GP press reviews

(following on from the same Adria Raceway event where Paul Mullett tested and wrote a great review)

Some UK press reviews reported in this MINI2 thread, from News Of The World and MSN Cars – here’s a few words from the more positive MSN write-up:
The funky GP, or to give it its ridiculous full moniker, the ‘Mini Cooper S featuring the John Cooper Works GP Kit’, raises a few eyebrows and will not to be everyone’s taste. Carbon fibre rear wing, comprehensive body kit, the limited edition model number blazoned on the roof and the red door mirrors all shout ‘look at me’.
It all looks very track-day focussed but that’s far from the full story. Certainly it works well on the circuit … The GP turns in instantly and can be made to track accurately from clipping point to apex and out again.
The ‘Mini Cooper S featuring the John Cooper Works GP Kit’ isn’t the raw performance car, the Mini version of a 911GT3, that some had hoped for. Instead it is a more comfortable, more useable compromise but a car that feels rather special for all that.

Today another UK press review from Fifth Gear:
The Mini GP – if you’ll excuse the abbreviation – is the fastest production Mini ever to roll out of a Mini factory (the former Rover factory in Cowley, Oxford, if you’re interested). With 214bhp it develops four more horsepower than the hitherto range-topper, the John Cooper Works version of Mini’s Cooper S, thanks to some modifications to the supercharged 1.6-litre engine’s ECU and intercooler, allowing cooler and therefore denser, more combustible air into the engine.
In GP form, the Mini feels even more vibrant than the regular Cooper S. Maybe it’s the reduction in sound deadening, perhaps it’s the weight loss and perhaps (just perhaps), it’s the four extra horsepower, but the GP feels tangibly more alert than a regular Cooper S.
On the track, the Mini GP turns-in with impressive willingness and resists understeer tenaciously as you attack corners, while its steering is superbly direct, responsive and well weighted. The GP’s less flawless on corner exit as you get back on the gas though: despite a limited-slip differential that prevents the inside wheel spinning, there’s some torque steer and scrabble as the 205/40 R18 (runflat) tyres struggle to deliver all of the Mini GP’s power and 184lb.ft of torque to the track. There’s also a bit of brake fade under heavy circuit use, even though the lightweight, unique alloys are engineered to duct some air to the discs [?].
The ride’s a tad unsettled on bumpy roads, but the feeling of smallness, precision and agility remains. Brake fade isn’t an issue, the steering feeds back plenty of road nuances and the torque steer is only a minor distraction from the supercharger’s energetic whine and the chassis’ general willingness.

And from UK Channel 4:
Simply put, the Mini GP is the best-sorted Mini ever to trundle out of the Oxford factory.
… The exterior has enough unique touches to telegraph the fact that this is one special Mini, too. The Thunder Blue paintwork, for example, won’t feature on any other Mini. And to add some contrast the roof is painted silver and the mirror caps are red.
GP decals are scattered around the place and the car’s individual number is written above the driver’s door. The 18″ alloys are unique, too, although their design risks crossing the line between a factory-fit look and the tacky end of aftermarket.
The bumpers and sills are extended to aid aerodynamics and a quite ludicrous carbon-fibre spoiler has been attached to the boot lid. In the cabin …

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