The Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept – the forerunner of the production version of Mini’s extreme hot hatch – has been shown at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Considering the next Mini hatchback is due in 2020, we expect to see the GP on roads in 2019.
Both first- and second-generation Minis have offered a JCW GP model near the end of the mainstream models’ lifecycles (in 2006 and 2012, respectively) and the same pattern is expected to follow with the third-generation car.
The JCW concept was first shown at the Frankfurt motor show, last year. However, Mini has said that it could “not confirm whether a series-production model of the GP will be launched in the future. This concept is a design study.” The British carmaker said the concept is inspired by its triumphs at the Monte Carlo Rally, 50 years ago, “embodying dynamic flair and the ultimate in driving fun”.
In conversation with our sister publication, Autocar UK, Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer previously said that a GP model was likely to appear again. “The John Cooper Works GP is an important part of the Mini brand,” he said. “It has worked well for us in the past and I don’t see why it wouldn’t again, in the future.”
The concept on display features extreme styling which is unlikely to be carried over in its entirety to a production model. There are large front and rear aprons, side skirts and a prominent roof spoiler. The car also uses lightweight materials including carbon fibre, which the BMW-owned carmaker says optimises its power-to-weight ratio; no figures are provided, though.
The JCW GP concept uses 19-inch alloy wheels, while the LED rear lights display half of the Union Jack – a nod to the car’s British origins. A version of these lights is now available on the Mini hatchback. Inside, the concept has a roll cage and pair of low-mounted bucket seats, as well as paddleshifters on the steering wheel.
The last JCW GP, launched in 2012, uses a four-cylinder 1.6-litre turbo-petrol unit delivering 218hp – a 7hp increase over the standard JCW at that time – and hit 0-100kph in 6.3sec.
The current standard JCW adopted a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-petrol that puts out 230hp and also hits 0-100kph in 6.3sec – so expect improvements in both power and speed for the third-generation JCW GP.