When MINI asked us if we wanted to flog one of the 451 U.S.-bound MINI Cooper S Works GP models around Willow Springs raceway in California, who were we to refuse?
This new limited edition car is the ultimate factory tuner model of the MINI. The 2006 MINI GP has been produced in a very limited run of 2000 worldwide, with barely 20 percent of those making it to U.S. shores.
We drove #238. Like all MINI GPs, ours featured the changes that make this a unique performer. Not only does the car have a supercharged engine producing 214 horsepower, helped by a smaller ratio pulley than the standard MINI Cooper S, optimization of the engine computer, and a factory free-flow exhaust, but the back seat has been removed and other weight-reducing measures have been taken including aluminum rear control arms and removal of sound-deadening options. There is even an air conditioning delete option, showing just how seriously MINI is at attracting true performance enthusiasts.
MINI didn’t stop at adding power and reducing weight, however. The car also has the full John Cooper Works brake system and tuned suspension. This makes the car not only quick, but very nimble and capable on the track, while still remaining streetable.
With 214 horsepower, a 0-60 mph time of 6 and change, and a top speed of over 140 mph, this limited edition bumps just north of $30,000, but there is little else on the market at that price range that combines the performance, handling, and pure driving fun of the MINI Cooper S Works GP.
Watch and listen as we take the MINI GP through its paces on the track. We’re still smiling.
You can also watch the MINI GP Video at YouTube.