A couple weeks ago Mini said it was going all electric, and now has announced that its latest EV, the Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW, is the new safety car for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series. Mini says the idea behind the pace car is to connect the brand’s EV future with John Cooper Works’ rich racing history, adding it was created out of the new Cooper SE electric car as part of a collaboration between Mini design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA, and the Formula E series.
“We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the Mini Electric,” said Mini boss Bernd Körber. “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.” He said the car is not built for use on public roads, “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.”
The car’s exterior mods include signature John Cooper Works elements such as wheel arches adapted to the car’s track width and the deep front spoiler with additional front splitters to the left and right, as well as a lack of a grille and Mini Electric logo. The front end is largely enclosed for better aero, the only exceptions being the area below the grille and the nearly squared-off apertures for brake cooling. The safety car’s white flashing lights are integrated into the roof and roof-mounted rear wing, and characteristic Mini stripes extend over the roof to the rear end.
The main body color is a matte silver, extending back beyond the center point of the car. There’s a high-gloss wrap covering the back of the car with a two-stage color gradient from Highspeed Orange to Curbside Red.
BMW Motorsport went to work cutting heft, and the car’s 2711-pound curb weight is about 286 lb lighter than your standard Cooper SE. The drive system is based on the Cooper SE’s, producing 135 kW and 206 lb-ft, good enough for a 6.7-second 0-to-62 mph sprint, compared to the standard model’s 7.3 seconds. The mid-range times are important for a safety car as well, and the pace car’s torque-rich electric drive system allows a 50 to 75 mph sprint to happen in 4.3 seconds, three-tenths quicker than the standard model.
The suspension is adjustable for rebound, compression, height, and camber, and includes race-spec control-arm mountings and a slight track-width increase. Four-piston brakes and wheels from the John Cooper Works GP with 245/40R-18 Michelin Pilot Sport tires (the same as on the front of Formula E racers) round off the package.
Mini’s new pace car will be first used April 10 in Rome at the second event of Formula E’s 2021 season.
We love the looks of the Mini Pacesetter and would love to see something similar in a production version. What are your thoughts on the car, the Formula E series, or EVs in general?
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