It’s a common misconception that racecars with the biggest engines and most advanced technology always take home the trophy. While that’s often true, sometimes all you need to win is a nimble car with just enough power and a driver that doesn’t flinch in the face of danger. That was John Cooper’s vision in the early 1960s with the original Mini “Cooper” models and led to victory at the 1964 Rallye Monte Carlo, a grueling 1,000-kilometer affair through the winding roads and slippery slopes of Southern Europe.
Fast forward over half a century, and what was the car that pioneered an entire segment is now a German-owned near-luxury niche brand, but with a clear intent to prove it’s still got go-fast DNA. Last year in Frankfurt, Mini rolled out a GP concept that featured exaggerated body panels, a massive spoiler, a huge front splitter, and a stripped-out cabin complete with a roll cage. It was a fun exercise in design, but there was no word on whether a production model would finally grace our shores again. Mini announced today that it will officially revive the John Cooper Works GP model, last seen in 2013, for the 2020 model year, marking a return of the fastest, most hardcore production Mini ever.
The 2013 JCW GP made a splash for its uncompromising commitment to track performance, featuring a 214-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter engine good for a top speed of 150 miles per hour and a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds. A variety of track-ready options such as high-performance Kumho tires, adjustable coil over suspension, six-piston Brembo brakes up front, a functional rear diffuser, carbon fiber rear spoiler, and lightweight Recaro seats made this a true race car for the road. Only 2,000 were built, of which 500 came to the U.S. and sold for nearly $40,000 in one paint scheme with no available options.
Considering the current John Cooper Works model boasts 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet from its turbocharged engine, we can expect the GP model to turn things up to 11.