Mini’s lineup currently includes the Mini SE electric hatchback, which isn’t exactly a performance weapon, and the 2021 Mini JCW GP, a hardcore track-oriented 300 horsepower, uh, performance weapon. But now the BMW-owned automaker is merging those two concepts with its first performance EV, the upcoming Mini John Cooper Works prototype teased in these officially released photos.
What’s The Easter Egg?
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the “eye-tricking camouflage” used here is composed of little stylised outlines of European racetracks. The track that leaves a giant infield blank spot all over the car is the Nürburgring, and that appears to be where these press photos were taken. It looks like the pattern also includes outlines of Circuit de la Sarthe, Monza, Silverstone, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and others. Can you identify them all?
Not The First Time Its Been Done
Other automakers have used a similar racetrack “camouflage” pattern to mask the stuff they’re working on before Mini did it with this cool multicolor wrap. Nearly a decade ago, McLaren P1 prototypes were running around with similar track-patterned camouflage.
Not Mini’s First EV
This new John Cooper Works EV will obviously not be the automaker’s first all-electric model, but we hope it will be the best. Back in 2009, a 161 km range Mini with a 35 kWh battery pack was sold in a limited leasing trial program for BMW. A 2020 Mini SE has a range of 177 km. That’s a decade with almost no progress in range, which is not great!
That means this new JCW EV better offer an absolutely shocking level of performance, or figure out a way to at least crack into the 322 km-of-range club.
The JCW EV prototype has been dubbed the GPE, at least internally at Mini, according to Autocar. That would suggest that they’re expecting to build something that sits alongside the Mini JCW GP track-focused performance model. The latest iteration, the 2021 Mini JCW GP, features a heavily tuned 2.0-litre twin-scroll single-turbo four-cylinder with 224 kW and 150 kg-ft of torque, all channeled through the front wheels with the help of an eight-speed “sport” automatic transmission. The GP is also upgraded with a Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential.
If Mini is indeed benchmarking the current GP for the upcoming GPE all-electric performance hatchback, then you can probably bet on a similar power level and much higher torque output, and some sort of torque-vectoring system to replace the limited-slip differential. Will it capture the supercharged enthusiast spirit of the first two generations of the Mini GP, or manage only to come close, like the 2021 JCW GP I drove this year?