EVO Track Test: The MINI GP Against the Best Hot Hatches

EVO Magazine – perhaps our favorite car mag – not only got its hands on a JCW GP but managed to get it to a track and pit it against the best hot hatches from around the world. The results speak volumes of what we’ve been saying about the GP. After our reviews (track drive, video review, road review) we’ve been blown away by the performance and the feel of the thing. Tiff Needell and Richard Meaden seem to agree. In fact even the raw numbers give the GP the edge over the much more powerful 350 HP Focus RS or the AWD 256 HP Audi S1 hitting the highest top-speed and having the quickest time around the track.

Check out the video after the break.

  • Mr Remi

    That was friggin awesome.

    Would have liked to have seen more footage from the back half of the day when the stopwatch got pulled out.

  • Gary

    And this was in the cold and wet too. So much for all of the doom and gloom over the custom Kumhos.

  • Perhaps this can finally lay to rest this idea that MINIs need big horsepower to go fast.

    • MF’rJones

      “We need less HP”, said no one ever.

      • No, but there sure was a lot of belly aching about how the GP should have 250+ hp. Yet here we have yet another example of MINI going faster than higher horsepower rivals.

        • MF’rJones

          Lol, I’m still belly aching over not having a hover board yet……

        • You and me both!

    • JonPD

      Yes we learned the GP could put its lower power and torque down on a wet and greasy track than the 500. Would like to see how it fairs with a dry track still. My complaint with the Mark II GP is that it was not that much improved over the original.

      • Having driven both I could not disagree more with that past comment. This is a noticeably better car from behind the wheel.

  • Guilty as charged… I am one of those who was Ho-hum on the new GP, but now after seeing this video, my mind and attitude about this car have changed (for the better). Nice driving on Tiff’s part!

  • I love this video!!! A real treat to see the GP in action against some of the many formidable competitors out there even though none of these cars are sold here in the U.S. That means that the GP on this course would eat a 2013 Focus ST, GTi, Mazdaspeed3, whatever Hyundai or Kia can throw at this car here in their U.S. lineup, and possibly even a Golf R. There’s nothing else I can immediately think of that is sold here in the Hot Hatch segment. Did I miss anything???

    • Dr Obnxs

      The results would have been different on a different track. Car, driver, track, set-up and conditions are what determine the fastest, and with all of the 5 being the same, one car won’t win all the time unless it is worlds better in all areas (Think Porsche Boxter Spyder vs 1974 Jeep CJ5!).

      I don’t even know if the GP would have one if the track were really dry, or if they were all running other tires (nobody who tracks a car often runs on stock rubber. It’s just too slow.)

  • Dr Obnxs

    These are neat, but one need more than one day in on a damp track to crown a champion. But what was great to see is that MINI is delivering traction control options that allow for aggressive driving without just tanking lap times. Quote of the report: “The MINI is like a wasp trapped in a jar!”

    Now, a small, light car will do really well on a tight, wet track. What is interesting to me is that most of the US hot hatch comparos have omitted the MINIs, and they punch above their weight and are very competitive in the segment. Gabe, any clue why MINI isn’t in the shootouts? MINI not happy with the US mags?

    It’s also nice to see the cars driven how they can be driven. Let’s face it, take all the time driven in “sports” cars, and only a couple % of seat time is really driven anywhere close to the limit. Fun vid!