This is the third two-seat Mini ‘GP’, one for each generation of the car. I was amused by the first and disappointed by the second. But the pendulum, on paper at least, appears to have swung back the other way. It has over 300bhp, a strut brace, bespoke spring and damper settings, strengthened suspension towers, a widened track, forged wheels and myriad other detail changes. A proper job, in other words. Only 3000 will be built, with 575 staying in the UK.
Hmm. There aren’t many cars I’ve driven of late with a greater reality gap between theory and practice. Despite the fact that it is built in Britain, I’d be staggered if it had spent so much as a minute being developed on British roads. It tramlines, it torque steers, the steering has no proper feel and the ride varies between poor and terrible.
The engine is strong but the eight-speed automatic gearbox through which it directs its considerable power is utterly unsuited to this kind of car. If you drive it as fast as you sensibly can, you will note it has excellent grip and decent balance too, but the whole thing is so uncomfortable and unruly you may not wish to bother.
Perhaps it’s great on the track, I don’t know, but I do know you’d not have much fun getting there or back. The simple truth is that a Ford Fiesta ST is far more fun, perfectly usable as a daily driver and is a substantial five-figure sum cheaper.
Mini John Cooper Works GP3 statistics
- Price £35,345
- Engine 2.0 litres, 4 cylinders, turbo
- Power 302bhp at 5000rpm
- Weight 1255kg
- Power to weight 241bhp per tonne
- Transmission eight-speed auto, front-wheel drive
- 0-60mph 5.2sec
- Top speed 164mph
- Economy 38.7mpg
- CO2 167g/km
- Verdict Get a Fiesta