The hot hatch made even hotter for the grueling endurance race.
Mini has created a gigantic wing to which a John Cooper Works hardtop has been mounted. All jokes aside, the JCW will return to the Nürburgring’s 24-hour endurance race after a 10-year sabbatical. Bulldog Racing, a private team, will compete in the SP3T class at the 50th edition, which will be contested on the renowned Nordschleife. The pocket rocket has been modified to become a proper race car, complete with a single-seat cabin.
The interior has been stripped down to make room for a full roll cage and a body-hugging OMP seat. The gasoline tank has been enlarged to 100 litres (26.4 gallons) to reduce the number of pit stops for refilling because it must go around the Green Hell for 24 hours. In comparison to the road-going JCW, the racing sister uses Makrolon window panes instead of glass to save weight.
At the heart of the Mini JCW race car is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine taken from the flagship versions of the Clubman and Countryman. It pumps out 306 horsepower (225 kilowatts) and 450 Newton-meters (331 pound-feet) of torque channeled to the wheels via an eight-speed Steptronic gearbox carried over from the street version. However, the engineers have integrated a mechanical differential lock featuring a locking effect of up to 70 percent for optimal torque distribution.
Interestingly, stopping power is provided by brakes borrowed from the parent company’s BMW and its M Performance goodies. The track-only JCW boasts a pneumatic lifting unit to make it easier and quicker to change wheels, while the sports exhaust has a race-spec catalytic converter. Additional changes include a huge rear diffuser, a completely covered, and a chunky front splitter as part of the radical aero package.
The car has just been under development for seven months and will race on the 25.378-kilometer circuit in Germany between May 26 and 29. At the meanwhile, additional testing will take place on the Nordschleife and in Miramas, France, where the BMW Group has a testing site.
Spy pictures have shown that a new JCW road car is in the works, which will most likely be the last one with a combustion engine until Mini becomes all-electric in 2030.