Schirra Mini JCW GTS howled round the Ring in 7m44s.
Schirra Mini JCW GTS howled round the Ring in 7m44s.

Tuned Mini sets new FWD ‘Ring record

Time of article published Oct 21, 2014

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Nurburg, Germany - The record for the fastest lap of the Nurburgring by a front-wheel drive car of 7m54 - set by the Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R - is not only a benchmark; it's also a target.

One that German aftermarket specialist tuner Schirra Motoring took aim at - with a Mini.

First they tweaked the 1.6-litre turbo engine of the yellow John Cooper Works, boosting output from 155kW to a frenetic 214kW, dropped in a Drexler limited-slip differential in an attempt to counteract the Mini's now-brutal torque steer, and fitted super-sticky Dunlop Direzza 03G street-legal semi-slicks.

But that was the easy part. Mindful of design genius Colin Chapman's dictum, "Make a car more powerful and it will go faster on the straights; make it lighter and it will go faster everywhere!", the benzienkopfen at Schirra set themselves the target of getting the Mini's weight under a ton.

LIGHTWEIGHT REPLACEMENTS

Given that a stock JCW tips the scale at 1180kg, that's a big ask - but by removing all extraneous trim and ditching as many standard components as possible in favour of lightweight replacements, they very nearly succeeded; in track trim the Schirra Mini JCW GTS weighs just 1005kg!

And with Sport Auto magazine's test driver Christian Gebhardt at the wheel, it howled round the 'Ring in 7m44s - a full 10 seconds quicker than the Megane's time.

OK, it's not a standard production car, so the Renault's benchmark stands, but it is the fastest time yet by an front-wheel drive car of any kind, quicker than a standard Pagani Zonda or Audi R8 V10, and that's not bad company to be in.

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