MINI will introduce the most unbridled MINI ever, the JCW GP Concept at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The GP concept embodies the ultimate MINI for the road and track and commemorates the marque’s stellar achievements in the Monte Carlo Rally some 50 years ago.
The concept car is the third ‘GP’ generation after the 2012 MINI John Cooper Works GP and 2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit, which were produced in limited numbers (2,000 units respectively).
The GP Concept design study intends to marry the functional elements of a race car with the classic proportions of the MINI three-door hatch. To this effect – MINI has designed a complex bodykit which makes the car considerably wider than the base car. The GP Concept's bodykit is made out of lightweight materials such as carbon fibre which optimises the power-to-weight ratio and retains the car's trademark balanced weight distribution.
At the front, large air intakes and moulded air deflectors dominate proceedings. The hexagonal radiator grille is flanked by elliptical headlights which cover a subtle orange ring on the inside. The width of the GP Edition is further accentuated by the carbon fibre front apron, which rises up from the front splitter to meet the flared front wheel arches.
The Black Jack Anthracite exterior paint finish is contrasted by the matt-finish Curbside Red, to highlight the add-on parts. Another colour, Highspeed Orange features on a strip across the grille and the on the ring within headlamp assembly.
Along the flanks, carbon-fibre side skirts from the body’s lowest edge while 19-inch 'Racetrack' lightweight wheels in classical multi-spoke design further announce the car’s sporting intent. The badge “0059” etched on the side, points to the year the classic Mini was born: 1959. Curbside Red features as an accent colour on the wheels and body’s flanks too.
Round the back, aggressive carbon panels rise just after the door and frames the rear wheels, like the front, adds considerably to the car’s overall width. The prominent roof spoiler also slots cleanly into the geometry of the side elements, lower down, the rear bumper houses carbon-fibre air vents and air deflectors inserts. The fancy LED taillights graphics are made to look like Union Jack flag split to two, on each side - a nod to the concept car’s British origins,
On the inside, the JCW GP Concept’s major highlight is its roll cage, which compliments a pair of low-mounted bucket seats with five-point belts. A cleanly-designed instrument panel is complemented by shift paddles on the steering wheel.
The rear seat bench headliner and conventional door trim panels which are removed to reduce weight. However, elements of the roll cage and the rear compartment are trimmed in lightweight panels with a hexagonal pattern, the doors are opened using recessed grips with fabric straps.
The GP Concept also shows new 3D printing (printed parts in the doors and instrument panel) and 3D knitting techniques (used to on the seats). MINI is bringing technologies to the interior of the concept car which will enable both tool-free production and simple personalisation in the future. Again, orange and red highlight colours add a premium touch to the otherwise functional interior.
There are no modifications under the hood for the JCW GP Concept. The road-going MINI JCW is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 231bhp and 350Nm of torque between 1250 – 4800rpm. Depending on the market – the MINI JCW is offered with either a six-speed manual or automatic.