MINI Targa Tasmania Video

Targa Tasmania 2014: Hellyer Gorge

Targa Tasmania 2014

Ever wanted to race in Targa Tasmania but don’t have the car, the time or the budget? Then here’s your best shot at it, watching onboard footage from the event.

This video was filmed yesterday from the MINI JCW GP (car #923), Andrew Robinson is behind the wheel and Tom Browell is calling the notes.

MINI Targa Tasmania

Targa Tasmania 2014


Targa Tasmania starts this week and I’ll be heading down later today to act as service crew for car #923. The car itself, a MINI JCW GP, may look familiar to you.

And it is, almost!

This also means updates to AUSmotive may be a bit sparse for the next week.

Drive Thru MINI

Drive Thru: MINI JCW v MINI GP


The hot hatch market has really taken off in recent times, thanks to headline grabbing models from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. So, what about traditional hot hatches—small, modestly powered front-wheel drives—can they still put a smile on your dial in this era of 350hp+ hatchbacks?

Under BMW’s stewardship for over 10 years, MINI has carved an enviable niche in the hot hatch segment. The factory-built John Cooper Works model has been around for more than five years as well. Upping the ante for MINI in 2012 was the arrival of the John Cooper Works GP. Just 2000 will be made worldwide and 55 have found their way to Australia.

And it just so happens that AUSmotive has driven the two MINI hot hatches back to back. For the purposes of this review let’s refer to them simply as the JCW and the GP. The former is a regular everyday hot hatch, the latter has been stripped out, beefed up and attempts to tread the fine line between track day weapon and daily driver. It’s also the reigning Motor Magazine ‘Bang for your bucks’ champ.


MINI JCW GP2 is 2013 ‘Bang for bucks’ champ

2013 MINI John Cooper Works GP

The MINI John Cooper Works GP is the latest hot hatch to win Motor Magazine “Bang for your bucks” award. With a list price of $56,900 the hardest MINI you can buy impressed the judges, with one saying, “most talented Bang winner in ages”, while another judge added it was, “best MINI I’ve ever driven, especially on a track.”

Naturally, BMW Group Australia managing director, Phil Horton, is happy to receive the accolade, while trying to slip in some sneaky marketing as well.

“We’re absolutely delighted to win MOTOR Magazine’s 2013 BFYB award,” Horton said. “Our entire MINI range—including the original hatch and the just released Paceman—are renowned for being tons of fun on the road, as well as on the race track.

“It’s great to see that Australia’s most popular performance magazine thinks so too.”

Audi Ford MINI Renault Video

Is the MINI JCW GP2 the new hot hatch king?

MINI John Cooper Works GP

The new MINI John Cooper Works GP has arrived in Australia and it might be about to kick a few goals down under. That’s certainly the case if this video from Evo magazine is anything to go by. Perhaps for local relevance the cars they tested the GP2 against are not very worthy, but as an outright measure of capability this surely has to stack up.

Against the MINI we see two former greats tackle two new hot hatches. From Ford we have the awesome looking Focus RS 500, while Renault provides the track-day special Megane R26.R. Two excellent cars that serve to provide a handy benchmark. To see if they can beat the old timers the MINI was joined by the limited-edition Audi A1 quattro.

Okay, we’ve probably already given away the result but it won’t make the clip any less enjoyable. And you can have the GP2 in your garage for around $60K. Not bad, huh?

[Thanks to Wayne for the tip]


MINI Australia extends JCW GP allocation to 55

MINI John Cooper Works GP

Christmas has come early for local fans of the MINI John Cooper Works GP, with an extra 25 models confirmed for Australian delivery. That brings Australia’s total allocation to 55, following an earlier boost of 10, and now 25, extra models. A nice increase from the originally announced 20 deliveries.

The JCW GP is priced from $56,900 and, unusually for a MINI, is unable to be altered from the standard spec.

MINI Australia General Manager, Kai Bruesewitz says demand for the exclusive model is running high, “Almost every JCW GP Edition already has a customer name against it and judging by the success of previous limited edition MINI models, the remainder won’t be gathering dust.

