Mini has whipped the wraps off its new Electric Pacesetter, which arrives as a JCW-inspired safety car for the FIA’s Formula E series.
Based on the all-electric Cooper SE, Mini says the safety car connects the brand’s “electrified future with the rich racing history of John Cooper Works”. Earlier in March 2021, of course, the automaker confirmed it planned to introduce its “very last new combustion engine model” in 2025, before going fully electric by the early 2030s.
So, back to the safety car. The wheel arches have been adapted to the vehicle’s track width, while the deep front apron gains additional splitters. The car’s flashing white lights are integrated into the bonnet, with the latter also gaining the brand’s signature stripes.
In profile, you’ll notice the chunky side skirts and 18-inch orange-and-black wheels. Interestingly, the spats and spoilers are 3D-printed from recycled carbon-fibre, with some featuring yellow accent lines. The main body colour, meanwhile, is matte silver, though a high-gloss wrap (with a two-stage colour gradient, from “Highspeed Orange” to “Curbside Red”) is also used.
The cabin has been stripped back to what Mini describes as the “absolute essentials”, with the driver enjoying a racing seat with a six-point belt, a steering wheel with a carbon-fibre impact absorber and a digital instrument cluster. The central information display makes way for a carbon-fibre cover. Further weight-saving efforts are seen on the pared-back carbon-fibre door panels (the kerb weight is listed as “approximately” 1 230 kg, which makes it some 130 kg lighter than the standard Cooper SE). Another key feature is the welded-in roll cage.
The electric drive system produces 135 kW and 280 N.m (the same peak power as the production model but 10 N.m more torque), which enables the Electric Pacesetter to sprint from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 6,7 seconds (six-tenths quicker than standard).
Mini has furthermore fitted racing coilover suspension, which is three-way adjustable for rebound, compression, height and camber. Race-spec suspension control arm mountings, a 10 mm increase in track width and four-piston brakes with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (size 245/40 R18) are also included in the package.
“We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the Mini Electric,” says Bernd Körber, Head of Mini.
“However, the Mini Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW goes at least a step further and blends the performance character of the John Cooper Works brand with electric mobility. This extreme version of the Mini Electric has been developed as the Safety Car for Formula E, so is clearly not intended for use on public roads. But it does reveal one of the directions we could take with the electrification of the JCW brand. For me, the message is clear: electrification and John Cooper Works are a good fit.”
The new Electric Pacesetter will make its debut in Rome on 10 April 2021 at the second event of Formula E’s 2021 season.