We’ve been telling you the upcoming JCW GP would be special. Now we have official conformation (confirming much of our reporting over the past few years) on a 300 hp JCW GP to be released in 2020. The key figure is that 300 hp mark. Sources are telling us that the GP will use a version of the B48A20T1 2.0L that is currently on the X2 M35i and will be in the JCW Countryman and Clubman later this year. The other key figure is production quantity – 3,000. That’s 500 more than we had heard and foretells how successful MINI believes this all new GP will be.
Oh and now we have photos. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the three first photos in this article are actual sneak peeks of the production 2020 JCW GP. It would appear that the GP is going back to an open, four spoke wheel design with this car. Also notable is the aggressive rear wing and the exhaust system.
Because the engine is a known quantity we can perhaps surmise a few more things. First the engine generates 302 hp @ 5,000 – 6,250 rpm in the new X2 M35i. However more impressive is its torque – 332 lb-ft. @ 1,750 – 4,500 rpm. The combination of those figures with improved xDrive/All4 and the Aisin 8G45 8 speed automatic moves the X2 M35i to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Compare that to the 6.3 seconds it takes the X2 30i (using the current 228 hp JCW engine) and you have an idea of just how much faster a GP might be over a standard JCW. However 0-60 time will be limited to traction and it’s here where we believe MINI has some tricks up its sleeve. We believe the GP will stay front wheel drive and therefore will require both some careful suspension calibration and advanced launch control to put down that much power and torque. With all of that we’d expect the GP to go from 0-60 well below 5 seconds making it the fastest MINI of all time.
According to the recent BMW press release, “to achieve such high performance results, BMW M left almost no major engine component group untouched” in the X2 M35i. If we’re to take this sentence at face value, this would be the first MINI with any BMW M magic applied to it.
Once again presuming that this is indeed that same B48A20T1, that would mean they began by reinforcing the crankshaft and gave it larger main bearings. There will also be new pistons fitted with slightly reduced compression ratio (9.5:1 vs 10.2:1) allowing for a larger turbocharger and increased boost. The intake airflow tract is also improved on the B48A20T1 for higher flow while the cooling system has been upgraded to keep it all at a proper operating temperature.
Helping to put this power down to the road will be the same 8 speed automatic already found in the JCW Countryman and Clubman. Or at least that’s what sources are telling us. While we’d love to be wrong on this one, it would make a lot of sense given the complexity of applying that much torque through the front tires.
The benefit is performance. Leveraging the front wheel drive and 8-speed sport automatic transmission, it’s rumored that MINI will offer an improved launch control allowing for consistent all-out sprints from a standing stop. On the X2 M35i the new M Sport differential is integrated into the 8-speed automatic transmission which itself features steering wheel shift paddles, M Performance specific tuning, additional transmission cooling and updated gear ratios. We’d bed that the GP would see this tech as well.
Official Press Release: The 300 hp JCW GP
The abbreviation GP in connection with MINI regularly sparks the interest of racing enthusiasts who are fans of the British premium brand. And since the name of Name John Cooper Works is always mentioned in the same breath, the immediate effect is a sense of excitement at the imminent prospect of a very special model. And this is now justified: next year the new MINI John Cooper Works GP will be taking roads all over the world by storm – along with the hearts and minds of a particularly performance-oriented target group. The new edition of the top athlete in the model range is powered by a 4-cylinder engine with an output of more than 220 kW/300 hp and featuring MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology, making it by far the fastest and most powerful MINI ever to be approved for use on the road. Its market launch will call for fast decisions, too: the new MINI John Cooper Works GP is to be produced in a limited edition of just 3 000.
Anyone who gets the chance to take a seat in one of these exclusive, extremely athletic cars can look forward to pure driving fun and uncompromising race feeling. This was the promise offered at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in September 2017 when the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept with its powerfully emotional look was presented for the first time. Large front and rear aprons, a striking roof spoiler and the extensive use of lightweight materials left no doubt as to the sporty ambitions of the study.
Serial production development for the new MINI John Cooper Works GP is now entering its crucial phase – namely on the race track, where whole-vehicle testing is to be carried out in the course of the next few months. Drawing on tradition-steeped John Cooper Works expertise, the suspension developed specifically for this model will be precisely adapted to the exceptionally high output of the new engine. Rigorously defined aerodynamic properties and an optimised weight go together with the relevant drive and suspension technology to create an optimum all-in package for thrilling performance characteristics.
Focused application of motor racing technology and expertise lays the foundation for new records in the fight against the clock. The benchmark here is the top athlete of the last MINI generation. The Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap time achieved by the predecessor model of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP was 8:23 minutes– faster than many a sports car from the higher segments. In fact, MINI has quite a tradition of leaving supposedly superior competitors behind it. In the hands of Formula 1 designer John Cooper, the classic Mini itself matured to become a small but high-speed racing machine that regularly beat the big players at their own game – not least with its three outright victories at the Monte Carlo Rally.
The new MINI John Cooper Works GP is based on the principle of tapping into the sporting genes of the MINI to create a superior racing machine – in fact it embodies this notion in its most extreme form. Its predecessor was produced in a limited edition of 2 000 vehicles, as was the MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit which came out back in 2006. Both have since become much-coveted collector’s items. And the new model is already being eagerly anticipated by fans of the MINI and John Cooper Works brands.
“The fastest MINI in our brand history – which now goes back 60 years – is an expression of pure racing passion,” says Thomas Giuliani, Vice President Product and Launch Management. “We are well aware of the enormous fascination exercised by the MINI John Cooper Works GP, not just from the euphoric reactions to the concept vehicle but also from past experience: after all, every one of its predecessors was completely sold out even before the official market launch.”