Made in Nürburg 

After a ten-year break, MINI is once again competing in the legendary 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. The racing version of the iconic hot hatch was built by the Nürburg-based Bulldog Racing team and will compete in the SP3T class.

The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is considered the ultimate endurance test for man and machine. At the high-speed showdown, which takes place this year from 26 to 29 May on the 25.378-kilometre circuit consisting of the Grand Prix circuit and the legendary Nordschleife of the Nürburgring, the smallest mistake can have severe consequences. Only those who deliver a perfect performance have a real chance of seeing the chequered flag. A challenge made for MINI: After all, the racing versions of the compact racers from Oxford have already claimed victories in various famous races – including three wins at the Monte Carlo Rally (1964, 1965, 1967) and six victories at the Dakar Rally (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2020 and 2021). Reminiscent of these successes, the MINI is finished in red with a white roof and white accents – the classic colour scheme of 1960s racing cars.

For the 50th edition of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, Bulldog Racing will compete with their racing MINI in the SP3T class. The race car was equipped with extensive modifications during the seven months of preparation. In addition to interventions in the car’s aerodynamics through an adjustable rear wing, a clad underbody, rear diffuser and front splitter, a model-specific racing suspension with adjustable rebound and compression damping was installed. Other modifications include:

  • Increased fuel tank capacity to 100 litres
  • Consistent weight reduction, e.g. through the use of Makrolon® windows
  • Replacement of all moving chassis and suspension parts with reinforced uniball bearings
  • Installation of a pneumatic lifting system
  • Adaptation of the sports exhaust system with racing catalytic converter
  • Use of original BMW M Performance brake components
  • Installation of a racing differential lock

The racing car is powered by the standard four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1,998 cubic centimetres known from the John Cooper Works Countryman and John Cooper Works Clubman, which delivers 225 kW / 306 hp and 450 Newton metres of torque.

Friedhelm Thelen, Nürburgring expert and team boss of Bulldog Racing, has already completed countless laps of the Nordschleife and therefore knows exactly what it takes to succeed in the green hell. For him, the MINI is a project of the heart. “My first matchbox car, which I got as a child, was a MINI,” the racing veteran says with a laugh.

In the coming weeks until the start of the 24h race, further tests are scheduled on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife and at the BMW Group testing centre in Miramas in southern France. The former race track, located between Marseille and Avignon, offers the best conditions for extensive testing and optimisation under a wide range of conditions. The MINI John Cooper Works race car will be subjected to an extensive and varied test programme in order to prepare for its first race appearance at the 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers from the 6th to 8th of May.