Mini chose this weekend's Mini United festival in France to introduce its highest-performance model yet: the John Cooper Works GP. Announced at the New York auto show, the new car follows up on the limited-run GP package offered for the 2006 Mini Cooper.
Calling it the "fastest Mini ever built," the company proudly notes that the spicy hatchback was tuned on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany -- which is exactly where our spy photographers spotted a camouflaged prototype back in March. The new John Cooper Works GP set a Nürburgring lap time of 8:23, which is almost 19 seconds quicker than the time set by the previous John Cooper Works GP.
Mini says the car has adjustable suspension, race-spec brakes, race tires, bespoke four-spoke wheels, and new aerodynamic body parts to improve downforce. The rear seats have been removed to trim weight, and the roof gains a carbon-fiber spoiler. However, other performance statistics won't be released until closer to the car's on-sale date.
For now we know only that the Mini GP will use a turbocharged engine -- which is almost certainly an upgraded version of the turbo 1.6-liter inline-four in the Cooper S and JCW models. The engine makes 208 hpin the current JCW,and the new Mini Countryman JCW extracts 211 hp from the 1.6-liter turbo-four engine. It's a safe bet the new JCW GP will be rated for more than the 214 hp of the previous GP model, which used a supercharged 1.6-liter engine.
As before, production will be limited to 2000 units worldwide, though Mini has yet to determine how many of those will be available to American buyers. Pricing will be announced at a later date.