“With a total worldwide production of just 2,000 units, the MINI JCW GP Edition looks set to become an instant collector’s item and Australia punches well above its weight in securing a substantial chunk of that production.”

MINI say the GP2 can lap the Nürburgring in 8 minutes 23 seconds and call it the fastest MINI ever. The first Australian deliveries are expected in January.

MINI Motor Shows

Paris 2012: MINI JCW GP & Paceman in video

MINI John Cooper Works GP

MINI has two shining lights at Paris this year, the strictly limited John Cooper Works GP (30 of which are coming to Australia) and the two-door Countryman, otherwise known as the Paceman. Here’s the best videos featuring both cars filed from other people’s correspondents.


MINI Australia prices JCW GP from $56,900

MINI John Cooper Works GP

30 GPs have been allocated to Australia

MINI Australia has just announced sharp pricing for its limited edition John Cooper Works GP. Priced from $56,900 we reckon MINI will have no problems shifting the 30 cars they have managed to secure from the worldwide allocation of 2000 vehicles.

The GP2 is designed to be a track day hot hatch and boasts coilover suspension and six-pot front brakes among its special features. Its 1.6 litre turbo four cylinder engine has strengthened internals and produces 160kW.

Highlighting its sharpened focus, the rear seats and rear wiper have been removed to help keep weight down.

After making some initial inquiries with Rolfe MINI Garage in Canberra we understand all 30 GP2s coming to Australia will be the same specification. There will be no options available to buyers.

“The appeal for hot-hatch aficionados and track day racers will mean the GP edition won’t sit in showrooms for long so interested customers should move quickly,” said MINI Australia General Manager, Kai Bruesewitz.

The first batch of Australian deliveries is scheduled to be built in November for delivery early next year. We understand the remaining allocation will be built in February 2013 for April/May delivery.


MINI John Cooper Works GP revealed

MINI John Cooper Works GP

Ahead of its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show this month MINI has finally come good with official details on its latest John Cooper Works GP model. This includes a raft of new pics showing the car’s interior for the first time. Today’s info follows an official preview of the car back in May and the revelation of leaked specs earlier this week.

According to a Facebook post from MINI Australia in June a total of 20 GPs are on their way to our shores. That represents 1% of the worldwide production run of 2000 models. We’d not be surprised if Australia’s allocation changed, which could mean more, but it may mean less. Let’s hope not. Australian pricing has not been confirmed yet and based on speculation we suggest you pick a number between 65 and 75 and multiply it by 1000.

So, back to the car then. As we confirmed on Tuesday the ‘GP2’ is powered by a 160kW turbocharged 1.6 litre engine, a modest 5kW gain on the regular JCW model. Maximum torque remains at 260Nm (280Nm with overboost).

A number of exterior styling tweaks set the GP aside from other MINIs and include any colour you like so long as it’s Thunder Grey metallic, complete with red highlights. GP decals on the bonnet and sides of the car also help let the world know this is no ordinary MINI. A fact reinforced by its Challenge racecar inspired rear wing and lower diffuser. And those lightweight 17″ alloys won’t be found on any other production MINI.

Alcantara and leather Recaro bucket seats set off the interior nicely along with the thick leather steering wheel. The red highlights have found their way inside as well, most notably on the gear stick, seatbelts and rear strut brace.

The GP gets the luxury of xenon headlights, but makes do without a rear seat, rear wiper and steering wheel controls. Coilover suspension with dramatic default negative camber settings ensure the semi-slick tyres can maintain grip in extreme cornering conditions. It also reminds you the GP is not that far removed from the MINI Challenge racecars.

A specially tuned Dynamic Stability Control system affords more freedom for the right foot. After you’ve been heavy with the accelerator pedal you’ll be pleased to learn you have six-pot 330mm brakes up front and 280mm brakes at the rear. More than enough for the 1235kg kerb weight.

Generally speaking we’re big fans of the GP, but for the expected razor sharp handling we reckon you’ll have to accept a crashing ride. We do hold some slight reservations that for all its undoubted charms it may prove a slight pain in the arse—perhaps quite literally—for those hoping to use this car as a daily driver.