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Cooper JCW races in with half-century

by CAR magazine on 15/06/2009

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Legends in the motoring world, Sir Alex Issigonis and John Cooper both reached milestone achievements in 1959 when the former’s concept for a revolutionary small car was launched and the latter pioneered race-winning mid-engined Formula One cars. Fifty years on, they’re both being honoured with a limited edition Mini – the JCW World Championship 50.By Kyle Kock

Although Issigonis was reluctant to have his creations compete in motorsport, his good friend and F1 constructor Cooper convinced him that the lightweight, wheel-in-each-corner DNA of the Mini was the perfect formula for racing – with an increase in engine output here and a few minor tweaks there, of course. Mini Cooper and Cooper S models went on to prove succesful in circuit racing and rallies – notably three overall wins in the Monte Carlo Rally of 1964,1965 and 1967.

The new Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50 is available in in brand new exterior hue – Connaught Green – which draws heavily on the colour British race cars of the 1950s and 1960s used to sport. Roof and bonnet stripes in Pepper White mirror the colour scheme of the Cooper F1 cars. The authenticity of the WC 50’s colour is ensured by the signature of Mike Cooper, the former constructor’s son, who’s first name is also John, on one bonnet stripe and a plaque on the facia.

The black housing for the bi-xenon headlamps and additional driving lights complement the large compliment of carbon-fibre features, including bonnet scoop, rear diffuser, exterior mirror caps and tailgate handle – as well as the JCW Challenge light-alloy wheels in Jet Black.

Powered by the same 155 kW and 260 N.m (280 on overboost) turbocharged 1,6-litre engine used in the Mini John Cooper Works, the Mini JCW World Championship sprints to 100 km/h from standstill in in just 6,5 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 238 km/h using a six-speed manual gearbox. Calimed average consumption is 6,9-litres/100 km.

With suspension enhancents that would make old man Cooper proud, engineers have fitted electromechanical power steering (EPS) and allowed the driver to opt for a more dynamic setting with sharper steering response and enhanced precision (as well as improved throttle response) via a Sport button situated on the centre console.

In line with the exterior theme, the interior features a carbon-black finish, interrupted by red touches on the seat piping, armrests, gearshift gaiter, handbrake gaiter, and floor mat stitching. Carbon-fiber trim can be found on the facia and door panels, as well as the John Cooper Works insert on thr sports steering wheel – which boasts Alcantara rim.