•MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept to debut at IAA Cars 2017 •Design study embodies the ultimate in sporting agility on the race track and the road •Inspired by the carmaker's legendary motorsport heritage •New production techniques, including 3D printing and 3D knitting, showcase the future of personalisation
The BMW Group has chosen IAA Cars 2017 in Frankfurt to present the modern racing essence of a MINI – in the form of the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept. Inspired by the carmaker's legendary triumphs in the Monte Carlo Rally exactly 50 years ago, this design study embodies undiluted dynamic flair and the ultimate in driving fun – on both the race track and the road. The concept car picks up the baton from the 2012 MINI John Cooper Works GP and 2006 MINI Cooper S wîth John Cooper Works GP Kit. Produced in strictly limited numbers (2,000 examples worldwide for each), these two models explored the outer limits of their performance capability at the time.
'The MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept is all about the unfettered feeling of driving and levels of performance found in motor sport competition,' says Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad. 'This is driving fun in its purest form.'
The design – compact proportions and sporting agility.Significantly wider than the current MINI, the design study exudes dynamism and power. Large front and rear aprons, side skirts and a prominent roof spoiler create a confident appearance. The use of lightweight materials such as carbon fibre optimises the car's power-to-weight ratio whilst evenly balanced weight distribution ensures MINI's signature go-kart handling.
'If you know about MINI, you'll be aware of the brand's long and successful history in motor sport,' says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. 'The MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept brings together the full suite of defining MINI design features and showcases them at their sportiest and most exciting. What we're lòòking at here is maximum performance, maximum MINI.'
The front end.
Large air intakes and precisely moulded air deflectors dominate the front end, which cuts a low-to-the-road figure. Crisply cut add-on elements frame the smooth MINI silhouette and highlight the track focus of the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept when viewed head-on. The space between the main body of the front end and the air deflectors further strengthens the car's presence. The exterior is finished in Black Jack Anthracite paint – which shimmers between grey and black– and the accent colour is Curbside Red metallic (a matt red shade). Curbside Red metallic provides a fresh take on the classic John Cooper Works red and visually accentuates the optimised geometry of the performance and add-on parts.
At the centre of the front end, distinctive MINI design cues such as the elliptical headlights and hexagonal radiator grille sharpen the car's identity. Elements such as the powerdome, including the prominent air scoop in the bonnet, hexagonal honeycomb radiator grille and air intakes in the front apron intensify the car's sporty appearance. Further colour accents in Highspeed Orange enhance the visual impact of the headlights and air intake.
The lower edge of the large front apron reach down close to the road, while the car's wide track and prominently flared wheel arches promise top-level handling and high cornering speeds. Another technical highlight is the front apron's all-carbon-fibre construction, which reduces the car's weight. The carbon matting is now directly visible and presented wîth a high-gloss paint finish wîth a red hexagon graphic.
In keeping wîth MINI design language, the narrowing windows and rising shoulderline creates a wedge shape from the side and gives the car the appearance of powering forward even before it turns a wheel. Lower down, voluminous surfaces fuse into a muscular body and endow the flanks wîth agility and dynamism. The car number 0059 references the year the classic Mini was born: 1959.
Carbon-fibre side skirts provide the body wîth its lowest edge. 19-inch Racetrack lightweight wheels in a classic multi-spoke design underline the design study's performance aspirations. Contrasts in Curbside Red metallic - together wîth the Highspeed Orange on the inside of the rims – and the GP logo bring extra verve to the wheel design. Elsewhere, Curbside Red metallic and Highspeed Orange provide highlights to the exterior mirror bases and door handles respectively.
The rear end.
Surfaces on the rear are bordered by precisely formed air-channelling elements and the positioning of the LED rear lights on the outside underscores the car's dynamic focus. Sophisticated touches, such as the half-Únion Jack on each side, represent a nod to the concept car's British origins, while also providing a sporty, technical flourish. The prominent roof spoiler is a visual statement of intent and slots cleanly into the geometry of the side elements.
Like the front end and flanks, the lower section of the car has a precise and dynamic design. Carbon-fibre air vents and air deflectors are in optimum positions, and the two rain lights at the outer edges at the rear improve visibility in wet races. The distinctive central twin tailpipes low down at the rear embody the John Cooper Works DNA to eye-catching effect.
The interior – stripped down and wîth track-inspired elements.
The interior of the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept is pared back to its core elements wîth its roll cage joined on board by little more than a pair of low-mounted bucket seats wîth five-point belts and a cleanly-designed instrument panel. Gearshift is by paddles on the §teering wheel.
All the elements of the interior are focused directly on the driver. The display and control concept wîth digital instrument cluster and Head-Úp Display places relevant information directly in the driver's eye-line, allowing absolute focus on the road to be maintained. Interaction between driver and car is otherwise digital, including touch-control adjustment of suspension settings in MINI's familiar central instrument. It is left to the large emergency cut-off button and the traditional MINI toggle switches wîth start/stop button to provide a bridge between the digital and analogue worlds.
