The 24 Hours of Nürburgring is perhaps the most mythical endurance race in the world. A grueling 24 hours in the Eiffel Mountains (where it’s been known to snow in the summer) around the most demanding track in the world. After a ten-year break, a MINI John Cooper Works will once again compete in the legendary 24-hour race. And MotoringFile is joining them.
In cooperation with MINI, Bulldog Racing has built an entirely new MINI race car based off of the MINI JCW GP. The car was built with the sole purpose of taking on the ultimate 24 Hour race in its 50th Anniversary May 26th to May 29th.
The project was launched by Bulldog Racing last September and has been undergoing Development just a few meters away from the Nordschleife. The base vehicle is a MINI John Cooper Works GP which is powered by the same 306 hp engine as found in the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman and MINI John Cooper Works Countryman. The 8-speed Steptronic gearbox taken from large-series-production featuring an integrated, mechanical differential lock with a locking effect of up to 70%.
While the JCW GP is quick in stock form, there were a number of areas Bulldog racing needed to improve for the grueling 24 Hours Of Nurburgring – many that went beyond the SP3T class regulations:
- A unique roll cage
- Racing fuel tank with a 100 litres capacity
- A radical rethink of the aero that includes an adjustable rear wing, a completely covered underbody, a rear diffuser and front splitter
- Makrolon® windows throughout
- Unique racing suspension with adjustable rebound and compression damping
- All moving chassis and suspension parts were replaced with reinforced Uniball bearings
- A pneumatic lifting unit for quick pitstops
- The sports exhaust system was adapted with a racing catalytic converter
- Original BMW M Performance brake components
“The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring puts all components of the vehicle under extreme stress. That’s why we’re delighted to be able to use the BMW Group Test Centre to put the John Cooper Works through its paces there.”Friedhelm Thelen, Nürburgring expert and team boss of Bulldog Racing
Perhaps the most impressive thing is the fact that only seven months passed between the start of the project and the roll-out at the end of March 2022. In the coming weeks and until the start of the 24h race, further tests are scheduled on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring and at the BMW Group testing centre in Miramas in southern France. Located between Marseille and Avignon, the former race track is famous for it’s secrecy and history of fine-tuning some of BWW’s most potent models and race cars. The BMW Group has been testing new models and innovative chassis technology at the Miramas test grounds since 1986.
The driver line-up and the further race programme for 2022 will be announced at a later date.
MINI in motorsport
Pat Moss made motorsport history in 1962, scoring the first international rally victory for MINI at the Tulip Rally. Her victory marked the beginning of the Classic Mini’s unique success story in rally sport, with 3 overall Monte Carlo Rally wins in 1964 (Paddy Hopkirk), 1965 (Timo Mäkinen) and 1967 (Rauno Aaltonen).This string of successes included six overall Dakar Rally victories in 2012 (Leonid Novitskiy), 2013 (Stéphane Peterhansel), 2014 (Nani Roma), 2015 (Nasser Al-Attiyah), 2020 (Carlos Sainz Sr.) and 2021 (Stéphane Peterhansel).The MINI John Cooper Works racing car “Made in Nürburg” pays homage to the racing tradition of the MINI brand in the classic colour scheme of the 1960s racing cars in red / white.
MotoringFile at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be bringing you all the latest of MINI’s 2022 assault on the ‘Ring from the drop of the flag. Follow MotoringFile as we gear up alongside the Bulldog race team to bring you the latest from the Green Hell.