Official MINI Press Release: MINI performance is to be taken to new levels with the new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE, a MINI Cooper S built specifically for track use and ready to race. Set for its first public appearance at the forthcoming IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt, deliveries of the new car will take place from spring 2008. Key characteristics of the new car include a higher top speed, increased torque, faster acceleration and optimised traction.

Power enhancements are at the core of the striking CHALLENGE car’s modifications. As well as a re-developed twin-scroll turbocharger, the standard MINI Cooper S engine receives modified pistons, air filter, air intake passage, catalytic converter, exhaust components, electronic sensors and engine management system.

Numerous chassis and suspension tweaks add to what is a finely-tuned racing package. The new suspension system features adjustable damper units from KW Automotive, designed specifically for motorsport. A six-speed manual gearbox transmits power to 17″ front wheels made by Borbet and shod with exclusive new racing tyres manufactured by Dunlop.

Body revisions based on the John Cooper Works Aerodynamic Kit, currently available from all MINI dealers, are key features of the CHALLENGE car’s set-up. To generate increased downforce at higher speeds, CHALLENGE car owners can expect a new adjustable rear spoiler, rear diffuser and performance front spoiler. The new braking system performs exceptionally. Large four-piston calipers mean the car can go from 62 – 0mph in just 3.1 seconds. A race-specific ABS configuration and an air-pressure elevating system complete the product modifications, which together equate to a vehicle 30kg lighter than the previous CHALLENGE car.

Safety measures perfect the array of MINI CHALLENGE car features. A roll cage welded firmly to the body of the car houses RECARO bucket seats combined with a six-point safety belt, along with the HANS (Head And Neck Support) system used in Formula 1 cars.

Although the car is designed for race participation, private owners may find owning a MINI CHALLENGE car a compelling prospect. However, the car will not be licensed for public roads and as such is expected to maintain its appeal among racing enthusiasts.

The MINI Challenge race series is fast gaining presence and popularity around the world. Since 2004, Challenge races have been staged in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and New Zealand. In 2008, MINI Australia will also hold a Challenge competition.

Race teams will receive the first MINI CHALLENGE cars from March 2008. Private customers not competing in the MINI Challenge series can expect deliveries of cars from June 2008. An order form for the car can be downloaded from 11 September 2007 at and the expected price is €49,900 inc. VAT.

MINI John Cooper Works Challenge performance data:



Torque   Nm

0 – 62mph Seconds
0 – 62

Top Speed Mph

MINI Cooper S










* 260Nm with Overboost ** 280Nm with Overboost

MotoringFile Analysis: As promised MINI will be debuting the new JCW Challenge car at Frankfurt with hopes of selling quite a few for the 2008 racing season. But what does this mean for those waiting for a JCW factory car? Quite a bit as it turns out. We have it on good authority (Dr. Kay Segler himself) that the new Challenge race car will form the basis of the new JCW factory car. So we’re effectively getting a sneak peak at the specification of the 2009 factory JCW today.

The look of the car will also likely preview the factory JCW with the current JCW aerokit forming the basis of all the visual modifications. The key difference with the race car are the brake ducts where the fog-lights and driving-lights are currently located on the road car, the huge GP-esque wing and rear defuser.

Look for the factory JCW road car to debut next year.

Extra Large Image Downloads

You can see some extra large versions of the JCW Challenge car images below. Right click on each link to download to save to your computer:

Front View / Side View / Rear View


[ Details on MINI’s 2008 JCW Challenge Race Car ] MotoringFile