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Mini JCW GP set to arrive next year

The 1160kg six-speed manual two-seater wears a fully-functioning aerodynamic body kit.

Being unveiled at Paris motor show, it is the fastest Mini ever. Just 30 of a limited production run of 2000 worldwide - the current car's swansong before an all-new Mini in 2014 - will roll off boats in Australia, wearing a sub-$60,000 price tag and promising serious performance.

Mini product communications manager Scott Croaker says the JCW GP was the current Mini's last hurrah before the new car arrived. “This is the last hurrah of current Mini, given the new Mini is due to premiere next year this would be a similar thing - a limited edition of the R56 as we call it,” he says.

Mr Croaker said just 30 out of limited production run of 2000 had been secured for Australian customers to arrive in Australia during the first quarter of next year, and many already had names on them - but if more became available the Australian arm would look to grab them. “There are quite a number with names on them already, there are not too many left at the moment. Getting any more depends on whether other markets take up their allocation.”

The 1160kg six-speed manual two-seater wears a fully-functioning aerodynamic body kit and sits on specialist sports suspension and has upgraded brakes beneath 17in Mini Challenge alloy wheels. A Mini first will be adjustable coilover suspension, which will allow the ride height to be dropped by up to 20mm and give owners the ability to tune the suspension for racetrack work.

Other track-related changes include the stability and traction control, which has a Sport mode function as well as a GP racing mode. The extra mode deletes any power reduction from the system and gives the GP the ability to brake the inside front wheel in corners to prevent wheelspin. The system loads up the outside wheel in corners to improve drive out of the corner, which is going to be a requirement given these outputs.

The 1.6-litre four-cylinder twin-scroll turbo direct-injection powerplant has been upgraded and wound up to 160kW and 260Nm (with 280Nm on offer during overboost), enough to lay claim to a 6.3 second sprint to 100km/h, a 242km/h top speed and an 8m23s time around the northern loop of the Nurburgring - 18 seconds quicker than the previous JCW machine. The JCW GP also lays claim to EU fuel consumption figures around 7.1 litres per 100km.

Race-bred brakes will bring it to an eye-watering halt - six-piston fixed-calipers gripping 330mm ventilated front and 280mm solid rear discs - as well as a features list will also include xenon headlights, foglights, air conditioning, Recaro sports seats, a cargo bay guard to keep luggage in place, a JCW thick-rimmed leather-wrapped sports steering wheel and gearshifter knob.

Also on the cards for Australia is the Mini Countryman JCW - which will have the same engine outputs as the lighter GP but will be all-wheel drive and have an automatic available. “That will be similar in terms of timing, we'll see that at the start of next year, its performance won't be similar but it gets similar outputs and will be available with an automatic, which will flow through into other models in the JCW range,” Mr Croaker says.

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