A stock MINI JCW 1to6 Edition just finished second in its class at the Nurburgring 24 Hours. The Green Hell (as it’s known) is the most difficult track in the world and the Nurburgring 24 Hours is its most grueling race. And yet a stock manual transmission JCW not only finished but nearly won its class. And we’ve got over 100 photos of every key moment documenting this historic race for the brand.
Driven by a group including Charlie Cooper, grandson of John Cooper himself, the Bulldog Racing Team punched well above their weight passing eight cars in their class before finishing second. Even more impressive they moved up a full 25 places throughout the 24 hours finishing ahead of much more powerful machinery.
In the first stint, Sebastian Sauerbrei in the black MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition made up numerous places and was significantly faster than in qualifying in his fastest lap with 10:16.362 min. After the first driver change it was Michael Mönch’s turn and then Charlie Cooper took over the wheel for the first time after the second pit stop. In the evening hours Christoph Kragenings got behind the wheel and then Sebastian Sauerbrei drove a double stint into the darkness. In the meantime, the team had made up 25 places in the overall standings of the 131 starters. At this point the JCW had climbed to 5th in its class (production vehicles with up to 2.0 liter turbocharged engines) where most of the competition had significantly more power.
As usual, no team is spared setbacks at the Nurburgring 24 Hours. Shortly after midnight the MINI ran into a problem with a fuel line in the auxiliary tank and had to be towed back into the paddock. After a painful one-hour repair, the JCW 1to6 went back out on track and the chase to catch up began. Shortly after sunrise, Christoph Kragenings drove a new fastest time with 10:15.551 minutes. This charge up the field was made all the more sweet as the black JCW had by now become a crowd favorite. You could hear the cheer “MINI!” every time it went by crowds.
The black MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition seemed to feel more and more comfortable as the race went on – reliably and consistently it completed lap after lap and moved up to 3rd place in his class. In the final hours of the race a lot of competitors were not able to hold their pace or had to give up. Not the MINI, which had meanwhile been taken to the heart by the audience and was cheered for every time it passed by. In the last hour Bulldog Racing moved up to second place in class. Shortly before the race it even looked like a class win might be in the books, but the class leader crossed the finish line first with a clever strategy.
Considering that the black MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition was finalized only one day before the first qualifying sessions, the result is a huge success for everyone in the team. The JCW 1to6 #126 has the same output as the stock JCW at 231 hp and is equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The car, which was used on the approximately 25-kilometer racetrack, is based on a standard MINI John Cooper Works that has only been adapted to comply with safety features and standards for competition in the VT2 production car class.