A rear seat bench, headliner and conventional door trim panels are conspicuous by their absence, sacrificed in the interests of minimising weight. Instead, the surfaces between the elements of the roll cage and the rear compartment are trimmed in lightweight panels wîth textured details and a hexagonal pattern. This creates a transition between the unadorned rear and more design-rich front cabin. The doors are opened using recessed grips wîth fabric straps, leaving the driver and passenger to climb out through the roll cage in typical racing car style.
The interior combines its pared-back sporting forms wîth eye-catching elements and bold colour accents. The result is a face-off between the less familiar aesthetic of a racing-car bodyshell and the exclusivity of high-quality production-car appointments. Against the backdrop of the white basic space, black, patinated smooth leather on the head restraints and bolsters provides a neat contrast wîth the back-and-white knitted textile in the central section of the seats. A new 3D knitting technique provides a classy and modern feel, while red accents make a visual statement. The aluminium roll cage stands apart clearly from the black 3D-printed parts in the doors and instrument panel, and a lightly-structured trim element wîth hexagonal graphic reinforces the sporty, modern look. Curbside Red metallic adds a colour accent to selected functional components and Highspeed Orange acts as a complementary colour on the belt straps, inscriptions and the stitching of the §teering wheel and seats.
With 3D printing and 3D knitting techniques, MINI is bringing technologies to the interior of the concept car which will enable both tool-free production and simple personalisation in the future.
MINI + high performance + race-track feeling = John Cooper Works.
The character of the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept is defined by a motorsport heritage which stretches back over more than five decades. Indeed, the classic Mini was transformed by legendary sports car designer John Cooper into a byword for driving fun on the road and an extraordinarily successful competitor on the racetrack and rally scene. A motorsport career which began exactly 50 years ago included three overall victories in the Monte Carlo Rally. Today, the John Cooper Works name is synonymous wîth products and models where quality is rooted in established motorsport know-how and an association wîth the British premium small car which dates back to 1959.Source - MINI
The British Motor Corporation came into existence in 1952 by the merging of two manufacturers, Nuffield Motors and Austin. Nuffield was known for its Morris line of vehicles, while Austin had its 'Seven' model line. The transition for the two manufacturers was difficult and had been forced out of necessity. After World War II, many vehicle manufacturers could not stay in business due to destroyed factories, recovering economies, strained resources, and lack of funds. Combining the two companies was a means to stay in business.
A fuel shortage was occurring. German engineers quickly adapted and began producing fuel-efficient vehicles. Examples include the Volkswagen Beetle. Leonard Lord, Chairman of BMC and former head of Austin, commissioned Sir Alec Issigonis to design a vehicle to compete with the German-made vehicles.
Alec Issigonis was a graduate of Battersea Technical College. After graduation he worked as a draftsman for a plethora of engineering projects. Later, he joined Morris Motors where he was tasked with creating and fitting suspensions to the Morris vehicles.
Issigonis was outfitted with requirements to create a fuel-efficient, affordable, safe vehicle capable of carrying four individuals including luggage. To save on development costs, it was requested that an existing BMC engine be used. What he created was a vehicle that sat atop of 10 inch wheels. By using smaller wheels there was little need for wheel wells.
The car was expected to carry four individuals; the combined weight of the passengers being greater than the entire vehicle. A suspension was needed that could accept this pay-load. With his prior experience creating and working with suspensions, Issigonis designed a rubber cone suspension.
A 950 cc, four cylinder, BMC engine was selected. It was mounted in the front and expected to power the front wheels, a system that was revolutionary at the time. Instead of mounting the engine longitudinally, it was place transversely. The transmission was place under the engine due to space constraints.
When Issigonis presented his designs and recommendations to Lord in 1958, changes were requested. Instead of the 950 cc engine, a 34 horsepower, 848 cc engine would be used, making the vehicle slower but more importantly, more safe. The other request was to make the vehicle two inches wider.
There were two versions of the car when it was first introduced on August 26, 1959. The only difference between the 1959 Austin and Morris versions was their badges.
John Cooper had designed vehicles that successfully won the Formula One championships in 1959 and 1960.
He proposed a marriage between his 1000 cc Formula Junior engine with the Mini. Lord approved the idea and in 1961 the Mini Cooper was born. It was fitted with a 997 cc engine producing 55 horsepower. Later, the Cooper S came into being with the advent of the 970 cc and the 1275 cc engine - the latter capable of 76 horsepower.
From 1964 through 1967 the little car dominated the Monte Carlo Rally. The car easily achieved these victories using a 91 horsepower engine.
