It’s official. The Mini Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW is debuting as the new safety car for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship series. It will debut at the Rome E-Prix on April 10, 2021, at Race 3 of the 2021 Formula E season. Continuing upon the storied racing history of the John Cooper Works (JCW) name, this Mini Electric Pacesetter is a harbinger of the brand’s electric future.
“We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the Mini Electric, but the Mini Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW goes at least a step further and blends the performance character of the John Copper Works brand with electric mobility,” said Bernd Körber, Head of Mini.
Based on a production Cooper SE electric vehicle, Mini’s brightly-decked Formula E safety car is the product of a collaboration between BMW Motorsport, Formula E, and the FIA. As such, it has the same 32.6 kWh battery and electric motor as a standard Cooper SE. The difference is weight: Mini Electric Pacesetter weighs 287 pounds (130 kg) less than the roadgoing model, tipping the scales at only 2712 pounds (1,230 kg).
Granted, it’s still a lot of weight for a small electric car, but it’s enough to give Mini Electric Pacesetter more punch than a standard Cooper SE. It still has 184 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque to play with, but it now rushes to 60 mph from a dead stop in 6.7-seconds, more than half a second faster than Copper SE.
Underneath, it has three-way adjustable racing coilover suspension, race-spec control arm mountings, a 10 mm wider track width, and four-piston racing brakes. It also gets 18-inch orange wheels (from the Mini John Cooper Works GP) and stickier Michelin Pilot Spot tires for predictable handling and better traction.
“Agility, performance, a cool looking car: the Mini Electric Pacesetter safety car for the FIA Formula E World Championship has got it all,” said Formula E safety car driver Bruno Correia. “It’s very fun to drive, it feels like karting.”
As expected from an official FIA safety car, the Mini Electric Pacesetter has all the lights, exterior appendages, liveries, and bold colors we all love. The matt silver paint has contrasting hues of Highspeed Orange and Curbside Red. It also has a 3D-printed roof-mounted rear wing from recycled carbon-fiber.
Inside, Mini Electric Pacesetter is as bare as a racing car, although it has a digital instrument cluster, a six-point racing harness, and a welded roll cage. “For me, the message is clear: electrification and John Copper Works are a good fit,” concludes Bernd Körber. It seems the electrification of JCW is well underway, Mini fans.