ultimate MINIs. A true one-off (or 2-3 off from what we’ve heard) that will hopefully inform future race-cars and even production cars.

You can read the official press release and see the full official gallery and photos we took of the car after the break.

Official Release

Motor sport is in the MINI genes. And now the carmaker is set to add a new chapter to its racing heritage with the arrival of the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance. The newly developed racer will line up at this year’s 24-hour race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit, previewing the series-production version of the car due to be unveiled to the public in autumn 2011.

With the participation of the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance, the Nürburgring 24-hour race will be staging an automotive world premiere for the first time in its history. At the same time, the extreme demands of the classic endurance event ensure the new MINI model will be given a baptism of fire.

MINI’s declared aim in entering the Nürburgring 24-hour race is to experience the adventure of the “Green Hell”, as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife is affectionately known. And the brand has called, among other things, on the experience gained over many years of MINI Challenge sprint racing in the development of its new racing car for this unique event.

A pure-bred racing set-up will equip the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance for a full day lapping the combined Nordschleife/Grand Prix circuit at race speed. Providing the power is a specially-tuned version of the series- produced MINI John Cooper Works engine. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit – which boasts a twin-scroll turbocharger and petrol direct injection – delivers 250 hp, and the Overboost function pushes peak torque up to 330 Newton metres. Top speed is in excess of 240 km/h. With the over-boost function (the same found on the Cooper S and the JCW) it can get up to 243 lbs of torque.

The MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance sees the brand’s customary go-kart feeling taken to a whole new level. The stiff race suspension ensures impressive roadholding and gives the driver constant, direct feedback from the road surface. Adjustable shock absorber units allow the suspension set-up to be adapted to fluctuating track conditions, a feature that will come in particularly handy at the Nordschleife.

The more steeply raked windscreen of the car’s flat coupé silhouette sets it apart clearly from the Hatch and helps to minimise aerodynamic drag, which the drivers will acknowledge with a smile on the circuit’s long straights. The John Cooper Works Aerodynamics Package further enhances the Coupé’s already supreme handling; the front spoiler, rear diffuser and adjustable rear wing generate downforce, optimising the balance between the front and rear axle.

The MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance achieves an exceptionally high level of safety thanks to features including a roll cage welded to the body and a sports bucket seat with six-point safety belt and Formula One-style HANS

(Head And Neck Support) system. When it comes to active safety, the car adopts the proven braking system with Race ABS from MINI Challenge racing and adds a specially tuned DSC dynamic control system, likewise optimised for the race track. Plus, in the interests of safety – and rapid pit stops – the MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance is kitted out with an integrated pneumatic jack.

Official Photos

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MotoringFile Photos

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  • Hoover

    Hell YEAH. Bad ass!  That’s all I gots to say about this.  Hope it does well.  Looks sick…like it should.

  • Versus

    I love that front lip & the MINI Motorsports graphic is pretty fierce, well done.

  • KPH

     BMW/MINI is not kidding around here, one-off or not they’re making a point. Here’s to good luck in Green Hell.

  • dez

    this thing is cool… wish it didn’t have tigers all over it…

  • Benzz

    The URL on the windscreen ( has quite a few pics of multiple color combos of the production car.

  • b-

    That is HOT AS HELL!  I LOVE it!

  • Anonymous

    Looks like the old JCW body kit, and they’ve cut the lower opening larger. Also has the black jcw grill trim – but the silver headlight surrounds. And whoever was the genius who thought it had no hood scoop – take a closer look.

  • Michael Martha

    you can go to, and poke around the Mini Coupe site.  They have pictures of White Silver body/Chilli Red Roof/Black Challenge Rims.  the Black Challenge rims are the way to go!!!

    Gabe, you were right; the more I look at this car, the more I like it.

  • Aurel

    Looks fantastic … the antenna position is a deal breaker though … oh, wait 😉

  • JonPD

    This has been living on my FB page for a couple of weeks and still love it. Hope it does well on the Ring. Still to bad the Coupe we are getting did not share some of this loving by BMWMINI. Would make a perfect GP2 lol

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  • Is the stock motorized rear wing on this car just a prop to fill the space or does it still rise up to meet the bigger one at 50?

    • There is no motorized rear wing. It’s just molded into the shape of the boot to look stock.

  • Harry Dill

    This is a resounding step in the right direction, or in MINI speak — ” a small step for Man … a giant step for Motorerkind!”  Inspiring to say the least.  The “real” wing is not only race functional, but aesthetically pleasing as it lengthens the horizontal proportions of the boot.  Even with the “ketchup cap” I am impressed.  MINI suggestion: Gear up for next year’s Le Mans and splice an uber diesel into the engine bay to add another measure of excitement.  Also, incorporate some of the carbon pieces into a new Coupe GP successor.

  • Lex76

    I love that car! But I’m sorry but I get upset when it says ORIGINAL MINI products. You cannot buy a carbon fibre door hood or boot from Mini. I’m pretty sure that a 250 hp engine isn’t available either and that suspension is not the JCW suspension. All I’m saying is if your gonna say it’s Mini products, make those available for us to buy!

    • Volkan

      Doesn’t it say “Original Mini CARE Products”? I think you can buy the same shampoo, windshield washer fluid, dust cloths, etc. for your own MINI 🙂

  • Anonymous

    This should be the new GP