Mini races from one extreme to another

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Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept. Image: Mini via AFP Relaxnews

A week after revealing a plug-in electric concept, Mini has taken the wraps off another exciting showcar: the John Cooper Works GP Concept.

However, while The Mini Electric Concept has been designed with emissions-free urban driving in mind, the only thing it has in common with its conceptual companion is the Union Jack flag-inspired tail lamp design. That’s because the Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept is all about petrol, power and track-bred performance.

“[The car] is all about the unfettered feeling of driving and levels of performance found in motor sport competition,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the board of management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad. “This is driving fun in its purest form.”

Conceived as a road-legal tack car, thanks to a huge front apron, side skirts, air vents and rear wing, it looks ferocious even when standing still.

Inside the Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept. Image: Mini via AFP Relaxnews

To ensure that it can live up to its exterior styling when it actually gets going, Mini has ditched the rear seats in favor of a racing-approved roll cage, ditched the gearstick in favor of a paddle-operated transmission, extended the front and rear track for better grip and lower center of gravity, and has redistributed weight so that the load is equal over both axles. Some of this balancing act has been achieved by relocating components, and some by ditching traditional construction materials in favor of carbon fiber.

Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept – rear view. Image: Mini via AFP Relaxnews

Mini isn’t prepared to reveal exactly what’s under the car’s bulging hood, but Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design, promises it won’t disappoint. “What we’re looking at here is maximum performance, maximum Mini,” he said. “The Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept brings together the full suite of defining MINI design features and showcases them at their sportiest and most exciting.”

However, we won’t know just how exciting the car promises to be until the company officially reveals it and its performance figures on September 12, when the Frankfurt motor show opens its doors to the world’s motoring press. JB

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