MINI USA Officially Releases JCW GP Specs

MINI USA is continuing its outlay of official info leading up to the Paris Motor Show with the JCW GP. Though we’ve already seen the official worldwide web unveiling of the second generation JCW GP, MINI USA has released the US-specific info for us (press release after the break). Most notable is the 211 hp number for the US-spec cars. This is down 3 hp from the EU-spec JCW GP in order, we’re told, to account for the extremes of climate owners can experience here in America the beautiful. Yet, the JCW GP is still boasting a 0-62 mph time of 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph. Official pricing is expected in the coming days, so stay tuned for that. Also past the break, a full gallery of new GP images, including some of the first photographs we’ve seen of this car that do its paintwork justice.

[Official Release]

  • The fastest MINI ever built: 211 hp, 0 to 60 mph sprint time 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph
  • Two seats, coilover suspension, sports brakes, model-specific 17-inch alloy wheels and aerodynamic body parts
  • Best lap time on the Nürburgring North Loop: 8:23 minutes
  • Extensively equipped with John Cooper Works motor sport technology
  • Official debut at the 2012 Paris Motor Show
  • A limited edition – only 2,000 units to be built starting in 2012

A limited-edition road car with race track-developed technology, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is the sportiest and fastest production model ever built under the nameplate of this British premium brand. It will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show (29 September to 4 October 2012), and production of just 2,000 units worldwide will start later this year. For the US, only 500 will be imported.

Extensively equipped with John Cooper Works motor sport technology, this two-seater boasts outstanding performance to match its distinctive looks. An extensively modified four-cylinder turbo engine capable of developing 211 hp, adjustable coilover suspension, an extra-powerful sports brake system and model-specific alloy wheels and sports tires ensure superb handling and an exhilarating driving experience. The standard-fitted high-traction sports tires offer awesome cornering grip, impeccable braking response and impressive performance. The balance between the engine, the suspension and the aerodynamics was fine-tuned during intensive testing on the Nürburgring North Loop (the old grand prix circuit), where the MINI John Cooper Works GP promptly clocked up a best lap time of 8:23 minutes – well ahead of many big-name sports cars from higher-priced segments. With its 0 to 62 mph (100km/h) sprint time of 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph (242km/h), the GP brings an authentic race car feel to everyday driving.

The MINI John Cooper Works GP is the latest incarnation of a racing heritage that dates back more than 50 years, to when the legendary sports car designer John Cooper developed a version of the classic Mini that was to become the ultimate fun-to-drive road machine. This car also carved out a highly successful career in motor sport, where it was three-time winner of the Monte Carlo Rally. The modern-day MINI has continued this tradition: the John Cooper Works products and models, with their close links to the British-built premium small car, continue to be a byword for top-class motor sport engineering. The most impressive incarnation to date of this shared passion for motor sport was the 2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Tuning Kit. That model, too, was built in a limited edition of 2,000 units worldwide, and soon became a coveted collector’s item. A total of 415 were imported into the US.

The 2013 MINI John Cooper Works GP is another stunning example of the time-tested principle of taking the natural sporty DNA of the MINI to a new level by combining it with a whole string of features taken straight from the race track. With this elite sporting machine, the John Cooper Works brand, now a sub-brand of MINI, has raised the stakes yet again – the new model has shaved a whole 18 seconds off its predecessor’s best lap time during testing on the Nürburgring North Loop. This new best time reflects continuous advances in engineering, which have been tuned to the highest performance standards by John Cooper Works.

The responsive power and revving ability of the MINI John Cooper Works GP’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine are reflected in dazzling performance figures. This zesty character comes down to a cutting-edge engineering package and extensive technology transfers from the world of motor sport. Among the highlights are the aluminum cylinder block and bearing mounts, reinforced pistons, a sturdier cylinder head, low-weight crankshafts and sodium-filled exhaust valves. Twin-scroll turbocharging produces high boost pressure, and direct petrol injection ensures precisely controlled fuel supply, while fully variable valve control, based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology, helps to maximize engine responsiveness and efficiency.

The state-of-the-art powerplant responds instantly to throttle commands and delivers maximum torque of 260 lb-ft from just 1,750 rpm. Maximum power of 211 hp is delivered at 6,000 rpm. It is transferred to the wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, which is precisely matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.

The astonishing torque gives the MINI John Cooper Works GP a 0 to 62 mph (100km/h) time of 6.2 seconds. Top speed is 150 mph (242km/h).

The MINI John Cooper Works GP’s exclusive suspension technology, too, relies heavily on motor sport. For the first time on a MINI, it features an individually adjustable coilover suspension, which allows ride height to be lowered by up to 20 millimeters. Among other things, this means the suspension set-up can be fine-tuned to different circuit conditions whenever the MINI goes out onto the track.