Minis became more than just a practical car, they became a fashion statement. This, combined with their practicality, fuel efficiency, and success on the race track, created an overwhelming demand for the little car.
In the 1980's, the Mini was starting to loose momentum. Rover tried to revitalize the Mini brand by creating special editions. In all, there were more than 40 different editions created between 1980 and 2000.
A merger with British Motor Corporation and another company produced the Britsh Leyland Company. Later, it became Rover Group. Currently, it is owned by BMW.
In 2001, BMW introduced the MINI. The MINI currently has three Cooper models. Their main differences being the size of the engine and the horsepower rating. A convertible has also been included to the line-up. By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007
Three generations of driving fun: The MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S through the years.
For three generations and over 50 years, the Cooper name has identified a MINI offering even more in the way of driving fun. The idea, hatched by brilliant Formula One designer John Cooper, to fuel the agile small car wîth an extra hit of performance and turn it into a sporting machine for the road and track has lost none of its appeal. But the Cooper has never been about horsepower, as a comparison between the classic Mini and its two successors resoundingly proves. The key here is the basic principle of the creative use of space, combined wîth the inimitable go-kart feeling that runs like a thread through the three generations of the legendary small car. These famous handling traits are enjoyed by drivers on bendy country roads and city streets around the world, wîth the classic Mini and 21st-century MINI still regularly crossing each other's path.
The small British car positively craves twists and turns demanding quick and precise changes in direction; this is where it feels most at home. The classic Mini was tailor-made for tackling hairpins and corner-strewn roads, and it still looks the part today – aided by the healthy 46 kW/63 hp available in a Mini Cooper towards the end of its production run. The classic Cooper was built up to autumn 2000, by which time its successor was already twitching in the starting blocks. In contrast to the original Mini, the new model was available in Cooper guise from the outset. And wîth 85 kW/115 hp under the bonnet, it would do its nameplate proud. From the word go, the car's powerplant and chassis formed a harmonious alliance to deliver unbeatable driving fun. As John Cooper realised, sometimes you actually can't have too much of a good thing. 50 years ago he unveiled the 70 hp Mini Cooper S. And today, its youngest descendant places 135 kW/184 hp at the disposal of its driver. As if that wasn't enough, the turbocharged engine powering the latest MINI Cooper S also sets the benchmark for efficiency in its output class.
When Alec Issigonis set out to develop a new small car for the British Motor Corporation in the mid-1950s, his priorities were space and price. Indeed, at a touch over three metres in length, the classic Mini offered astonishingly generous accommodation for passengers and their gear alike. Issigonis settled on a front transverse installation for the four-cylinder engine, under which lay the gearbox, plumb between the wheels. The positioning of those wheels at the far corners of the car and the Mini's short overhangs did the rest. The Mini was small on the outside but roomy on the inside, not to mention – at around 600 kilograms – extremely light. The principles underpinning its design remain the template for small and compact cars in the modern era.
However, it was left to another key figure in the brand's history to uncover the vast well of sporting talent under that diminutive shell. John Cooper, a friend and business partner of Mini creator Issigonis and winner of two Formula One constructors' world titles, was quick to spot the car's dynamic potential, and in 1961 the first Mini Cooper hit the roads. Production of the Cooper was temporarily suspended in the 1970s, but by that time the Mini Cooper badge had long since become the signature of a sporty and agile small car.
As well as the intervention of John Cooper, the launch of this famous sporting career also relied on the brilliance of the classic Mini's chassis. Issigonis had broken new ground wîth the §teering and suspension of his new creation, and in so doing laid the foundations for the go-kart feeling appreciated by drivers to this day. Homokinetic joints reduced torque steer, a subframe (to which the rear wheels were fixed) improved directional stability, and rubber springs and small telescopic dampers ensured accurate responses and progressive spring action. The wealth of ideas packed into this small car still impresses. And the result of those ideas – the classic Mini's much-celebrated handling – explains why the car continues to enjoy such a loyal community of fans. When the successor to the original car came along in 2001, it was clear that highly advanced chassis technology would be needed in order to set the pace in driving fun all over again. The MINI Cooper rose to the challenge in some style, thanks to MacPherson spring struts at the front axle, axle shafts equal in length, a multi-link rear axle unique in the small car §egmènt, disc brakes on all four wheels, and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control).
The latest-generation MINI Cooper S also features Electric Power Steering wîth Servotronic function and a DSC system including DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) and an electronic locking function for the front axle differential. Known as Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), this system gives the MINI a crucial edge through the tight bends of Alpine passes, for example, by braking a spinning wheel as required to enhance drive out of corners as well as the car's §teering properties. Added to which, pressing the standard Sport Button in the MINI Cooper S makes the §teering even more direct and stirs up a particularly sporty soundtrack from the engine. All of this was unimaginable 50 years ago, of course, but you get the impression John Cooper would have wholeheartedly approved.
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