The 2020 Mini John Cooper Works GP had its first public outing at the Nurburgring at the weekend. The lightly disguised prototype lapped the combined Grand Prix/Nordschleife layout in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators gathered for the 24 Hours race.
Under the camouflage, this is clearly the most extreme Mini JCW GP yet, with stretched wheelarches and a massive rear spoiler. The front bumper gains many air intakes and there’s a small diffuser at the back, too.
Under the bonnet there’s a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo motor – shared with the upcoming BMW M135i – that serves up 300hp. That’s a huge jump over the previous JCW GP, which made do with 215hp from its 1.6 turbo lump.
Mini hasn’t released any more technical details yet, but a look through the spec sheet of the last JCW GP could provide some pointers. It came with six-piston Brembo brake calipers, Bilstein suspension, semi-slick Kumho tyres, a stripped interior with Recaro bucket seats, a flat carbon kevlar underbody tray and a racy GP traction control mode.
It’s fair to assume the spec of the new JCW GP will be broadly similar, albeit beefed up to cope with the extra power and take advantage the current Mini’s more advanced and stiffer chassis.
Though it is only part-way from its development program, the 2020 JCW GP has already lapped the Nordschleife in less than eight minutes, Mini claims. It’s predecessor posted a lap time of 8mins 23secs.
The current FWD record stands at 7mins 40.1secs, set by the current Renault Megane RS Trophy-R. It’s a near-certainty that Mini will mount an attempt on the record before the JCW GP goes on sale.
As for when it will go on sale, Mini has been no specific than 2020. Just 3,000 examples will be built over the course of the year. The previous two generations of Mini JCW GP have become cast-iron collectables and this is sure to as well.
It’s also worth noting that the GP has previously served as a run-out model. The current, third generation BMW Mini is six years old now, so it’s fair to assume that a major renewal is due within the next year or so.
By Graham King