The MINI has gone through some turbulent times in the past, but with things looking decidedly on the bright side, the anticipation is building over at MINI HQ as they prepare for the launch of the MINI John Cooper Works Grand Prix II. The pending model has been spotted in testing near the Nurburgring ahead of the planned launch at the MINI United event, which takes place in the balmy South of France at the Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet from May 1lth – May13th.
The previous model JCW GP was released in 2006 amid some mixed reviews, some focusing on the fact that that it was only given around 8bhp more than the S Works. With the rear seats replaced by a heavy duty strut-brace and ride height lowered by 10mm with stiffened suspension, it’s clear this car was not being aimed at the daily commuter – even though there was now enough room for a week’s shopping in the back.
With only 2000 Grand Prix II MINIs to be produced, and the turbocharged 1.6litre engine producing an estimated 222bhp, this new version looks likely to be a sure-fire hit among enthusiasts and a worthy successor to the original JCW Grand Prix. Even with the rumoured hefty price tag of £25,000.
Kay Segler, Senior Vice President of MINI has said that he has driven this new car and that it is almost 20 seconds faster round the Nurburgring road course than the previous model. In any walk of motorised sport that is pretty impressive if a little hard to take on board.
But if this is true, what is making this version of the John Cooper Works Grand Prix so much quicker? It only boasts 222bhp compared to the original’s 215bhp which surely doesn’t add up to a full 20 seconds worth of power. Well, a lot of it is likely to be all about my pet subject – power to weight ratio; the reason a seemingly modest engined kit-car for example, can provide such a scarily fast ride. Maybe too, this version has been given uprated anti-roll bars which might shave the seconds off on those Nurburgring bends.
We know the original Grand Prix had various weight saving tricks up it’s sleeve, and the suggestion is that the Grand Prix II is going to take things a step further, including in it’s weight saving armoury a carbon fibre roof.
The MINI United event should provide a few more answers, I guess for the time being, we will just have to “weight” and see..