The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is considered to be the ultimate endurance test for human and machine. This year, a MINI John Cooper Works will compete in the 50th edition of the high-speed showdown taking place from 26-29 May at the 25.378 kilometre circuit, consisting of the Grand Prix circuit and legendary Nordschleife.
In September last year, the project was launched at Bulldog Racing in the Eifel region, just a few metres away from the Nordschleife. The base vehicle is a MINI John Cooper Works with the 4-cylinder turbo engine known from the MINI John Cooper Works Clubman and MINI John Cooper Works Countryman with 225 kW/306 hp and a maximum torque of 450 Nm. The 8-speed Steptronic gearbox taken from large-series-production featuring an integrated, mechanical differential lock with a locking effect of up to 70% ensures that the drive torque is converted into thrilling performance without any losses.
For racing purposes, the following modifications were made to the standard MINI John Cooper Works which go beyond SP3T class regulations:
A specially developed racing cage was installed.
The fuel tank volume was increased to 100 litres.
Far-reaching interventions in the aerodynamics, including an adjustable rear wing, a completely covered underbody, a rear diffuser and front splitter were made.
Weight was consistently reduced, e.g. by using Makrolon® window panes.
A model-specific racing suspension with adjustable rebound and compression damping was fitted.
All moving chassis and suspension parts were replaced with reinforced Uniball bearings.
A pneumatic lifting unit was installed.
The sports exhaust system was adapted with a racing catalytic converter.
Original BMW M Performance brake components were installed.
MINI in motorsport
Pat Moss made motorsport history in 1962, scoring the first international rally victory for MINI at the Tulip Rally. Her victory marked the beginning of the Classic Mini's unique success story in rally sport, with 3 overall Monte Carlo Rally wins in 1964 (Paddy Hopkirk), 1965 (Timo Mäkinen) and 1967 (Rauno Aaltonen).
This string of successes included six overall Dakar Rally victories in 2012 (Leonid Novitskiy), 2013 (Stéphane Peterhansel), 2014 (Nani Roma), 2015 (Nasser Al-Attiyah), 2020 (Carlos Sainz Sr.) and 2021 (Stéphane Peterhansel).
The MINI John Cooper Works racing car "Made in Nürburg" pays homage to the racing tradition of the MINI brand in the classic colour scheme of the 1960s racing cars in red / white.