Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • 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

  • GP.

  • 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.

There's something new for hot hatch fans and Mini devotees alike to get excited about this

Subtitles and vocabulary

Click the word to look it up Click the word to find further inforamtion about it