Meet the MINI Electric Pacesetter, an EV inspired by John Cooper Works racing history
The stage is set. On April 10, 2021 the new season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series will have its third race of the year in Rome. Leading the pack will be none other than the MINI Electric Pacesetter. The car was created as part of a partnership between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA, and the Formula E.
The electric MINI on the market today isn't a sporty version of the car. Instead, the most performance-focused MINIs are gas-powered John Cooper Works models. The MINI Electric Pacesetter combines the electric powertrain of production cars with the sports car-like dynamics of the JCW cars.
"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.
The MINI Electric has gotten a track-ready makeover.Photo courtesy of MINI
The model is the Safety Car for Formula E and not intended to be driven on public roads.
The exterior of the car has been purpose-built for life on the track. Engineers and designers from BMW Motorsport worked to develop the form to the wheel arches and front and rear aprons, and initiated weight-saving measures. Still, the MINI is a MINI. There's circular headlights and a hexagonal grille though the grille has been blanked off and the MINI Electric logo been added.
Below the grille are apertures for brake cooling. The Safety Car's white flashing lights are integrated harmoniously into the hood. Classic hood stripes extends from front to back over the roof.
More sport scar-like details include accentuated spats and sporty side skirts. The car's larger wheels nearly fill the arches. The spats and spoilers have been 3D printed from recycled carbon fiber. Yellow accent lines showcase the car's aerodynamic edges.
It wears a matte silver body color that extends from the center point to the rear. The front is covered in a high-gloss wrap with a two-stage colour gradient – from Highspeed Orange to Curbside Red metallic – that covers the rest of the body to the rear. The car's flanks are adorned with a checkered flag-inspired pattern design.
Because it is a Safety Car, the model also sports regulations-specific and sponsor-related graphics.
The whole rig rides on lightweight 18-inch forged wheels in bi-colour black-neon/orange design.
MINI has stripped the car's interior down to its essentials with only the front seats remaining. The driver's area features a six-point safety harness, minimalist steering wheel, and a digital instrument cluster. Carbon fiber appointments anoint the area replacing heavier materials traditionally found on MINI passenger cars.
Pared-back carbon-fibre door panels with window and door openers contain cloth straps to make closing the doors easier. There's also a welded-in roll cage.
The drive system of the car is the same as what is in the MINI electric. It produces 135 kilowatts of horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. It can get from zero to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds and zero to 37 mph in 3.6 seconds. There's race-spec suspension control arm mountings, four-piston brakes and wheels from the MINI John Cooper Works GP, and Michelin Pilot Sport tires as well.
This may be more than just a concept car. MINI has been teasing its future with forward looking statements regarding going all-electric but promising to not lose the JCW identity along the way.