2020 Mini John Cooper Works GP revealed with 302 bhp in LA

feedback@motor1.com (Christopher Smith)
Mini John Cooper Works GP (2020)

It's the fastest and most powerful production Mini ever built.

We’ve pretty much seen the new Mini John Cooper Works GP already. It’s reportedly lapped the Nürburgring in less than eight minutes, a noteworthy accomplishment for a 300-horsepower front-wheel-drive hatchback though admittedly, it was a prototype wearing a weird race-track-themed camouflage wrap. Still, it didn’t hide the bonkers aero add-ons that denote the new hardcore GP model, and with the pocket rocket now revealed for the 2019 LA Auto Show, we can see it’s every bit as bonkers as we were expecting.

It's been a long road:

It’s also just as fast as we hoped, or actually a touch faster. Mini says the new JCW GP will sprint to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds. That should put 60 mph right around 5 seconds flat, which edges out the mighty Honda Civic Type R. Mini doesn’t electronically restrain the GP, either, so keep your foot planted and the winged JCW will eventually top out at 165 mph.

How is this accomplished? Simply put, the JCW GP packs the most powerful engine ever fitted to a production Mini. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged mill develops 302 bhp and 332 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is available at a low 1,750 RPM. It’s a 74-bhp increase over the standard JCW thanks to upgraded internals, a larger volume intake, free-flowing exhaust, and a tweaked turbocharger. As such, Mini also equips the GP with an upgraded oil and cooling system for the engine, so it might better cope with the rigours of being treated like a race car.

That’s also the motivation behind the GP’s bodywork. Aside from giving the Mini a decidedly aggressive look, the flared wheel arches, GP-specific front and rear fascias, and that massive roof spoiler improve downforce and cooling versus the standard JCW. The wheel arches are also needed because the GP’s stiffened suspension both lowers the car and widens the track. There’s additional reinforcement in the chassis and engine bay, along with stiffer suspension bushings and a strut bar for the front towers. Paired with GP-specific four-piston front brake calipers and 14.1-inch rotors, the GP is absolutely set up to be a veritable go-kart on a race track.

Mini John Cooper Works GP (2020)
Mini John Cooper Works GP (2020)

Such a feat isn’t easily accomplished on a front-wheel-drive car, but to that end Mini incorporates an eight-speed Steptronic transmission with an integrated mechanical differential lock to dole out the power. It works in conjunction with the car’s Dynamic Stability Control – which gains a special GP mode for this application – to manage both understeer and oversteer while cornering. That can certainly play an important role in the Mini’s sub-eight-minute Nordschleife lap, though it must be noted that for this official JCW GP launch, Mini makes no mention of the Green Hell or a lap time.

Being a special model, there is of course the requisite badging both outside and inside the GP. You’ll also find reduced sound insulation inside along with just two seats, and behind them is a red bar designed to keep cargo from suddenly crashing forward in the event of an emergency stop. It gets a set of special 18-inch wheels that weigh just 20 pounds each, and you can have your JCW GP in any colour you like. That is, as long as it’s Racing Grey metallic with silver, red, and black trim.

Mini will build just 3,000 2020 JCW GP models, and as previously reported, pricing starts just below £34,000. That’s a hefty sum, but that price does get you the most powerful production Mini ever. Deliveries are slated to begin in March 2020.