MINI JCW Challenge Revealed

Press Release

MINI CHALLENGE will burst into life in Australia in early 2008 and the star of the one-make race series will be the new generation MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE car. The technical and styling features of the 2008 car are revealed for the first time today. Drawing on four seasons of high-octane, nail-bitingly close racing, the 2008 MINI CHALLENGE race car will again feature a 154 kW John Cooper Works engine, but in this new guise, induction is boosted by a turbocharger rather than a supercharger.

The new car offers even more torque, faster acceleration, better power-to-weight ratio, a higher top speed, faster lateral acceleration and improved traction. For spectators this means even greater excitement, more dramatic on-track action and even more thrilling duels from start to finish.

The first in the metal meeting of the new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE and an adoring public will be at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The first racers to bite tarmac will be headed to Australia for the start of the debut MINI CHALLENGE Series in early 2008. These right-hand drive cars will be assembled in the UK at the MINI factory at Plant Oxford before being shipped to Germany to be built into race car. The new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racers will be delivered to customers ready to roll, complete with full safety and enhanced performance features built-in.

Ready for supreme performance: the new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer.

Powering the new racer is a specially developed John Cooper Works performance engine with a maximum output of 154 kW. This is the same maximum output as the 2007 generation race car, but the advantage is in the increased torque and the mid-range response.

The new race car has a maximum torque of 280 Nm (up from 245 Nm in the 2007 car), thanks to the unique Overboost function. Overall weight has also been reduced by a meaningful 30 kg to a maximum of 1,150 kg (including driver allowance), while improved aerodynamics all round and numerous detail modifications to the chassis and suspension complete the line up of changes designed to add more smiles per lap.

The new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE accelerates to 100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds. And thanks to its special brake system, the car takes just 3.1 seconds (and 31 metres) to come to a dead stop from 100 km/h. Top speed is 240 km/h.

As with the 2007 MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE race car, the 2008 version boasts impressive lateral acceleration. The 2008 MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer has outstanding lateral acceleration meaning elevated abilities to hold high speed through corners as well as punch out of them with increased vigour.

A limited-slip differential is featured for the first time on a MINI CHALLENGE racer, to further enhance traction through tight corners at high speed.

MINI CHALLENGE: the popular one-make series.

Now in its fourth year internationally, the MINI CHALLENGE has become one of the most successful and popular one-make series in the world. The races, which have been held in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Holland have hit the headlines all over Europe and boast massive followings of fans at the track and on TV.

MINI CHALLENGE has also hit the headlines Down Under with a summer series completed in New Zealand and another planned for 2007/08. The MINI CHALLENGE delivers a highly attractive blend of thrilling racing for both drivers and fans alike.

International MINI CHALLENGE series have featured both experienced drivers as well as up and coming drivers keen to make their mark in motorsport, having their first taste of racing cars with roofs as an entry into Sedan racing. In some markets, celebrity guest drivers with previous race form or a burning desire to compete have also joined the fray.

The big draw for all drivers is the level playing field. In MINI CHALLENGE, individual suspension set-up and driving skill are the sole differentiators. Other than suspension settings, all cars are technically identical.

MINI CHALLENGE racer: The heart of the beast.

Like the road-going MINI Cooper S, the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer boasts a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct petrol injection, churning out 154 kW with a maximum torque of 280 Nm.

Instant power and high-revs combined with muscular torque are the hallmarks of the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer’s engine. The road-going engine on which the race car motor is based has been awarded the coveted International Engine of the Year Award for its capacity class, by a group of eminent jurists. The prestigious 2007 Engine of the Year Award amply attributed plaudits to the technology, efficiency and performance of the new engine.

The road-going MINI Cooper S was the first car in its class with a twin-scroll turbocharged engine. Direct petrol injection, weight-saving technology, a high rev limit, and state-of-the-art BMW Group engine technology makes the ideal basis for a race engine, enhancing the car’s sporting qualities on both the road and the race track. Less weight over the front axle allows a perfect balance giving faithful steering response on tight, twisting circuits.

For the race engine, maximum torque is up by 20 Nm over the production model, now peaking at 260 Nm or, with the help of the Overboost function, an even more significant 280 Nm for brief but ultra-powerful bursts of acceleration. The improved torque delivers higher levels of responsiveness and a higher top speed, leading in turn to faster racing lap times.

Added to the weight saving and an optimised aero and suspension package, the new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer will be significantly faster and more fun to drive.

The suspension on the new racing MINI comes with adjustable damper units from KW Automotive, designed and built specifically for motorsport. Racers can adjust ground clearance, damper pressure (inbound and rebound stroke) as well as damper response specifically to meet the needs of each individual race track.

Power is transmitted to the front wheels through the regular six-speed manual gearbox, while a new design of 17-inch light alloy wheel rim, designed specifically for racing has been developed along with new race tyres.

The newly optimised aero package comprises a new high-performance motorsport front spoiler, an adjustable rear spoiler and a new rear diffuser, all of which work to cut lift, and increase downforce evenly on each axle, at high speed. For faster pit stops, all 2008 MINI CHALLENGE racers come with on-board air jacks to make wheel changes that much quicker.

Standard equipment also includes a safety cage welded firmly to the body of the car, a RECARO sports bucket seat combined with a six-point safety belt, and the HANS (Head And Neck Support) system carried over from Formula 1 to ensure effective protection of the driver’s neck area.

“The new MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racer is one hot-shot track rocket,” said Justin Hocevar, National Manager MINI. “We can’t wait to get our hands on the first cars to race them in Australia. We are very excited that the new Australian MINI CHALLENGE series will debut the second generation of race cars early next year. We know that, internationally, the 2007 MINI CHALLENGE series have seen some extremely tight and competitive racing, but in 2008 we move into a different league. The new 2008 cars are lighter, more powerful and have even better traction. This means faster lap times and more thrilling bouts between evenly matched cars. Drivers will have to be on their game in order to stay ahead of their rivals,” Justin said. “Stand by for some explosive action when the MINI CHALLENGE series hits the tracks.”

* MINI John Cooper Works Performance Engine: Four-cylinder inline power unit with twin-scroll turbocharger and direct petrol injection, racing exhaust
* Capacity: 1,598 cc Output: 154 kW
* Max torque: 260 Nm (280Nm with overboost)
* Power transmission: Front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
* Suspension: Independent suspension, MacPherson spring struts at the front, central-arm rear axle, EPAS (Electrical Power Assisted Steering), 17-inch aluminium rims in MINI CHALLENGE design, dampers adjustable both inbound and rebound (KW Automotive), adjustable spring strut support at the front, racing brakes, race-specific ABS, limited-slip differential, motorsport tyres
* Body: John Cooper Works Aerodynamics Package with a new performance front spoiler, adjustable rear spoiler and rear diffuser, Air pressure jack system
* Performance: Acceleration 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds,
* top speed 240 km/h, deceleration 100-0 km/h in 3.1 seconds
* (31 metres)
* Safety: Rollcage welded into the car, six-point safety belt, automatic fire extinguisher, racing seat including Head And Neck Support (HANS) system
* Weight: Max 1,150 kg including driver

(All technical data is preliminary.)

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