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The MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by John Cooper Works

31st March 2021

The MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW is the new Safety Car for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series. As such, it connects the brand’s electrified future with the rich racing history of John Cooper Works. The car was created out of the new MINI Electric as part of an unprecedented collaboration between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA and the Formula E.

This extreme version of the MINI Electric has been developed as the Safety Car in the Formula E, so is clearly not intended for use on public roads. But it does reveal one of the directions MINI could take with the electrification of the JCW brand.

The exterior of the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW has been purpose-built for life on the track and represents the most dynamic interpretation yet of a MINI with all-electric power.  MINI worked closely with their colleagues at BMW Motorsport to develop the form of the wheel arches and front and rear aprons, 

At the front of the car, classic MINI icons such as the circular headlights and hexagonal radiator grille create the familiar, easily recognisable MINI face. At the same time, signature John Cooper Works elements, such as wheel arches adapted to the car’s track width and the deep front apron with additional front splitters to the left and right, enhance the sporting visuals of the front end. The blanked off “radiator grille” and MINI Electric logo point to the electric “heart” of the Safety Car.

As virtually no drive system cooling is required through the upper area of the grille, the front end is largely enclosed to aid aerodynamics. The only exceptions are the area below the grille and the eye-catching, almost squared-off apertures for brake cooling. The Safety Car’s white flashing lights are integrated harmoniously into the bonnet. Characteristic MINI bonnet stripes extend over the roof to the rear end.

The interior is stripped back to the absolute essentials; only the front seats remain. The driver’s area consists of a certified seat with six-point belt approved for both racing and road use, a steering wheel with minimalist-design carbon fibre impact absorber and a digital instrument cluster. The central information display makes way for a carbon fibre cover here to further reduce weight. The centre console houses the gearshift lever, handbrake and controls for the necessary signal lights – all in exposed carbon fibre.

The likewise pared-back carbon-fibre door panels with window and door openers contain cloth straps to make closing the doors easier. Another central feature of the interior is the welded-in roll cage, which maximises safety. And the remainder of the stripped-out interior structure is also painted in typical racing white (for functional reasons).

The drive system – also based on that found in the MINI Electric – produces 135 kW and 280 Nm (206 lb-ft), which enables the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW to sprint from 0-62mph (100km/h) in 6.7 seconds (standard model: 7.3 s) and from 0-37mph (59km/h) in 3.6 seconds (standard model: 3.9 s). Even more important for a Safety Car, though, are the mid-range figures. Here, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW showcases all the talents of its torque-rich electric drive system with single-speed transmission, enabling a 75mph (121km/h) time of 4.3 seconds (standard model: 4.6 s).

The MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW will come into use in Rome on 10 April 2021 at the second event (Race 3) of Formula E’s 2021 season. At the wheel will be official Formula E Safety Car driver Bruno Correia, as BMW i Andretti Motorsport drivers Maximilian Guenther (GER) and Jake Dennis (GBR) battle it out for victory in their BMW iFE.21 racers.


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