THE FASTEST and most powerful MINI ever built for the road will go on sale next year - more than two years after it was first seen as a concept.
With a twin-turbo, four-cylinder engine pumping out more than 300hp, the new MINI John Cooper Works GP will be produced in a limited number of just 3,000 units for worldwide sale.
Few abbreviations generate as much anticipation and excitement among MINI enthusiasts as GP. The two letters are reserved for the brand's most powerful and exclusive model, conceived for the road, but born on the racetrack.
The concept was revealed for the first time in September 2017 at the Frankfurt motor show. With massive front and rear aprons, a striking roof spoiler and the extensive use of lightweight materials, the design study picked up where the previous John Cooper Works GP production models left off.
The last GP model was launched in 2012 and produced in a limited quantity of 2,000 vehicles. It has since become a much-coveted collector's item.
By comparison with next year's 300hp model, that car had a relatively ‘puny' 218hp, so the latest incarnation can be expected to comfortably outstrip its predecessor's 6.3 second 0-62mph time and 150mph top speed. It will also be significantly more expensive than the 2012 edition which sold for Â£28,790.
Serial production development of the new MINI John Cooper Works GP is now entering its most crucial phase, says the company - on the race track, where testing is set to be carried out in the coming months.
It will come with a suspension system developed specifically for this model and precisely adapted to the high output of the new engine.
It remains to be seen whether the production model will reflect all the design elements of the 2017 concept which was significantly wider than the current MINI. Teaser pictures of next year's GP which have been released by the company give little away, but the roof spoiler, at least, looks to be pretty similar to that fitted on the concept.
The track-focussed concept car's interior was pared back to the core elements with no rear seat, headlining or door trim, a roll cage with side protection bars and twin bucket seats.
Steering wheel gearshift paddles, a digital instrument cluster, head-up display and a stop-start button provided a nod to the latest technology, but the production model can be expected to boast more creature comforts and plenty of active safety features for road use.