MotoringFile Video Review: 2013 MINI JCW GP

Our time on the test track with the GP was brief in the grand scheme of things. Ten laps. But you can learn a lot about a car (especially a car designed for the track) in ten hard laps on a tight well designed course. If you haven’t read our full review of the car, certainly check it out. However if you want a quick, seat of the pants look at the GP as I enjoyed my second stint behind the wheel at Circuito Mallorca RennArena, check out the video after the break.

MINI USA will be allotting one of the 500 US bound $39,950 GPs to each dealer in the US for March delivery. The rest however will go to customers on a first come first serve basis. MINI USA will set-up a toll-free reservations number in mid-November that will allow anyone to plunk down a deposits (likely around $1,000) and name their dealer where they want to take delivery.

Allocations outside the US will be roughly similar to the original 2006 GP.

Written By: Gabe

  • lasersailor

    Nice job on the video Gabe and crew! Thanks for not “overediting” in an attempt to achieve perfection. I think this sort of prosumer video production is a great match for the MF target audience. This is probably the closest I’ll get to riding along in a new GP and I appreciate the time and effort.

  • JonPD

    Nicely done Gabe, one of the better MINI video’s I’ve seen in a long time. To bad they did not let you open up the car a bit more though.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger


      In truth they did. I got a second stint giving me a total of ten laps – double what pretty much anyone else had. By the end I was pushing the car pretty hard. And yes it was fun. By far the most composed MINI I’ve ever tracked.

      • JonPD

        Too bad that did not end up in video, then again maybe MINI is happier to not know you were pushing the edge in one of them hah. One thing from the video I have to object to is the statement about more HP. While GP2 will likely be as good or better blasting corners can say that the world and tracks have more than corners. Can say that its the one point were MINIs have trouble is on long straights (think the Ring) where all the battle is with HP. Spent more a little time getting past people in corners was annoyed to constantly have to make up for the total lack of power to blast down straights. Have no doubt that both GPs do a decent job but at times more power is called for.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          Having driven MINIs at tracks all over the world (including the ‘Ring) there are few tracks that a JCW feels seriously underpowered. But yes, I’ve passed plenty of M3s in corners that would then stay on my tail on the straights. But it’s a MINI. Being a David to a faster car’s Goliath is what MINI has historically been at the core of the product.

        • John

          ^ This ++++

        • cct1

          +2. My R53 makes just under 250HP at the wheels (yes it did take some work getting it there), and that feels just about right for the car. More than that would probably be too much for my current setup, but my current setup can handle the extra HP with no issues. It’s pretty amazing what the car can keep up with or is even faster than (including M3’s, provided they’re not heavily modified) on a lap of a track like Road America, which has three long straights. It’s a huge difference from when the car was a stock JCW (R53)–and the current GP is much closer to that than to 250HP.

          On a short, twisty track, without multiple long straights (Putnam, Blackhawk, Autobahn when split into North and South) the new GP will undoubtedly be stellar, but heck, my stock JCW was great there too.

          I guess I’m a little disappointed. This car can absolutely handle more power safely. It’s not that the GP still won’t be a good car, but it could have been a great car, and at that price point, I was hoping for something a bit more along the lines of what Mustang did with the Boss Laguna Seca. I think 250 WHP really is where the new GP would shine.

          Mini is about driving first, but if this is truly going to be a track beast, especially with what some of the other car makers have done recently, it needs more power.

        • JonPD

          I have been on more than a few tracks that I have the pedal plastered to the floor flat fighting to get along faster. Totally agree about what a MINI can do to much faster and bigger cars though the corners. Actually have seen a MINI Cooper take a E92 M3 around a series of bends until the track straightened slightly. Just have to say that as much as I respect what they have done with the GP2 just like the 1M a bit more juice under the bonnet really would not have been a bad thing. As awesome as the 1M is don’t think I am alone in thinking a bit more power would be great. In the case of the 1M I think they left it alone to not enrage M3 owners getting spanked by a less expensive 1M. I have to wonder if part of BMW/MINI equation is leaving the performance were it is to keep some performance separation between the top end of MINI and BMW cars.

          Still a great video that I have watched more than a few times Gabe, thanks for sharing it.

  • b-

    Nice comments and I like that you used the GoPro cameras, good job!

  • Squirlz

    My Wife Molly was the first non-MINI USA employee to drive one, back in July at MINI Takes the States.

    • Edge

      Bear in mind that the one at MTTS was a “mule”. It wasn’t the final form of the GP2. I’m sure it was still a great experience to drive though… but I imagine the final one will feel a bit different (better!). :)

  • brt356

    Gabe – first the excellent photo shoot, now a great ride-along in the new GP. Both outstanding, enlightening, and very much appreciated. It seems like a perfectly well balanced car that will be equally at home on the track or running down your local pub for some fish & chips. Thanks again for this first hand description and experience. MotoringFile has become my number one read of the day – thanks in part to the very informative articles you all provide.

  • Kurtster

    Sigh if only it had been available in December, they’d be building mine now. Oh, well. It looks (and sounds) fantastic but I’ll have to live with the JCW Coupe I have coming. I hope my coupe sounds close to that. Do they use the same exhaust? I don’t remember seeing anything unique about the exhaust on the GP, but it’s worth asking.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Yes they sound the same – great :)

  • Ike

    The more Motoringfile releases, the more psyched I am to get mine. At first I was a bit shaky when the spec sheet came out – but it looks like this thing is going to be an awesome performer and I love the look. I asked before – is the rear bar removable?

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      I doubt it’s welded in ;-)

  • piper

    Performance is an alluring virtue. In MINI’s case, it has also been an enduring one. The “David v.Goliath” mystique has contributed to its popularity. And it appears that the GPII is true to form. On the flip side there is the hefty price firewall that prevents many enthusiasts from enjoying the tradition. While I can appreciate the rationale of limited production to add distinction to the model, I can also recognize the voices of many that are not capable of paying the price. The solution is obvious. Produce more vehicles and reduce the price to under $35k.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000671752842 Chris Bamford

    Fabulous – thank you :)

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