During the festivities this past weekend at the running of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, Mini did a demonstration run around the track with a weapons-grade hot hatch in the making—the 2020 Mini John Cooper Works GP. The JCW GP is still undergoing development at the ‘Ring, and the automaker says that it can already lap the Nordschleife circuit in less than eight minutes—almost a half-minute faster than the previous Mini to wear the GP tag.
For reference, the Honda Civic Type R does the deed in a time of 7:43.8.
The new Mini John Cooper Works GP was joined in its run around the Green Hell by an ’06 Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit and a ’13 model.
Mini has received its share of criticism for departing from the brand's core identity forged in the image of the original Austin Mini and its Cooper and Cooper S performance variants: tiny and cute but deceptively quick and fun to drive. BMW's first-generation R53 Mini, particularly those in John Cooper Works form, and specifically the 2000-unit full-tilt 214-horsepower 2006 Mini GP built at the end of that platform's product cycle, seemed true to that core identity, as did the 2013 edition of Mini GP. Other than those hardcore models, however, the brand has expanded its customer target with cars like the not-very-mini Countryman and the now discontinued (and very odd) Mini Coupe and Roadster.
Just 3000 examples of the 2020 Mini John Cooper Works GP will be made. Final specifications won't be known until the car is fully revealed, but Mini promises higher engine power (above 300 hp), a model-specific suspension developed by John Cooper Works, reduced weight, and aerodynamic tricks including a rear wing that is substantially larger than that on the two previous GP Minis.
Despite the camo, we can tell from the photos that the latest GP will differ from more mundane Minis with large air intakes, bigger aluminum wheels, distinctive front and rear aprons, and that large wing.