This year’s Lightning Lap list of contenders includes quite a hefty amount of cars built under the BMW Group umbrella. Earlier today we saw how the BMW M8 Competition fared. Nt’s time to check out the small but punchy MINI JCW GP model on the same track. As usual, the people from Car and Driver took the best cars they thought fit for the Lightning Lap contest to the Virginia International Raceway, otherwise also known as VIR.

Using the same track for their benchmarks comes with some advantages and allows us to compare how the performance of the cars tested evolves over the years. The first time they went to VIR was in 2006, so there’s quite a bit of data gathered at their disposal over the years. The MINI JCW GP was included in the LL2 class and it faced some stiff competition. As you might be aware, the classes are split based on pricing.

Since the JCW GP is not exactly cheap, it ended up in the same class as the Supra 2.0T, the Cadillac CT4-V, Mustang EcoBoost, Cadillac CT5-V, Subaru STI S209, BMW M340i and the Supra GR. That is a tough line-up. The JCW GP, with its price tag of just under $46,000, managed to beat a hefty amount of them, becoming the fastest front-wheel drive car ever to race in the Lightning Lap, stripping the title from the Honda Civic Type-R.

The 306 HP hatch managed a time of 3:03.8 being faster than the 360 HP Cadillac CT5-V, the 2020 Ford Mustang 2.3 High Performance, the 325 HP Cadillac CT4-V and the 2-liter Toyota Supra. Say what you want about the MINI JCW GP but that’s a good result all things considered! Out of the LL2 class only the BMW M340i, Subaru STi and GR Supra beat it and those cars are on a different level.