For those unfamiliar with the John Cooper badge, it’s based on a real-life racing icon who changed the sport with his rear-engine chassis design. Piloted by driving legends such as Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and one Bruce McLaren, Cooper racing cars went on to win multiple titles.

John Cooper was also a close friend of Sir Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini, and convinced him to create a performance car called the Mini Cooper. The first
cars with this badge came out in September 1961.

Before Cooper’s passing in 2000, the carmaker licensed the John Cooper name to the company so that it could continue to build higher-performance versions of the cars inspired by the original Mini Cooper in 1961.

(Related: Check out the Mini Cooper S 5 Door 60 Years Edition)

The Fastest Mini Yet

Ever since then, the Mini John Cooper Works models that have rolled off the production lines have been some of the fastest models in the carmaker’s stable, epitomising Cooper’s pursuit for power and balance in equal measures.

The MINI John Cooper Works is the fastest MINI ever.
The MINI John Cooper Works is the fastest MINI ever.

The BMW Group recently unveiled the new, third-generation Mini John Cooper Works (JCW) GP for South-east Asia. It’s quite the doozy – and the fastest road-legal Mini ever, completing the century sprint in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 265kph. Under the hood is a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine featuring the latest Mini TwinPower Turbo technology.

What’s significant is the GP moniker that Mini has blessed the car with. Standing for Grand Prix, it’s only the third time the carmaker has applied the badge to its models. The first was back in 2006; the second car to wear this hallowed badge was released in 2013.

(Related: What does it take to run an electric racing series)

Built For The Winding Tracks

Minis are well known for their go-kart driving characteristic, and the Mini JCW GP takes this a level higher. The body has been lowered by 10mm while the width of the car has been slightly increased, resulting in a lower centre of gravity and better agility. With this, the JCW GP gobbles high-speed corners for breakfast without having to bat the brake pedal.

The engine of the MINI John Cooper Works bears the GP logo.
The engine of the MINI John Cooper Works bears the GP logo.

Outstanding performance requires a robust temperature management system, too. The Mini JCW GP boasts a cooling concept designed for it that’s based on racing expertise. A specially designed coolant module storage system and an electric fan work in tandem to maintain the engine’s optimum operating temperature at all times on the racetrack or the roads.

On the aesthetic front, the Mini JCW GP’s aggressive update matches its blistering performance. The double wing perched on the roof of the car is the first sign that this isn’t your regular Mini. It’s not just for show; the large roof spoiler is there to ensure the car is planted on the road, even at high speeds. The body has also undergone several tweaks to optimise its aerodynamic balance at speed while supplying air to the drive units and brake system to cool them at the same time.

The designers have also added liberal shades of red to the black exterior; the colour doesn’t boost the performance, but you have to admit it adds to the car’s masculine nature.

Mini’s engineers have outdone themselves with the third generation of the Mini JCW. Only 3,000 models have been made, of which only eight have made their way to Singapore. All eight have been reserved though, so you’ll have to be creative if you want to get your hands on one.