The MINI JCW GP is the fastest MINI in history. The 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder it borrows from BMW makes 302 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Honestly, it’s too much, as it torque steers more than any other car we’ve ever tested. Bless its Torsen front diff’s little heart, as it tries to manage all of that power to only two front wheels in a very light car but it just doesn’t have what it takes. The GP has a lot of problems but speed isn’t one of them. However, is it fast enough to take on the front-wheel drive lap record holder at the Nurburgring, the Renault Megane RS Trophy 2?
In this new video from Lovecars, we get to see a drag race between the two of them, to see which is faster. They run three races, to test out the different modes and settings of the Renault, as it’s abit more complex than the MINI.
Under the hood, the Renault makes 300 horsepower from its 1.8 liter turbo-four, so it’s about equally matched to the MINI in terms of power. It does have one major disadvantage, though — its gearbox. The JCW GP uses an eight-speed Aisin automatic, while the Renault gets an old-fashioned six-speed manual. Of course, the latter is more fun but it’s also slower.
Despite losing the first race due to wheelspin, Tiff Needell insists on going again, to beat the Ben Collins-piloted MINI JCW GP. While the Megane is a brilliant driver’s car on a circuit or in the rear world, it’s always going to struggle in a drag race, as its manual transmission and aggressive gearing make it difficult to launch. That said, its manual transmission actually held up better than the MINI’s automatic over the course of several launches. MINI might need to fit better transmission cooling to the GP.
After having driven the GP, we know that it’s a fast and competent car but that it leaves some to be desired in terms of driving dynamics and fun. Judging by Needell’s handbrake turn in between races, it seems as if the Renault has the GP beat in those regards.