The Mini Electric Pacesetter shows us the future of electrified JCWs

This little thing is Formula E’s newest safety car
by Vijay Pattni | Mar 30, 2021
PHOTO: Mini
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This bright little bundle of batteries is the new safety car for Formula E. It’s called the Mini Electric Pacesetter, and in its maker’s own words, is “the most dynamic interpretation yet of a Mini with all-electric power.”

It was developed in collaboration with BMW’s Motorsport arm, and the transition from the regular, road-going Mini Electric to this track-honed bulldog is stark enough to warrant some discussion. Yeah, we’re gonna need a montage.

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The battery and motor setup mirrors the road car’s—so 182hp279Nm of torque—only here, it’s pushing considerably less weight. BMW Motorsport’s worked its magic over the Mini, dropping some 130kg. It now weighs 1,230kg.

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Both front and rear aprons are lighter than before, ditto those new flared arches. The new front splitters, blanked-off grille (remember it’s electric, so doesn’t require a radiator) and new brake cooling apertures lend credence to the whole ‘I’m a friendly bulldog’ vibe. The lights required for its flashy new role are incorporated into the bonnet.

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There’s a modest side skirt betwixt not-so-modest, 18-inch bright orange, forged alloy wheels. Because it’s a track-only one-off, there’s the requisite roof-mounted rear wing—a 3D-printed wing, no less—complete with another row of lights, while that new rear apron has ‘cut-outs’ around the rear wheels.

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It’s been gutted inside, too, with only a pair of racing seats (and harnesses) remaining. There’s a steering wheel, of course, some pedals, carbon-fiber coverings for the gearshift, the handbrake and indicators, and more carbon fiber adorning the door panels. Oh, and a massive roll cage. Barring the roll cage, a lot of this interior was 3D-printed.

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The weight loss has sharpened up the 0-100kph time—6.7sec vs the production car’s 7.3sec—and dropped the 0-60kph time down to 3.6sec from 3.9sec. There’s the usual patter about ‘go-kart feeling’ (shudders), here delivered via three-way adjustable suspension, race-spec control arm mounts, a wider track, and massive four-piston brakes from the Mini JCW GP.

“This extreme version of the Mini Electric has been developed as the safety car in Formula E, so is clearly not intended for use on public roads,” explains Mini boss Bernd Körber. “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,” he added.

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Mini
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