Unless you’re a hard-core MINI fan, chances are good that you’ve never heard of the 2006 MINI Cooper S John Cooper Works GP, or, simply, the Cooper GP. Only 2000 were built, and only 415 of these made their way into the United States.
As GP MINI explains, the Cooper GP was built to commemorate the end of MINI Series 1 production in 2006, and featured an engine rated at 215 horsepower, weight savings of nearly 100 pounds (thanks largely to the removal of the rear seat and the use of aluminum rear control arms), a unique aero kit and special livery.
As the highest-performance MINIs ever built by the factory, the MINI GPs were instantly collectible, despite starting prices above $30,000. While values have declined on the used market, the Cooper GPs are still (arguably) the most desirable of the first generation cars, as long as you understand that they were built for performance, not comfort.
At the start of the 2012 New York Auto Show, MINI’s Dr. Kay Segler announced that a new MINI Cooper GP II would be launched at this year’s MINI United event, to be held in La Castellet, France, in May.
Details are sorely lacking, but MINI says the new GP II model will get a “particularly high-performance turbo engine, racing-oriented suspension technology and exclusive, aerodynamically optimized body components.”
Like the original, we expect the GP II will likely forgo the rear seat and any sound deadening in the name of performance. With current John Cooper Works models putting out 208 horsepower in stock trim, we’d expect to see significantly more output from a reborn GP II.
We’ll bring you details as soon as they’re available.