The front shock absorbers are mounted upside down in the tube, with the piston rod pointing down, in order to increase longitudinal and lateral stiffness.

The front camber has been increased compared with the regular MINI John Cooper Works, so that the performance potential of the sports tires – which differ significantly from road tires – can be used to full effect, without the penalties of early understeer, inevitably leading to increased tire wear. Other features include reduced front-wheel toe-in and increased rear camber, which alters the forward weight transfer so as to give more speed and more neutral steering when driving close to the limit. At the same time, the reduced toe-in improves agility and cornering confidence.

Outstanding braking performance is provided by the MINI John Cooper Works GP’s racing-derived sports brake system, featuring six-piston fixed-calliper disc brakes, vented at the front. The front discs are 330 millimeters (13.0 inches) in diameter and 25 millimeters (.98 inches) thick, with 280 x 10 mm (11.02 x .39 inch) discs at the rear. The low-weight 17-inch alloy wheels, again exclusive to the MINI John Cooper Works GP, run on high-performance 215/40 R17 sport tires. The signature GP four-spoke alloy wheel, measuring 17 x 7.5 , were specially developed for the MINI John Cooper Works GP and are derived from the MINI Challenge race car, and feature lightweight contours on flow-formed rims.

On the MINI John Cooper Works GP, the DSC Dynamic Stability Control is not combined with DTC, as would normally be the case, but with a special GP racing mode. Under hard driving, the driver may often not want ASC engine power reduction cutting in, so instead this system offers just ASC braking, based on the EDLC (Electronic Differential Lock Control) sub-function. The EDLC software brakes the wheel on the inside of the turn, and the drive power that would otherwise be lost at this wheel is redirected to the outer wheel, where the contact forces are greater.

With its conspicuous and distinctive appearance, the MINI John Cooper Works GP is upfront about its performance credentials right from the word go. The body is painted in the exclusive color Thunder Grey metallic, with red for the edging round the bonnet opening as well as for the exterior mirror caps and the side air intakes in the front apron. John Cooper Works insignia appear on the lower air intake and the tailgate. The final proof of identity is provided by “GP”-badged side stripes running between the front and rear wheel arches.

The standard specification of the MINI John Cooper Works GP includes black xenon headlights in black shells, foglamps, automatic climate control, alarm, DSC with special GP mode, and a Sport button. The aerodynamic body parts like the large front and rear aprons, striking side sills and model-specific roof spoiler not only add to the eye-catching appearance but also play an important part in controlling air flow. The rear diffuser, together with the underside panels and the roof-edge spoiler, reduce lift forces at the rear axle by 90 percent, for impeccable handling control even under high-speed cornering and when driving at or near the limit.

A 6 percent reduction in drag is reflected in improved fuel economy and a higher top speed. The air flow round the front of the car has been significantly improved with the help of a large spoiler and full aerodynamic shielding of the engine compartment underside. This aerodynamic shield not only reduces drag and front axle lift, but also improves air flow through the engine compartment. Slits in the center of the shield help to expel air from the intercooler. The slits are situated in an area of fast air flow and high vacuum force, so that the air is literally sucked out of the engine compartment, thereby improving the performance of the intercooler.

The exciting race car feel is raised a further notch by an interior ambience which, partly due to the absence of a rear seat bench, is focused entirely on the needs of the driver and “co-driver”, both of whom can savor the performance of the MINI John Cooper Works GP to the full thanks to Recaro sports seats with special GP stitching. A cargo guard prevents items from sliding forward out of the luggage compartment in sporty driving situations. The John Cooper Works thick-rimmed leather steering wheel and the gearshift knob with chrome ring and red shift diagram help give the driver a more direct feel for the car. Finally, with features like the anthracite roof liner, the piano black interior surfaces and door grips, and the anthracite tachometer and speedometer dials, this interior also helps to improve the driver’s concentration and focus on the road.

The MINI John Cooper Works will officially go on sale in the first quarter of 2013. Interested customers can place their order at their local authorized MINI dealership.

Gallery: JCW GP2

  • JackMac

    500 cars alloted for the US market for GP2

  • I’d like to get my hands on that under carriage aero bits for my regular S. For years I’ve been wanting to do something like this on my car

  • piper

    With only 500, I can already see the drastically inflated dealer markups well above MSRP. I’m guessing a marked-up sell price of $40k plus.

  • Torque

    260 lb-ft of torque, that is awesome.

