Hands-on with the New JCW GP

The JCW GP is here. We’ve just returned from a preview and briefing of the car by Jorg Weidinger, head of development of the new GP and were allowed a hands-on look of the car. Through this and few other sources we were garner some exclusive details about the car, the development and why it’s perhaps a bit more special than even looks would suggest.

MINI isn’t releasing many figures at this point but there is one that they are speaking publicly and quite proudly about; the GP’s Nurburgring lap time of 8:23. That’s a full 18 seconds faster than the previous GP and puts it in a rare company of front wheel drive cars on the ‘Ring.

Unlike the previous GP, MINI took their time to bring this car to market. Developed over the course of two years, testers used both the ‘Ring and public roads to create the best possible combination of extreme performance and livability. The entirely new JCW suspension improves on the after-sales kit by lowering the car further and giving it better body control on the track. Like-wise we’re told six piston front brakes are a decided improvement over the already good four-pots on the standard JCW.

Live Full Gallery

MINI also partnered with Khumo to develop a specific 17″ tire for this GP that offers better grip and ride qualities than any previous tire that size has offered. Why 17s rather 18s? According to MINI the revised JCW suspension is so aggressive that the 18s were deemed too rough.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the GP (aside from the engine which MINI aren’t willing to talk about yet) is the aero work that has gone into the car. MINI has closed off the underside of the car (using bespoke parts and one or two from the Cooper SD) to create better air flow and less lift. This coupled with the rather dramatic rear diffuser allows the car to stay far better planted at speed than any MINI other than MINI Challenge race-car. They also tweaked the front aero (just in front of the tires) to allow for better air-flow and less drag and lift. It may not look it, but we’re told that these changes in total create a substantially improved car over the standard JCW.

MINI isn’t talking about the interior (other than it’ll have only two Recaros inside) or the drivetrain. But from our sources we’re expecting something edging close to 220 hp and the most torque ever from a MINI.

We’ll have much more on the car in the coming days and weeks but until then enjoy the official release, gallery (below) and our own gallery above.

Official Full Gallery

Written By: Gabe

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/?????????-?????????/100000763811011 ????????? ?????????
  • http://about.me/bentyyc Ben Tsui

    I’m more excited about this “on paper” than I am with the pictures… Just me?


    • Kurtster

      Han Solo said it best: “She may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts.”

  • T6061

    Peel the decals off, replace the red plastic with their carbon fiber counterparts (mirror caps, hood scoop and brake ducts) and I’d be all in… 

  • Bob Hayhurst

    It’s time for a bit more information Gabe/Todd.  How about an interview with a MINI executive with a loose tongue.  You know theres one there somewhere itching to talk or maybe a Motoringfile spyshot of the interior. Throw us a bone…

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      It’s coming. In the middle of 20 hours of travel.

  • addicted2MINI

    At first glance I was blown away. The more you look at it and start to disect it. Its like they added too much to it. The first GP did not have all the xtra Jazz to it. Simple touches the Red caps were about the wildest thing from the exterior. Now its got all these xtra graphics the red brake ducts the red decal on the scoop the roof graphic looks like a fake roof rack the side graphics I would have been fine with just a GP decal but the big long stripe thing? I can say i love the rear defuser i love the rear spoiler . I still think it is great that MINI is bringing back the GP and from what they say about it being the fastest factory MINI yet thats cool too.  I think they missed the mark a little bit on graphics but all in all its still cool. Way to go MINI keeping the performance side going.

    • R Burns

      totally subjective. same judgement can be applied on both

  • goat

    Speaking quite broadly, I am not a fan of the R56 (Clubman and Coupe/Roadster somewhat excepted). But this – THIS – THIS! – I like. :)   It is an assertive answer to the Fiat Abarth (and essesse) and possibly even the Euro-market race-hatches in terms of aggressive styling / stance.  I trust it will have the performance and driving engagement to back up the looks. 

    Glad to see MINI taking the JCW brand more seriously with this car, especially the suspension being bespoke and a step beyond even the parts catalogue JCW suspension. Looking forward to video footage.  :)

  • Today

    How to order ?

  • Dilligent8910

    much prefer a performance upgraded SD … for less money w/ superior fuel economy!

  • Dilligent8910

    Performance aside, the ’06 R53 GP is the unequivocal, all-time super MINI. It looks gorgeous and sounds enchanting! Yes, performance is an important consideration, but in the final analysis appearance should ultimately be the most distinctive MINI attribute that defines the marque. In my opinion MINI is losing its aesthetic edge by resorting to gimmickry with an uninspired hodgepodge of cheap-looking, distracting “details.”

  • Dilligent8910

    A clean looking/unadulterated DIESEL MINI could become the perfect car for U.S. enthusiasts. Will it manage to compete with the phenomenally successful (and race-proven) VW/AUDI TDI remains to be seen. DIESEL GP (sans the gimmickry) … that’s what we need!

  • Dilligent8910

    As expected, looks like prejudicial scrutineering remains in full force at MF as my comments were not posted. Perhaps MF should consider posting a warning banner stating that non-sycophant sentiment is strictly prohibited unless it is meaningless banter such as “I’d throw on a set of 18s in a heartbeat!” Humoresque at its worst, but nonetheless worth a chuckle at best! Seneca where are you? What the hell, Speedy Alka-Seltzer may provide the necessary relief!

    • http://BimmerFile.com Gabriel Bridger

      Not a single comment has been censored or note posted unless it was caught un-knowingly by our automated spam filter. Literally no idea what you’re talking about.

  • Jon

    The wheels. The fact that the 4 spokes look so thick and massive, and have no openings, like the original GP wheels, that really bothers me.  They’re too flat. I’m not seeing nearly enough of that great big red caliper in there… I’d imagine that it’s for strength, but the thick spokes really obscure the view, and annoy me because of that. Glad they went down to a 17-inch wheel, because it best suits performance, but I had to object to the 4 solid, flat, fat spokes.

  • Dilligent8910

    Opt for a BMW 135 w/ 320hp — a much better value with rear wheel drive.

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