As we told you a couple of weeks back, the tiny auto brand owned by BMW revealed both a car that's a wee bit bigger in size and one that's a wee bit bigger in horsepower, top speed and torque. More on the Clubman later. First off, let's go for More Power! with the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works Challenge. It's a Mini Cooper S built specifically for track use and it shows with a new suspension system that features adjustable damper units from KW Automotive, designed specifically for motorsport. It also has got some serious engine tweaking going on, which give the JCW Challenge a 0-60 time of just 6.1 seconds. Not too shabby for the little bugger, eh? Full press release after the jump.
Race is on for new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE 08/14/2007
MINI performance is to be taken to new levels with the new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE, a MINI Cooper S built specifically for track use and ready to race. Set for its first public appearance at the forthcoming IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt, deliveries of the new car will take place from spring 2008.
Key characteristics of the new car include a higher top speed, increased torque, faster acceleration and optimised traction. Performance figures are detailed in the attached document.
Power enhancements are at the core of the striking CHALLENGE car's modifications. As well as a re-developed twin-scroll turbocharger, the standard MINI Cooper S engine receives modified pistons, air filter, air intake passage, catalytic converter, exhaust components, electronic sensors and engine management system.
Numerous chassis and suspension tweaks add to what is a finely-tuned racing package. The new suspension system features adjustable damper units from KW Automotive, designed specifically for motorsport. A six-speed manual gearbox transmits power to 17" front wheels made by Borbet and shod with exclusive new racing tyres manufactured by Dunlop.
Body revisions based on the John Cooper Works Aerodynamic Kit, currently available from all MINI dealers, are key features of the CHALLENGE car's set-up. To generate increased downforce at higher speeds, CHALLENGE car owners can expect a new adjustable rear spoiler, rear diffuser and performance front spoiler. The new braking system performs exceptionally. Large four-piston calipers mean the car can go from 62 - 0mph in just 3.1 seconds. A race-specific ABS configuration and an air-pressure elevating system complete the product modifications, which together equate to a vehicle 30kg lighter than the previous CHALLENGE car.
Safety measures perfect the array of MINI CHALLENGE car features. A roll cage welded firmly to the body of the car houses RECARO bucket seats combined with a six-point safety belt, along with the HANS (Head And Neck Support) system used in Formula 1 cars.
Although the car is designed for race participation, private owners may find owning a MINI CHALLENGE car a compelling prospect. However, the car will not be licensed for public roads and as such is expected to maintain its appeal among racing enthusiasts.
The MINI Challenge race series is fast gaining presence and popularity around the world. Since 2004, Challenge races have been staged in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and New Zealand. In 2008, MINI Australia will also hold a Challenge competition.
Race teams will receive the first MINI CHALLENGE cars from March 2008. Private customers not competing in the MINI Challenge series can expect deliveries of cars from June 2008. An order form for the car can be downloaded from 11 September 2007 at www.MINI.com/challenge-car and the expected price is €49,900 inc. VAT.
Ready for supreme performance: the new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer.
Powering the new racer is a specially developed John Cooper Works performance engine with a maximum output of 154 kW.
This is the same maximum output as the 2007 generation race car, but the advantage is in the increased torque and the mid-range response.
The new race car has a maximum torque of 280 Nm (up from 245 Nm in the 2007 car), thanks to the unique Overboost function. Overall weight has also been reduced by a meaningful 30 kg to a maximum of 1,150 kg (including driver allowance), while improved aerodynamics all round and numerous detail modifications to the chassis and suspension complete the line up of changes designed to add more smiles per lap.
The new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE accelerates to 100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds. And thanks to its special brake system, the car takes just 3.1 seconds (and 31 metres) to come to a dead stop from 100 km/h. Top speed is 240 km/h.
As with the 2007 MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE race car, the 2008 version boasts impressive lateral acceleration. The 2008 MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer has outstanding lateral acceleration meaning elevated abilities to hold high speed through corners as well as punch out of them with increased vigour.
A limited-slip differential is featured for the first time on a MINI CHALLENGE racer, to further enhance traction through tight corners at high speed.
MINI CHALLENGE: the popular one-make series.
Now in its fourth year internationally, the MINI CHALLENGE has become one of the most successful and popular one-make series in the world. The races, which have been held in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Holland have hit the headlines all over Europe and boast massive followings of fans at the track and on TV.
MINI CHALLENGE has also hit the headlines Down Under with a summer series completed in New Zealand and another planned for 2007/08.
The MINI CHALLENGE delivers a highly attractive blend of thrilling racing for both drivers and fans alike.