    • Yeah, and the best answer to everyone lamenting the lack of 250 hp. Not having to spin the motor all the way up to 8,000 rpm to get full torque coming out of a corner is a significant performance characteristic.

      • that.guy

        Only if that torque can be applied to the ground. EDLC (sigh) is not magic traction dust.

    • akng

      I think this is a typo, the unit should be N-m instead according to the Euro Specs. 260Nm is like 192lb-ft, which is the same as the regular 2013 JCWs.

      • Yes it is the same.

        • Torque

          Dammit, I know it was too good to be true.

  • piper

    230 hp Euro-spec 2014 VW GTI at Paris Autoshow … quite impressive.

    • The weight differential is significant, however.

      GP: 2,557 lbs (0.0825 hp/lb) Current GTI: 3,034 lbs (0.0758 hp/lb)

      Presuming VW hasn’t made the new GTI any lighter (and I doubt they have), even though it has less horsepower, the GP has an 8% power-to-weight advantage, plus less inertia to overcome in acceleration, braking and cornering. Horsepower numbers aren’t everything, as we keep saying.

      • The new Golf is slightly lighter. I would assume the GTI will be as well.

        • 500 lbs lighter?

        • 100 kg or 220 pounds

        • Well I sit corrected then.

          That closes the advantage to 1%, but it’s still an advantage in the GP’s favor in terms of power, plus all the other things a lighter car buys you.

        • hmm

          Seems the GTI has finally won the “overall value” aspect though…….

        • Meh. It’s a much less interesting car no matter where the money lands. Horsepower per dollar is a lousy way to shop for a car, in my opinion.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          The thing is, while the GP is exclusive, that is what you are paying for. It’s like a pair of Air Jordan shoes slightly more tech with a big name and a big price. A JCW with set of coil overs and street legal slicks will give you 9/10 the performance with a lot less cost- Like I have said before I want Sport Auto to put a JCW with the same tires on a track against a GP- I’d wager the time difference is not worth the price of admission. That is just my take but I have a feeling I am not alone.

          The GTI gives you the same 9/10 performance with even less cost than a JCW. At some point the argument of HP per dollar or performance per dollar makes sense- everything has a “value” and that is why the BRZ etc. is such a compelling idea- it is value with engagement and performance. That was what the GTI originally was (I had a MKII that was modded heavily and was the most tossable car I’ve ever driven.) and VW is said to be trying to get back to that- heck even the Abarth is that.

          MINI needed to do more to the engine in the GP, and they easily could have. I don’t buy the BS they did as much as they could. I know what BMW is able to do with their engines and not needing to be recertified for EPA because the extra power is outside the EPA test parameters, I have seen what this block can handle.

          The notion that this car does not need more power is also silly.

        • I disagree on the power front. “Need” is definitely a relative term. A regular JCW is already fast enough and capable enough that it’s almost not any real fun in the real world unless you’re doing “go to jail” speeds. Should it have more power? Probably, for the sake of positioning at least. Does it really need it? No.

        • Does the current JCW need more power? Not without an upgrade on the traction and DSC software. I really don’t think the majority could use anymore of they wanted to. Does the GP need more power? We won’t know until we drive it.

        • Blainestang

          Compared to an R56, I’d say that’s debatable. When you’re shopping a 4-door GTI vs. a Countryman, though, like we did, it’s no contest. The character and driving dynamics of the R56 put the MINI over the GTI back in ’08 when we first considered MINI vs. GTI. But, when it came to 4-doors this year, the significantly diminished character and driving dynamics of the Countryman compared to the R56 meant that the GTI was superior in virtually every category imaginable.

        • Kurtster

          Yeah but if I had to look at the Golf every day I think I’d be disappointed. I love the GP styling and exclusivity. I wouldn’t split hairs over HP and .2 seconds when the MINI is such a cooler car in every way (IMO).

        • piper

          2014 “R” will be significantly lighter with numerous carbon and aluminum components.

        • Take the word carbon out and you’re somewhat correct.

      • MiniCooperRacer

        Agreed – I have instructed drivers on the track even in heavily modified GTI’s and it is like driving a pig with all the weight and lack of cornering. As much as I love racing MINI’s over the years I was impressed with the 1st GP and 2nd sounds impressive but I cannot imagine not having my JCW Coupe.

      • Dr Obnxs

        Yeah, but it comes with gauges that are actually usefull! Myself, I found that the new GTI had very, very approachable limits, and the AWD system was a bonus. But it does drive heavier, and is a bit less “lively”. It’s a good car, though, and I’d definitely think about it if I were in a market for that type of car. All the armchair wrenching about HP figures is just a big waste of time. I’ve met very few people who can actually use all that any of the MINIs have to offer in terms of handling. High HP numbers are fun, and smokin the tires is a hoot, but really, we’re talking about small differences that don’t make much of a real world difference.

