MINI might have announced its plans to go purely electric by the early 2030s, but there’s still life left in the good ol’ combustion engine. The sportiest expression of the ICE is represented by the John Cooper Works. We’re not talking about the JCW road car, but the track-only machine seen here tackling Circuit de Provence. The race machine recently completed a milestone during its testing program ahead of its Nürburgring endeavor.
Yes, the hardcore John Cooper Works will take part in the grueling 24-hour endurance race in Germany. In the meantime, it traveled near the southern French city of Marseille where a prototype was put through its paces. Behind the wheel was BMW Group chassis engineer Patrick Häussler. He knows the track’s layout like the back of his hand as he’s been testing cars at the Miramas site for years.
Private team Bulldog Racing will field the John Cooper Works at what will be the race’s 50th edition. The team’s boss Friedhelm Thelen says all the necessary modifications and repairs were performed on-site at Circuit de Provence. It’s worth mentioning the race car’s rollout took place in March, but it’s only now MINI is sharing details.
The MINI John Cooper Works For The Track Boasts Several Upgrades
You can tell it’s not the standard JCW by the big wing, part of an aero pack to keep the car glued to the road. A single-seater, the track beast has a 100-fuel tank and Makrolon window panes. BMW provided the M Performance brakes while the stripped-out cabin has a roll cage behind the OMP bucket seat.
The 302-hp engine sends power to the road via the same eight-speed Steptronic transmission used by the street-legal version. The John Cooper Works gets a mechanical differential lock with a 70% maximum locking effect to improve torque split. The sports exhaust with a catalytic convertor specific for race cars has been installed, along with a pneumatic lifting unit to quickly change wheels.
In the coming weeks, testing will continue on the Nordschleife. The race debut is right around the corner as the John Cooper Works will be entered in the ADAC 24h Qualifiers this weekend. As for the big event, it’s scheduled to take place between May 26 and 29. Bulldog Racing will take part in the SP3T class with the pocket rocket.