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There's something new for hot hatch fans and Mini devotees alike to get excited about this
month, and this is it. It's the Mini John Cooper Works GP, the ultimate Mini. If you
remember the last one, you probably remember that it was a bit of a gem, easily the best-handling
Mini of that generation.
This car has quite a lot to live up to, but all the signs are good. Like it did last time
around, it's dropped down the rear seats to save weight. There are strut braces between
the front and the rear turrets to stiffen up the shell. There's lower, stiffer, fully-adjustable
coilover suspension at the front and back, special sticky Kumho tyres. The performance
claims are pretty strong; it has 215 horsepower.
They claim it'll do 62 mph in about 6.3 seconds, and that's enough, they say, to make this
the fastest Mini they've ever made. I'm not sure it's the fastest Mini that you can buy.
The odds-on contender for that title is a kit car made, in some cases, in the north east
of England. It's the ZCars Mini Busa. Although built around the shell of an original Mini,
this madcap creation could hardly be more different from Issigonis' design.
It's got a tubular construction, fibreglass panels, inboard pushrod suspension, and the
tyres from a Formula Renault single-seater. It weighs just over 500 kilos and it's powered
by a Suzuki Hayabusa superbike engine, bolted a few inches behind the drivers' head and
sending 194 horsepower to the rear wheels.
To drive, the Mini Busa is every bit as crazy as all that would imply. It's fast, sure,
but it demands total commitment from its driver zipping through the gears like lightning.
At the same time, it's luring you in with its high grip levels and big cornering speeds.
It'll really make you sweat with its unforgiving limit handling. It's a proper little handful,
in other words. Deafeningly noisy, unruly, but massive fun if you're unhinged enough
to really take it on.
We pitted the two fast Minis against the road test timing gear to find out exactly how much
separates them on sheer speed. We measured them on 0-to-100 standing start acceleration
and over a flying lap of our dry handling circuit. The results proved that the Mini
Busa is closer on performance to an Aston Martin V12 Vantage than it is the new Mini
The kit car's lap time was a full second quicker than the production cars and that was while
the former was still getting quicker. A perfect lap in it might have even been as quick, we
suspect, as that of a current Porsche 911 Carrera or even
a Lotus Evora S.
It's a Mini that's as fast as a supercar and you can buy all the bits you need to build
it for about £8000. Second hand examples of these come up through ZCars for less than
£20,000, and you can have one made to your own specification for less than £40,000,
which is obviously a lot more than the £29,000 you'll pay for a new Mini GP. Truth is the
cars are pulls apart.
They might share a name, but this is one you can use every day, drive to work if you want
to. This one is an experience you'll want to savour for special occasions when you're
feeling particularly brave. It's in a completely different league on excitement and performance
and all of that.
At the end of your track day, you'll be very glad indeed that you can wheel that one into
the back of a trailer and drive home in something a little bit more sensible, which is what
I'm about to do in this now that I've had my fun in that one.
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World's fastest Minis - Mini JCW GP vs ZCars Mini Busa - autocar.co.uk

3088 Folder Collection
李致遠 published on August 16, 2015    Alvin He translated    Kristi Yang reviewed
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