Future classic: Mini JCW GP

| 2 Jul 2021
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP

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It used to be such that if you wanted a fast and furious Mini, then there’d be no point flicking through the dealer catalogue.

Better to buy basic, maybe a Cooper if you’re splashing out, then roll down the garage door and get to work removing this and adding that.

Or you could tap in to what was and is a thriving specials and modification market to get someone to realise your dreams for you.

But that’s all changed now, with Minis coming off the BMW-owned production line with a few extra horses here, a few intakes there and appendages just about everywhere.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP

This is the maddest of the lot, giving a deriding smirk at the tame mere Cooper and John Cooper Works models earlier on in that catalogue.

Where they have a full allocation of seats, in the GP they’re up front only and behind your racy buckets is a bright red brace – for show apparently, rather than adding any structural rigidity.

Even compared to the previous two GPs, the first in 2006 and the second in 2013, this JCW GP is a level above.

A scarcely believable 302bhp has been extracted from its turbocharged 2-litre, which will push it to 164mph and polish off 0-62mph in 5.2 secs, aided by 332lb ft of torque. All of this, I should remind you, in a Mini.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP

It is the fastest of all the front-drive Minis and barely shy of the all-wheel-drive Clubmans.

The use of that powerplant means it’s auto-only, which goes against the nature of the car a touch, with an eight-speed ’box and paddles behind the thick wheel.

For all intents and purposes the GP looks as if it should be on a trailer, waiting for the next round of the BTCC-supporting MINI Challenge race series, not ready for a trip to the shops.

And, with no rear seats, it can actually be quite handy there… Spread your shopping around and you can channel your inner racer and play with the weight distribution, too.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP
Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP

No GP will be sold on practicality, mind, and only 575 will reach the UK from a total run of 3000.

Should you need reminding which is yours, the number is designed into the dash and on the wild extremities.

Out back hangs a big spoiler, which nicely follows the shape of the tail, while on the flanks are carbonfibre boxed arches – where you’ll find that chassis number again.

Classic & Sports Car – Future classic: Mini JCW GP

It rides firmly, corners flat and the sensation of speed is, well, sensational.

It eagerly awaits any touch of the throttle, and the balance of power and chassis capabilities are close enough to induce torquesteer on even straight, flat roads.

On anything else it’s skittish and busy. Yet this isn’t a car bought for its relaxing personality, but for early morning blasts.

And for those it’s barrels of fun: the steering is ultra-direct, the power huge, the noise appealing through its two central exhausts, and it’s unmissable to all other road users. And the envy of any fast Mini owner.

Images: Olgun Kordal


Factfile

  • Engine 1998cc turbocharged ‘four’; 302bhp @ 5000-6250rpm; 332lb ft @ 1750-4500rpm
  • Transmission ZF eight-speed auto, FWD
  • 0-62mph 5.2 secs
  • Top speed 164mph
  • Mpg 34
  • Price £35,345

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