At the 2017 LA Auto Show, Mini parked the John Cooper Works GP concept front and center on its show stand. The GP concept looked like a championship rally car with the number of wings, turning vanes and its massive diffuser hanging off the back. It seemed there was no way Mini was going to greenlight it for production – we stand corrected. Mini just confirmed John Cooper Works GP for 2020. It’s fantastic to see Mini bringing something a wild, race-bred hot hatch to the market, and you can certainly see the influence of BMW bubbling to the surface with an injection of old-school ‘ultimate driving machine’ bloodlines.
The massive front splitter is big enough to eat lunch off of, and a cavernous rear diffusor and an imposing rear wing bookend what’s essentially a road-legal race car. Flared fenders are louvered with a handful of wings and on the inside, the cabin is stripped out and replaced with racing bucket seats and a roll cage. Keep in mind this is still all just a concept, so how much Mini decides to translate to the production version is still up in the air. The bare-metal race car interior might be a bit much, but all fingers crossed the bodywork gets the go-ahead.
As for the engine, the JCW uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 228 horsepower. With a lightened chassis and tuned suspension, you wouldn’t need more than that but a little more push couldn’t hurt. If the new JCW GP goes over well, it’d be nice to see BMW cherry pick a few elements and apply them to the 1- or 2-Series, purely for entertainment reasons. BMW does own Mini after all, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the Germans to get a little envious of its British hatchbacks.