Mini John Cooper Works superheated for N24

And you thought the GP was wild looking…

By John Howell / Tuesday, 19 April 2022 / Loading comments

We’ve been treated (sometimes subjected) to a legion of special edition Mini hatches over the last two decades. Some of them have been as forgettable as a newspaper advert for trousers, others – most notably the trio of GP variants – have been wildly impressive. But not even the limited-edition flagship model has enjoyed the mechanical going over the new “Made in Nürburg” race car has received.

And for good reason. Because it has been built specifically to compete in next month’s N24 spectacle, the 50th running of the world-famous 24hr thrash around arguably its most exciting circuit – all 25.783 glorious kilometres of it. Work started last September at Bulldog Racing, just next door to the Nordschleife. What began as a standard Mini John Cooper Works Hatch with 231hp gets a transplant – the 306hp 2.0-litre turbo ‘four’ from the JCW Countryman and Clubman models, not to mention the most recent GP. This includes a sports exhaust modified to incorporate a racing cat. Drive is sent through an eight-speed Steptronic auto and a mechanical limited-slip diff with up to 70 per cent locking potential.

A full cage is installed, along with a 100-litre fuel tank, lightweight Makrolon windows (as part of the extensive weight reduction) and a pneumatic jacking system. The racing suspension is adjustable for rebound and compression damping and jointed with reinforced Uniball bearings. And to add some downforce to keep the car planted through the many corners and undulations of the ‘Ring, there’s a front splitter, completely flat floor, rear diffuser and an adjustable rear wing. The brakes are sourced from the BMW M Performance division.

Pat Moss scored the first rally victory for Mini in 1962 (at the Tulip Rally), and from there Minis have won prestigious events including three overall victories at the Monte Carlo Rally (1964: Paddy Hopkirk; 1965: Timo Mäkinen; 1967: Rauno Aaltonen) and six Dakar Rallies (2012: Leonid Novitskiy; 2013: Stéphane Peterhansel; 2014: Nani Roma; 2015: Nasser Al-Attiyah; 2020: Carlos Sainz Sr.; 2021: Stéphane Peterhansel). To pay tribute to this racing history the Made in Nürburg will run in the classic Mini racing colours of red and white, and compete in the up-to-2.0-litre SP3T class.

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