MINI of Australia this week released the JCW Challenge Edition meant to bring the factory JCW car a little closer in visual apparel to the JCW Challenge race cars. There’s no word on if we’ll ever see something like this in other markets but we do know that MINI USA (among other markets) will be tinkering with the JCW factory spec for 2011. Full release below.

Official Release (Australia): More performance. More customisation. More MINI. Introducing the new and exclusive race-inspired MINI John Cooper Works Challenge Edition – bringing the MINI John Cooper Works even closer to the track.

In recognition of the pure pedigree that underpins MINI, the release of the MINI John Cooper Challenge Edition draws John Cooper Works even closer to the MINI CHALLENGE race car, both in its appearance and performance.

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The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge Edition is powered by the same powerplant as the MINI CHALLENGE race cars; delivering 155kW from a twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. Developing a maximum of 260 Nm of torque (280 Nm torque available during Overboost) the MINI John Cooper works propels from 0-100km/h in just 6.5 seconds.

Exclusive to the Australian market, the John Cooper Works Challenge Edition includes the following features over the already highly optioned MINI John Cooper Works model: John Cooper Works aerodynamics package consisting of front, rear and side aprons, John Cooper Works Carbon spoiler, John Cooper Works Aluminium cross brace, John Cooper Works Alcantara and Carbon steering wheel, John Cooper Works Carbon gearshift knob with Alcantara shroud, John Cooper Works Carbon handbrake lever with Alcantara surround and unique Challenge Edition badging.

The Challenge Edition is available with all new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop, Clubman or Cabrio models. Representing over $7,000 worth of value, the Challenge Edition is available for a strictly limited time as a $2,500 option.

A testament to the strength and success of the MINI Challenge race series, last year the sales of MINI John Cooper Works reach unprecedented heights, accounting for 26 percent of MINI Cooper S Hardtop sales and 10 per cent of the entire model range.

The 2010 MINI Challenge season kicks off in March with the categories debut at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.

Standard John Cooper Works model pricing*

– MINI John Cooper Works – $48,800
– MINI John Cooper Works Clubman – $51,300
– MINI John Cooper Works Cabrio – $56,900

*Manufacturer’s Recommended List Price is shown and includes GST and Luxury Car Tax (LCT) but excludes Challenge Edition extras, dealer charges, stamp duty, statutory charges and on-road charges which are additional and vary between dealers and States/Territories. Customers are advised to contact their nearest BMW dealer for all pricing inquiries.