It was only yesterday when we talked about a fully electric MINI going racing and now, we have something considerably more analog. This black John Cooper Works happens to have a six-speed manual gearbox and will compete later this month at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. It’ll carry the #126 start number and one of the drivers that will get the opportunity to hop behind the wheel will be Charlie Cooper. His grandfather, John Cooper, basically invented the Mini Cooper back in 1961.
Technical specifications have yet to be disclosed but since the car will take part in the VT2-FWD class, it means it’ll be lightly modified and is set to use a turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine. With MINI about to take the wraps off the next-generation three-door hatchback, it sets the stage for another JCW-badged hot hatch we’re hoping will once again spawn a race car equivalent.
The Oxford-based automaker is playing its part as far as trying to save the manual gearbox. In early February, it introduced the clutch pedal on four additional models in the United States after November 2022 when three vehicles received the 6MT. As it stands, the stick shift can be had in the Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works 2-door hardtops, Cooper Convertible, Cooper S Convertible, Cooper 4-Door Hardtop, and Cooper S 4-Door Hardtop.
Not only that, but MINI will also teach you how to row your own gears at its driving school. Instructors are holding courses at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal, California.
Aside from the three-pedal car, Bulldog Racing will also field the red MINI John Cooper Works #112 we saw at last year’s event when the Nürburgring celebrated the 50th anniversary of the grueling endurance race. The car was further developed over the winter break in Nürburg and will take part in the SP3T class.