International MINI CHALLENGE series have featured both experienced drivers as well as up and coming drivers keen to make their mark in motorsport, having their first taste of racing cars with roofs as an entry into Sedan racing. In some markets, celebrity guest drivers with previous race form or a burning desire to compete have also joined the fray.
The big draw for all drivers is the level playing field. In MINI CHALLENGE, individual suspension set-up and driving skill are the sole differentiators. Other than suspension settings, all cars are technically identical.
MINI CHALLENGE racer: The heart of the beast.
Like the road-going MINI Cooper S, the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer boasts a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct petrol injection, churning out 154 kW with a maximum torque of 280 Nm.
Instant power and high-revs combined with muscular torque are the hallmarks of the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer's engine.
The road-going engine on which the race car motor is based has been awarded the coveted International Engine of the Year Award for its capacity class, by a group of eminent jurists.
The prestigious 2007 Engine of the Year Award amply attributed plaudits to the technology, efficiency and performance of the new engine.
The road-going MINI Cooper S was the first car in its class with a twin-scroll turbocharged engine. Direct petrol injection, weight-saving technology, a high rev limit, and state-of-the-art BMW Group engine technology makes the ideal basis for a race engine, enhancing the car's sporting qualities on both the road and the race track.
Less weight over the front axle allows a perfect balance giving faithful steering response on tight, twisting circuits.
For the race engine, maximum torque is up by 20 Nm over the production model, now peaking at 260 Nm or, with the help of the Overboost function, an even more significant 280 Nm for brief but ultra-powerful bursts of acceleration.
The improved torque delivers higher levels of responsiveness and a higher top speed, leading in turn to faster racing lap times.
Added to the weight saving and an optimised aero and suspension package, the new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer will be significantly faster and more fun to drive.
The suspension on the new racing MINI comes with adjustable damper units from KW Automotive, designed and built specifically for motorsport. Racers can adjust ground clearance, damper pressure (inbound and rebound stroke) as well as damper response specifically to meet the needs of each individual race track.
Power is transmitted to the front wheels through the regular six-speed manual gearbox, while a new design of 17-inch light alloy wheel rim, designed specifically for racing has been developed along with new race tyres.
The newly optimised aero package comprises a new high-performance motorsport front spoiler, an adjustable rear spoiler and a new rear diffuser, all of which work to cut lift, and increase downforce evenly on each axle, at high speed. For faster pit stops, all 2008 MINI CHALLENGE racers come with on-board air jacks to make wheel changes that much quicker.
Standard equipment also includes a safety cage welded firmly to the body of the car, a RECARO sports bucket seat combined with a six-point safety belt, and the HANS (Head And Neck Support) system carried over from Formula 1 to ensure effective protection of the driver's neck area.
"The new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer is one hot-shot track rocket," said Justin Hocevar, National Manager MINI.
"We can't wait to get our hands on the first cars to race them in Australia. We are very excited that the new Australian MINI CHALLENGE series will debut the second generation of race cars early next year.
"We know that, internationally, the 2007 MINI CHALLENGE series have seen some extremely tight and competitive racing, but in 2008 we move into a different league.
"The new 2008 cars are lighter, more powerful and have even better traction. This means faster lap times and more thrilling bouts between evenly matched cars. Drivers will have to be on their game in order to stay ahead of their rivals," Justin said.
"Stand by for some explosive action when the MINI CHALLENGE series hits the tracks."
MINI John Cooper Works Performance Engine:
Four-cylinder inline power unit with twin-scroll turbocharger and direct petrol injection, racing exhaust
Capacity: 1,598 cc Output: 154 kW
Max torque: 260 Nm (280Nm with overboost)
Power transmission: Front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Suspension: Independent suspension, MacPherson spring struts at the front, central-arm rear axle, EPAS (Electrical Power Assisted Steering), 17-inch aluminium rims in MINI CHALLENGE design, dampers adjustable both inbound and rebound (KW Automotive), adjustable spring strut support at the front, racing brakes, race-specific ABS, limited-slip differential, motorsport tyres
Body: John Cooper Works Aerodynamics Package with a new performance front spoiler, adjustable rear spoiler and rear diffuser, Air pressure jack system
Performance: Acceleration 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds, top speed 240 km/h, deceleration 100-0 km/h in 3.1 seconds
Safety: Rollcage welded into the car, six-point safety belt, automatic fire extinguisher, racing seat including Head And Neck Support (HANS) system
Weight: Max 1,150 kg including driver
(All technical data is preliminary.)