      • piper

        According to rumor, the 2014 “R” will be lightened with carbon and aluminum capable of bumping up its P:W specs considerably. Thus it should also handle more nimbly vis-a-vis current iterations. The build quality of VW is also consistently one of its strongest attributes. MINI may have an edge when it comes to cache, but VW enjoys a very strong and loyal cadre of diehard enthusiasts.

      • Blainestang

        Actually, the new GTI is supposed to be notably lighter. According to MSN, “VW says the Golf is up to 220 pounds lighter than the old one”. That said, I’m in agreement that HP isn’t everything, as someone who owns both an ’09 Cooper and a ’12 GTI. The MINI is still more fun despite having roughly half the HP.

  • Mark sells MINIs

    If you’re looking to get one email me @


    3 more horsepower than a normal JCW? So we have to have less power, because of extreme climates? Do people in Finland and Norway have the same problem? Or the UAE and Australia? Seems to be a bit messed up to me and like an excuse. Not making a very good case for this car… What they’re not telling everyone is that they actually have exactly the same power as a normal one, and they hope that nobody will test it. Making the price estimates of 40k seem very unjustifiable

    • akng

      So compared to the regular 2013 JCW, the GP has 3 more peak hp and exactly the same peak torque, this is kinda disappointing. I really hope the actual power curves will have more area below it than the regular 2013 JCW ones.

      • We’ve reported previously that the GP would not be receiving the updated Valvetronic JCW engine that other model year 2013 JCW cars will receive, so the numbers aren’t a surprise. And to clarify, the climate-related reasons are not related to why there is not more power in this car than the current JCW motor, but rather why the EU spec has a couple more horsepower than the US-spec version. Also, the UAE and Australia are not in the EU. So no, the temperature extremes aren’t as severe in continental Europe as they are here. There is no Mojave Desert in France. Bottom line, MINI is making this car special in ways other than horsepower. It will have exclusive paint, options and details. There’s a lot of custom aero work on the car, for example. If that’s not what you’re into, don’t buy one. But to say that the car isn’t special because it doesn’t have more power is a straw man argument and misses what this car is really about. It also ignores the real world performance gains already proven over the previous GP. Be disappointed if you want, but I’m at a loss why anyone would have expected big power gains out of what was already known to be the same engine.

        • RedAFMINI

          I understand it’s special and i still like it and plan to get one, just a little surprised by the numbers. Is 3 less horsepower really going to make a big enough difference to justify?

        • akng

          To be honest, I didn’t know about what you said with the engine early stage planning. I guess I just haven’t read enough of the articles here. But as far as I know, I have read to expect hp figures to be in the low 220s back in May, then when the Euro specs came up, it was 218 and now the US has 211…wouldn’t you get disappointed too? The figure just kept going down! Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for high hp figures. I have put down a deposit for the GP2 too. While I do appreciate the other things that they have done to the car, but to finally know that the power is just marginally higher than a regular JCW, I can’t help but to feel disappointed. The car just doesn’t seem as special anymore. Nonetheless, this is still the ultimate R56 from factory, so I will still buy it, but I really hope they could have handled the extreme climates still with 218hp.

        • Those estimates were grounded in the assumption that the GP would get the next generation JCW engine, which it didn’t (THAT is worth being disappointed about, in my opinion). All that said, I’m not opposed to more horsepower, it’s just that a lot of people are bemoaning the current numbers as though horsepower is all that matters — all that would make the GP fast, viable or special.

        • akng

          Of course hp is not all that matters. To be fast on the track, many other things have to work well together as well, it is the overall set up around the whole car that makes it fast, and this is the reason that I want to buy the car. I don’t want to modify my car and tune it anymore, I just want something well set up from factory, tuned for track, and I will just drive instead of thinking I still need this and that. But still, when the F56 JCW come out in the next couple years with an engine that has maybe 20hp more than the GP2, I would be upset that they are making a faster MINI already! 🙁 I would be much appreciated if the GP2 can remain the fastest MINI in all aspects for at least 5 yrs! 😛

        • I can definitely appreciate that motivation! Planned obsolescence is a bitch. Thing is though, because MINI will likely always keep fuel efficiency as a core value, even for JCW, horsepower may stay pretty steady in the next generation. That’s purely speculation on my part, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The power outputs going from the first generation MINI to the second were much more about torque than horsepower, but the biggest boost was actually to efficiency. So your GP2 may not be out-powered by an F56 JCW after all. And if so, not by much. I think it’s also interesting to keep in mind that these are pretty fine divisions from one car to another. What’s 0.02 seconds in the real world? A few weeks ago, Gabe and I caravanned up to Road America for an AMLS event. He in the MotoringFile JCW Roadster long-term tester, and me in my bone stock R53 with 90k miles. What was surprising to me was just how little speed difference there was between the two cars. Sure, the Roadster was faster, but not by much. He’d bomb down an on ramp and I could keep up with him for the most part. Following Gabe’s 1M in my R53, on the other hand, was a very different experience… So even if the F56 JCW has a couple more horsepower, it won’t make your GP2 any less special.

