Video: Mini JCW Sets New FWD Lap Record at Nurburgring
The Nurburgring lap record for front-wheel-drive production cars has been with Renault for many years. Two different iterations of the Megane set new benchmarks in 2008 and 2011, respectively, with an 8-minute 7-seven record to survive until March 2014. That’s when the Seat Leon Cupra became the first FWD car to lap the ’Ring in less than eight minutes. However, the new benchmark didn’t last too long, as Renault returned to the German track with the Megane RS 275 Trophy-R and regained its top position with a 7-minute 54-second lap.
While the Megane RS 275 Trophy-R still stands as the fastest production FWD car on the "Green Hell," the French hatch is far from being the quickest overall FWD car around the race course. That honor goes to a beefed-up Mini Cooper that just smashed the Megane’s lap by a whopping 10 seconds. How’s that possible? Well, first of all, the Mini in question is a John Cooper Works model. Then there’s the fact that the hatch got a few extra tweaks from German specialist Schirra Motoring. The end result is a 1.6-liter four-banger that generates 286 horsepower — 78 ponies over the stock model — a curb weight of only 2,215 pounds, and a hatch that’s faster than a host of sports cars.
I’m not kidding, this JCW is quicker around the `Ring than both the Porsche 911 GT2 and the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, and it matches the Pagani Zonda S’ Nurburgring lap time. That’s downright impressive no matter how you look at it, even though this Mini doesn’t qualify as a production car. This also means the Megane RS 275 Trophy-R gets to keep its record, but Schirra’s Mini is definitely the coolest FWD car to have lapped the ’Ring so far.