Now this is how you introduce a nostalgic, rally-inspired race concept

I suppose we should’ve expected something like this from Mini. Give the company an inch, and it’s more than happy to take a mile. Take the new John Cooper Works GP Concept for example. On the surface, the concept’s objective is pretty simple: pay tribute to its conquest in the Monte Carlo Rally back in 1967. But like everything that Mini does, it’s as interested in simply giving homage to a rally car as it is in making a statement and going above and beyond what’s needed. That attitude gave birth to the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit and the Mini John Cooper Works GP from 2006 and 2012, respectively. Now, Mini’s back with a new randy concept called the John Cooper Works GP Concept, and wouldn’t you know it, it looks positively stunning.

Nobody’s going to ever accuse Mini at being bashful, but even the JCW GP Concept seems to have been done with a simple purpose in mind: get a Cooper JCW and drown it in aerodynamic bits. Even Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer describes the JCW GP Concept as “driving fun in its purest form,” and it’s hard to even come up with a reasonable argument otherwise. The end result is a car that can make even the most demented of tuning firms blush with pride, though I suppose getting that kind of reaction is already old hat for Mini. Good to know then that after all these years, the BMW-owned automaker still has what it takes to grab everyone’s attention the way very few of its peers in the business are able to.

Updated 09/18/2017: Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept looked even more aggressive on the Frankfurt floor. Check our gallery for more images from the show.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Official Video

Exterior

2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Where do I even start with this thing? The smart way to go about this is to probably take it a section at a time so let’s start with the front end. The good news is that at its core, the Cooper JCW GP Concept is still a Cooper. The aesthetic of the car doesn’t change though it must be pointed out that everything else about it is different. Take the lower bumper section for example. That kind of setup isn’t something you normally see out of a Mini, but the pieces, including the large air intakes and the carbon fiber front apron, are all there. Looking at it from the front looks like the entire aero kit – the intakes, the apron, the fenders, and the wheel arches – was made entirely from one component, and wrapped around the Cooper, further enhancing the level of aggression that Mini wanted to create with the concept.

That said, this is still a Mini concept so it wouldn’t be right if even the traditional features don’t come with some extra flair to them

Move up to the upper part of the car’s front section and you’ll see some traditional Mini design cues, most notably the elliptical headlights and the hexagonal radiator grille. That said, this is still a Mini concept so it wouldn’t be right if even the traditional features don’t come with some extra flair to them. The headlights and grille, in particular, feature a Highspeed Orange trim while the hood gets its own air scoop. Even the Mini logo on the nose has been blacked out completely, a nice change of pace from its traditional chrome visual.

2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Now, let’s move to the sides of the car where the changes are as prominent, though may be not as visually striking. There are a few elements worth noting here, one of which are the cabin fiber side skirts that create extra aesthetic and aerodynamic enhancements to the overall makeup of the concept. The side mirrors are also different by way of how thin they are, and if you move back to the rear section in the sides, you’ll see similarly detached fenders and wheel arches. From a cosmetic standpoint, Mini added some nods to the concept’s roots, including a “0059” decal on the flared carbon fiber front arches. That specific number is a hat tip to the year – 1959 that the classic Mini was born.

The rear section is prominent in its own right and you only need to look at it to see how unique the design itself is

It speaks to how much work was put into the exterior of the car that each section of it deserves its own paragraph. The rear section is prominent in its own right and you only need to look at it to see how unique the design itself is. I’m partial to the design of the rear lights – brilliant use of the Union Jack! – as it accomplishes the rare killing of two birds with one stone by giving it a distinct look that also pays tribute to Mini’s British heritage. Then again, the massive Mini identifier in the middle could’ve been a little less conspicuous, though it really doesn’t matter to much. What matters is the lower section of the rear, which paints a similar picture as the front end of the concept, specifically the presence of carbon fiber air vents and air deflectors, as well as the two rain lights and the classic central twin tailpipe layout that the Cooper JCW is famous for. Last but definitely not least is the massive rear spoiler that itself has its own wrap-around look to it.

2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Exterior
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It’s also typical of Mini to use a curious combination of colors throughout the exterior of the car. We already know about the Highspeed Orange trim spread throughout the body. More to that though is the use of a Black Jack Anthracite exterior paint finish that it says “shimmers between grey and black” and a Curbside Red Metallic shade that creates the striking two-tone shade that help make this concept truly stand out. The last piece of this concept’s exterior puzzle is the new set of 19-inch Racetrack lightweight wheels that feature the same Curbside Red Metallic shade on the wheels’ multi-spoke design.

Somehow, someway, Mini managed to fit all of these pieces together in one concept. It’s exhausting to even look at it, let alone piece all the elements together to understand the automaker’s rationale for doing it. In the end, it really is about MINI’s vision for the car, and how it wants it to look and perform. There’s not much to be said in this regard because the appearance of the Cooper JCW GP Concept already – and quite emphatically, I might add – speaks for itself.

Interior

2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Interior
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Given the purpose of the concept as a tribute to the Monte Carlo Rally, it comes as no surprise that the car’s interior is devoid of any of the usual creature comforts that standard Mini Coopers have. The cabin itself is pretty spartan as only a roll cage, a pair of low-mounted bucket seats with five-point seat belts, and an instrument panel count as the only notable features in it. The rear seat bench has been taken out. Same thing with the headliner and the door trim panels. All these components are absent because Mini wants to keep the car as light as possible. Even the door handles have been replaced by fabric straps.

2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Interior
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2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Interior
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Mini did dress up the cabin with a multi-colored finish centered on white, gray, and black touches

The concept does have a Head-Up Display that displays relevant information to the driver, critical for a car that was created for the singular purpose of rally racing. Despite the decision to go the bare-as-bones route in the interior, Mini did dress up the cabin with a multi-colored finish centered on white, gray, and black touches, and complemented by red accents that look strikingly similar to the Curbside Red Metallic finish found on the concept’s exterior.

The end result is a unique interpretation of a modern-day rally car’s cabin with the traditional elements of weight-saving minimalism playing well with the exclusive refinement that has come to define Mini’s modern-day quality.

Drivetrain

2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Exterior
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In the ultimate irony of ironies, the rally-inspired Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP Concept doesn’t appear to have a powertrain underneath it. Even if it actually does, Mini isn’t saying what kind of engine it has so it’s probably best to leave it to our imaginations to think what kind of engine the concept has.

That engine was good enough to produce upwards of 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque

With this in mind, I’m taking my cues from the Mini Countryman-based ALL4 Racing rally car that used BMW’s 3.0-liter inline-six engine. That engine was good enough to produce upwards of 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, which could be sufficient for a car like the John Cooper Works GP Concept.

Don’t take my word as gospel though because I’m only guesstimating on the kind of engine and power the concept has. For all we know, Mini’s keeping this part of the concept’s reveal under wraps until it pulls the cover off of the car at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Conclusion

2017 Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept High Resolution Exterior
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As rally cars go, this is arguably one of the most dynamic concepts I’ve seen in quite some time. The physical characteristic of the concept is in line with Mini’s penchant for over-the-top designs. It hasn’t always worked out to the benefit of the German automaker, but I think the company nailed it this time around. If this concept is what awaits the future of rally cars, I wouldn’t be opposed to it the least bit.

  • Leave it
    • * No engine upgrades?
    • * Only A prototype
    • * Am I the only one excited about it?

References

Mini John Cooper Works

2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the Mini John Cooper Works.

Mini Electric Concept

2017 MINI Electric Concept Exterior High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on Mini’s other concept for Frankfurt.

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