This GP Concept will be shown next week at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It is much wider than the current MINI hatchback, lower, more nimble and athletic, with prominent side skirts, a roof spoiler and have front and rear aprons fitted. Using plenty of lightweight carbon-fibre, this GP Concept delivers “MINI’s signature go-kart feeling”. The number 0059, refers to the year the original Mini made its debut.
When viewed head-on, the front end seems almost wholly constructed of expanded mesh, with a dominant six-sided MINI grille set above a near full-width air intake divided into three sections. ‘Curbside Red Metallic’ highlights pick out the aerodynamic blades that clearly hint at the race track being this MINI’s intended domain and contrast with the ‘Black Jack Anthracite’ paint used elsewhere – this flicks from black to grey depending on your angle of view.
Twin round headlights serve as key MINI recognition points, with ‘Highspeed Orange’ highlights matching a corresponding flash across the bonnet. More subtle is the prominent air scoop in the bonnet top. A technical touch that enthusiasts will appreciate is that the carbon-fibre weave is deliberately visible on carbon-fibre elements.
The overall shape follows modern MINI tradition, with narrowing windows and a rising shoulder line. A low ground clearance is emphasised by deep carbon-fibre side skirts, and the wheelarches are filled by 19-inch alloys, finished to match the red-and-orange highlights seen on the exterior mirror bases and door handles.
The motorsport theme continues at the rear, with aerodynamic refinement implied by free-floating blades on the car’s flanks, mirroring those that surround the front wheels. Matching those of the recently unveiled MINI Electric Concept, the rear LED headlamps each bear a half Union Jack motif, and additional LED ‘rain lamps’ are integrated into a diffuser that surrounds twin centrally mounted exhaust outlets. The whole thing is crowned with an elaborate rear spoiler that follows the lines of those air-channeling side elements.
In true motorsport style, the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept interior is pared back to the bare race-track necessities. Nestling within an elaborately sculpted roll cage is a pair of bucket seats, mounted low and fitted with five-point seatbelts.
Ahead of the driver, a head-up display shares information duty with the digital instrument cluster, while the MINI ‘central instrument’ is home to a large-screen display with one-touch adjustment of the GP’s suspension settings. It’s flanked by more conventional controls for engine start-stop and and large emergency cut-off button.
The GP clearly isn’t a car for back-seat drivers – there’s little interior trim behind the front seats. Lightweight panels between the roll cage and interior surfaces complete the look with a finish that matches the outside of the car. Minimalist recessed grips with fabric straps take the place of door handles, while interior paintwork in white contrasts with black patinated leather on the seats. Extra visual appeal is lent by highlights in orange and red, matching the MINI’s wheels and other exterior parts.