Mini John Cooper Works – track day experience with Niki Faulkner
Being driven round a race circuit at full pelt by a professional racing and stunt driver is quite an experience, I can assure you that. I was lucky enough to get invited to test driver the new Mini John Cooper Works on a perfect summers day around the famous Brands Hatch racing circuit with Niki Faulkner. As a motor racing fan it was a real pleasure to experience the full capabilities and raw power of mini’s new car. Incredibly, a road worthy car that has all the attributes required for a race car. With 231 break horsepower it’s got the equivalent power as a BMW 3 Series or a BMW Z4.
Driving to and from the circuit I even got the chance to drive the Mini Hatch 3-door Sports, a model just below from the JCW. Already impressed with the drive, power and handling on the Hatch 3-door I was able to see the step up with the JCW. On the outside it looks pretty much the same apart from grille detailing and sports exhausts accompanied with 18-inch alloy wheels. Also equipped with sports seats, it has the most powerful engine ever fitted into a production model Mini with a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder twin-turbo engine.
High acceleration. Exceptional agility.
Steering precision. Controllable handling.
It was quite thrilling getting to drive round the famous Brands Hatch circuit, with the knowledge that greats such as James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Nelson Pique, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell. I managed to get have an extra fast lap with Niki Faulkner showing the right lines and breaking points when entering corners. Niki is an ex-racing driver and professional stunt driver, having worked on movies Rush, The Sweeney, and the soon-to-be-released Mission Impossible 5. Going through the high speed corners Druids Bend, Graham Hill Bend, Surtees I could feel the power, speed and control the JWC possesses. Chatting while we were hurtling along the straights, I asked Niki his opinion of the car. He expressed how he was really impressed with it and glad to be able to drive and endorse it.
A car this good, straight off to production line, for this price, is exceptional.