MINI to produce another Cooper S GP
A rumour for a while, but a report by American car magazine, Car and Driver, seems to confirm that MINI are working on a hard-core John Cooper Works GP replacement.
If you've not heard of the GP, it was a more powerful and lightweight two-seater version of the Cooper S with John Cooper Works tuning kit. Produced by Bertone as a swansong to the first-generation MINI range, it was available in limited numbers and sold out very quickly in 2006 to 2000 lucky buyers.
Anyway, according to the report, the new GP will follow the same lightweight big power formula as the original. The 1.6-litre turbo is expected to be boosted to 220bhp, although it has been suggested that it will be based on the latest coupe.
It could use the same engine as the forthcoming John Cooper Works Countryman, which is expected to be more pokey than the standard hatch. This is probably because of the off-roader's extra weight.
With MINI fanatics making their way to France for the MINI United event in May this year, it could be the perfect launch pad for this car.
Personally, I find this news disappointing, as I've been a GP owner for over a year and wanted to own one from its launch back in 2006.
One of the main reasons why I bought my car, was its uniqueness and the announcement of a probable new version means it won't be that for much longer.
Still, this is not the first time that a manufacturer seemingly cashes in on its owners. Remember the Renault Clio Williams? Like the GP it is considered to be a hot hatch legend, but having successfully shifted all of the first batch of 3,800 numbered cars the company went on to do a further two versions.
Produced to satisfy customer demand, there's no doubt that the Williams 2 and 3 versions weren't as special as the first. However, this didn't stop the first cars from feeling less special.
I've no plans to sell my GP just yet, but will be watching MINI news in the upcoming weeks with interest.
Check out this video of the last GP in action: