In talking with Head of MINI USA Marketing Pat McKenna and Product Planning Manger Ishaan Khatri this week at the LA Autoshow, one thing was made abundantly clear: the 2020 JCW GP is going to be a very special car. Perhaps even more special than we excepted.
The MINI JCW GP: The Look
The key thing we learned this week is that the GP’s look will be more than just a big wing and different wheels this time. Head of MINI USA product Ishaan Khatri made it clear to us that the GP will be more than just that giant wing we’ve seen on the first prototypes. “There are other elements from the concept that will be part of the production car.” He went on to add with a smile “there will be some surprises”. While he didn’t go into details it was clear by the grin on his face those elements are substantial. Could we be seeing those brutal looking boxed fenders perhaps? We’ll likely know early next spring as the next series of prototypes hit the Nurburgring.
The MINI JCW GP: Interior
We also learned that MINI intends to keep with the traditional two seat layout for the GP3. Along with the removal of the rear seats MINI will be adding a functional cross brace to increase structural rigidity. Otherwise we expect MINI’s new digital gauge cluster (debuting next year in the MINI Cooper E) and unique GP colors and trim.
The MINI JCW GP: Power and Performance
What we couldn’t get out of anyone was power figures or transmission offerings. Sources are telling us we’ll see something around 280 hp and almost 300 ft lbs of torque exclusively operated by an automatic transmission. When I asked Ishaan about the automatic rumors he would only say that MINI has had a history of offering a manual on every model is produces – the last remaining automaker to do so. The plot thickens….
But let’s back up for a moment and talk about horsepower. The MINI JCW GP has never been about power. It’s been a lightweight two door hatch track weapon that is meant to cater to those looking for feedback and responsiveness. 280 hp coupled with a modest weight reduction will make this far and away the fastest MINI of all time.
Think about that for a moment. The previous JCW GP made do with 208 HP and felt plenty quick. 280 hp not only makes this the fastest MINI ever. It will truly be in another league than previous quick MINIs.
Tire performance is one area that the previous GP didn’t live up to expectations. MINI USA is all too aware of those issues and is working with suppliers to find the right tire that combined aggressive grip and wear. While there’s nothing official to announce, it’s seen as a key part of the overall performance.
The MINI JCW GP: Scarcity
One thing that surprised us was that both Pat and Ishann made references to how limited production of the GP3 will be. Sources have told us that MINI intends to produce 3,000 units – up 1,000 from the previous GP. If true you’d assume the US market would be getting more than the 500 GP2s it got in 2013. However it is very plausible that MINI USA may get less than the GP2’s 500 units simply due to the contracting size of the market. If you’re interested we recommend heading your dealer soon and watching this space for more details.
The MINI JCW GP: Pricing and Release
The good news is that you have time to save. The bad news is that you have a full two years to save. According to our sources the JCW GP will be debut in late 2019 or early 2020. We expect deliveries to begin in late spring of 2020. Options will be limited however the stock configuration will likely include several premium options (such as Nav XL).
Sources have told us that pricing should be near 42.000€. We’re not going to bother translating that into a US market price because EU pricing is a bit more complicated than that. However we would expect the JCW GP to be priced over $45,000 USD.