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Uncompromising new Mini JCW GP spied on track

Latest spy shots confirm that Mini has taken no prisoners with extreme-looking 2020 model

By Sam Sheehan / Thursday, April 11, 2019

Mini is developing its most potent and aerodynamically-influenced hot hatch yet – and, if the development car’s anything to go by, it’ll sport one of the largest fixed rear wings ever fitted to a production supermini. The 2020 JCW GP, seen here testing in Germany ahead of its reveal in late 2019, is on course to retain much of the addenda fitted to the concept that previewed it, suggesting Mini’s two-seat performance halo will produce lots of downforce to provide a more compact alternative to Renault Sport’s Megane Trophy-R.

To do that, it’ll also need plenty of extra power, so a boost of over 70hp on the current JCW variant is due for the back-seat-free GP. This would edge the peak output of its turbocharged 2.0-litre four beyond the 300hp mark, ranking it directly alongside the larger Trophy-R and giving the GP potential to shake up a real storm in the hot hatch segment. Could it topple the Civic Type R from its pedestal and set a new benchmark at the Nurburgring? There’s a good chance those two targets sit somewhere near the top of a white board within BMW’s Nordshleife base, where it's been testing the latest development car.

The first – and much adored – Mini GP from 2006 shed 50kg from the JCW’s kerbweight thanks to its lightweight wheels and stripped rear, and the successor lost 55kg with its similar diet. If the same were true for today’s JCW, the GP should tip the scales at about 1,250kg – giving our anticipated 300hp car a power-to-weight ratio of 231hp per tonne. Which, by pure coincidence, is conveniently identical to that provided by the Type R.

There’s no word as to whether Mini will offer both manual and automatic versions of the car; the latter would likely be faster, but we’d like to think the undying appetite for three-pedal driver’s cars ought to convince Mini that the former is essential. We won’t have long before finding out, anyway, as Mini is on schedule to show its new top performance car before 2019’s close, although first production cars won’t make it to roads until 2020. Still, that's quite a way for the brand to kick-off a new decade…

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