MINI reveals the john cooper works GP concept at IAA 2017


BMW unveils the modern racing essence of a MINI in the form of the ‘john cooper works GP’ concept at the 2017 IAA cars show in frankfurt. influenced by the automaker’s triumphs in the monte carlo rally exactly 50 years ago, this design study embodies dynamic flair, and the ultimate in driving fun — on both the road, and the race track.

all images © MINI

large air intakes and precisely moulded air deflectors dominate the front end of MINI’s ‘john cooper works GP’ concept, which cuts a low-to-the-road figure. crisply cut add-on elements frame its smooth silhouette, and highlight the track focus of the hot-hatch when viewed head-on. the space between the main body of the front end and the air deflectors further strengthens the car’s presence. the familiar colour contrasts of john cooper works models come in the form of the ‘black jack’ anthracite exterior paint finish – which shimmers between grey and black – and the accent colour ‘curbside’ matt red metallic.

at the centre of the front end, iconic design cues such as the elliptical headlights and hexagonal radiator grille sharpen the car’s identity. elements such as the powerdome with a prominent air scoop in the bonnet, the hexagonal honeycomb radiator grille, and air intakes in the front apron heighten the car’s sporting appearance. the lower edge of the large front apron reaches down close to the road, appearing to suck the front end towards the asphalt, while the car’s wide-track wheel arches offer top-level handling, and cornering at high speeds. another highlight is the front apron’s all-carbon-fibre construction, which reduces the car’s weight. the carbon matting is now directly visible and presented with a high-gloss paint finish, with a red hexagon graphic.

the interplay of narrowing windows and a rising shoulderline creates a wedge shape from the side, and gives the car the appearance of powering forward before it turns a wheel. the car’s number ‘0059’ refers to the year the classic mini was born: 1959. carbon-fibre side skirts provide the body with its lowest edge. 19-inch racetrack lightweight wheels in classical multi-spoke design underline the design study’s performance. contrasts in red metallic paint, with orange on the inside of the rims, and the GP logo highlight the wheel design. elsewhere, red metallic and orange bring neatly judged add personality to the exterior mirror bases and door handles.

the back of the ‘john cooper works GP’ concept picks up the striking use of forms in the front end and flanks. large surfaces are bordered by precisely formed air-channelling elements, and the positioning of the LED rear lights well to the outside of the rear underlines the car’s dynamic focus. sophisticated touches, such as the half-union jack on each side, represent a nod to the concept car’s british origins, while also providing a sporty, technical flourish. the prominent roof spoiler is a visual statement of intent and slots cleanly into the geometry of the side elements. the classical central twin tailpipes low down at the rear embody the john cooper works DNA to eye-catching effect.

the interior of the concept is stripped back to its core elements, with its roll cage joined on board by little more than a pair of low-mounted bucket seats with five-point belts, and a cleanly-designed instrument panel. the driver can shift gears using paddles on the steering wheel. the display and control concept features a digital instrument cluster and head-up display, placing the relevant information for the situation at hand directly in the driver’s eye-line, allowing absolute focus on the road. interaction between driver and car is otherwise digital, with a touch-control adjustment of suspension settings in the british-automaker’s familiar central instrument. the display here is now in large-screen format. traditional MINI toggle switches with a start / stop button provide a bridge between the digital and analogue worlds.

a rear seat bench, headliner and conventional door trim panels are absent, sacrificed in the interests of weight minimisation. instead, the surfaces between the elements of the roll cage and the rear compartment are trimmed in lightweight panels with textured details and a hexagonal pattern. the doors are opened using recessed grips with fabric straps, leaving the driver and passenger to clamber out through the roll cage in the usual racing car style. a new 3D knitting technique gives the seats a classy and modern feel, while red accents send out a visual statement. the bright, aluminium roll cage also stands apart clearly from the black 3D-printed parts in the doors and instrument panel. ‘curbside’ red metallic adds a colour accent to functional components, while ‘highspeed’ orange shades in details like the belt straps, inscriptions, and the stitching of the steering wheel. with 3D printing, and 3D knitting techniques, MINI is bringing technologies to the interior of the concept car which will enable both tool-free production and simple personalisation in the future.