Australia will see the Mini Challenge one-make race series fire up in early 2008 with the star of the show set to be the new Mini John Cooper Works (JCW) Challenge car.
BMW released the details of the new works racer last week and we can now reveal the look as well as the substance behind the 2008 Mini Challenge race car. The 154Kw John Cooper Works engine remains but this time around the forced induction is via a turbo-charger rather than the previous super-charger.
Mini claim that torque is up from 245 Nm in the 2007 car 280 Nm while overall weight has been reduced by 30kg to an all-up weight (allowing for an average sized driver) of 1,150kg. Aerodynamics have been improved all round and numerous detail modifications to the chassis and suspension, including fitment of an LSD all result in a faster accelerating Mini with improved traction and handling.
The new MINI JCW Challenge accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds and thanks to some serious brake upgrading will decelerate from 100-0km/h in just 3.1 seconds. A top speed of 240km/h is achievable given a long enough straight.
Right hand drive cars will be built in the UK by Mini before being shipped to Germany to be fitted out as race cars. From there they will head to Australia for the 2008 season debut round in early 2008.
The Mini Challenge series attracts a variety of drivers from experienced race drivers to those who have the cash but not necessarily the talent. Designed to showcase driver talent it is the aim of the series to ensure that all cars are identical. About the only area where tuning is allowed is in the settings of the adjustable â€œcontrolâ€ dampers. The close nature of the racing has already resulted in a legion of fans across Europe.
The MINI JCW Challenge car is due to make its first public appearance at this years Frankfurt Motor Show.
MINI JCW Challenge vital statistics can be viewed on the next page.
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
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