      • As we’ve reported, this GP is all about suspension and aero. Not power.

  • Ike

    Mods / Knowledgeable peoples, can you break it down a bit better for us please:

    What will the real world performance difference be?

    I see the rear diffuser…

    What else about the Aero is different? I’m seeing the JCW kit that come standard

    What about the suspension – is it different than the JCW suspension I can upgrade to?

    Tell me more about the torque.. am I getting more on this JCW than any other? Torque steer was already an issue on just the Cooper S… how will that feel on this car?

    Aside from the colors/badging/ spoiler/rims/no rear seats, what else is different on the car from a JCW Cooper S..

    Can someone do a ‘for dummies like Ike’ breakdown please 🙂

    I was dying for a JCW steering wheel to be included….

    • All this has been thoroughly answered previously. Check out the JCW GP section for those details.

      • Ike


        I’ve been following the blog for a while, I don’t think I’ve missed any of the updates, but I may have gotten a bit confused by a lot of the tech stuff.

        I think it would be really helpful for a lot of people (definitely for me) if someone could really simplify it and do an A/B comparison in a clear, comprehensive list/ chart, or short list.

        Don’t send me to the encyclopedia to pull just the bits of information I couldn’t find 🙂

        • There’s a 4000+ word article detailing everything in the F56 section you should read. I was I blushed a couple of weeks ago.

  • brt356

    I agree with the Mod comments – basically, you have to look at this car from the sum total of its parts to appreciate what makes it special and distinct from other JCW’s. Sure, none of us reading MotoringFile will turn down HP when it’s on the plate, but I think this car is more about how Mini/BMW integrated all the performance bits in order to give the car superior handling and effectively transfer the available HP & torque to the road. I put money down on one which I still believe is money well spent (but I’ll reserve judgement until the actual price sheet comes for the US market).

    BTW, does any one know why Mini opted not to put the new 2013 Valvetronic engine in the GP?

    • They DID put the Valvetronic engine in the JCW GP. It’s in the article above. It was rumored that they would not back before the Coupe GP was shelved, but the GP will have the updated Valvetronic JCW engine.

      • brt356

        Thanks Nathaniel – got a little confused between the article reference and your comment about earlier speculations that the GPII would not be getting the Valvetronic engine. Many Thanks for the clarification.

        • I was still operating under outdated information myself!

          It’s good news. Boost in efficiency, plus better throttle response.

    • They didn’t. The GP has the 2013 Valvetronic JCW engine. Not sure where the other information came from but it’s incorrect.

  • piper

    I second the motion that horsepower does not necessarily constitute the most significant performance determinant, particularly in relation to handling. Overall weight and weight distribution, as well as, suspension make all the difference in the world!

  • piper

    Put 50 horsepower on two-wheels and you’ve got a rocket … albeit a potentially lethal one in the wrong hands.

    • Absolutely. Even on bikes relative weights make a big difference. The 19 hp on my 300 lb Elite 250 has been shaming cars all over Chicago all summer long.

  • piper

    I also second the motion regarding the GP graphics. Ugg! Get rid of ’em!!

    • Kurtster

      Send me your graphics. I’ll sell them to people who want to make their Coupes look like the GP.

  • Kurtster

    For all those people who kept telling me it’s a track car and that I am “missing the purpose” of this car and I should probably consider something else I refer you to the MINI statement in this release: “The GP brings an authentic race car feel to everyday driving.” I couldn’t agree more. Everyday driving will be awesome with this car IMO.

  • JonPD

    As a former GP owner can say this is not a bad car, to me personally it does still feel short of the design of the R53 GP. From the early days of MINI where the difference between a Cooper, Cooper S and JCW were pretty wide it seems that MINI is designing more of its range to a middle ground for performance. I have to still say that MINI is generally a sporty car vs a sports car even in GP form.

    Pretty sure it will still put big smiles on the faces of the owners.

  • akng

    Any updates with pricing yet?

    • RedAFMINI

      No, still nothing. Some dealers have announced to those on the waiting list that they’re putting a $2.5k markup on them, though…