The all-electric Formula E racing series will have the MINI Cooper SE joining as the third vehicle for Safety Car duties from next month onwards.
MINI is calling it the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW and it is more than just a MINI with flashing lights. Wide wheel arches, a signature John Cooper Works elements, are required for the fitment of wider tyres together with a deep front aerodynamic spoiler with corner splitters.
The rear bumper has been swapped with a more aerodynamic efficient item through the usage of diffuser fins plus cut-outs for better airflow. A rear wing, larger than the on the MINI John Cooper Works GP, is tastefully blended to the trailing end of the MINI, with the signal light unit integrated into it. The aerodynamic pieces are 3D-printed from recycled carbon fibre in Oxford, England.
The MINI Electric Pacesetter gets a custom livery and graphics, with the main body colour in matt silver until the rear one-third of the MINI. From there on, a two-stage colour gradient shifting from Highspeed Orange to Curbside Red metallic is applied.
MINI says yellow accent lines and surfaces on the aerodynamic elements (the spats, skirts and rear wing) provide a nod to the airflow optimisation taking place in these areas and add a visual flourish to the air deflectors and aero edges. The four-spoke forged 18-inch rims from the MINI John Cooper Works GP model are given a bi-colour black-neon/orange design.
Thanks to the removal of all the unnecessary road-car fittings and equipment from the interior, the MINI Electric Pacesetter now weighs just 1,230 kg- a 130 kg reduction from the MINI Cooper SE. The interior also features many items replaced with construction out of carbon fibre, as well as innovative removable cushioning pads in the racing seats.
Power output from the front-mounted electric motor remains at 184 hp with torque gaining an extra 10 Nm to peak at 280 Nm. The lighter weight launches to a much quicker 0 to 100 km/h time of 6.7 seconds (0.6 seconds faster than the standard model). Charging time to reach 80% capacity for the 28.9 kWh battery (net) in the standard model takes just 35 mins through a 50 kW DC fast charger.
Technical upgrades for sustained high-speed driving around tight makeshift street circuits, a common layout in Formula E, includes a larger four-piston braking system from MINI JCW, fully-adjustable racing shock absorbers, coil springs and suspension control arm mountings with a 10-mm increase in track width.
The MINI Electric Pacesetter will also be fitted with the same Michelin Pilot Sport control-tyres as used by the Formula E machines, measuring 245/40 R18.
Bernd Korber, Head of MINI, said: “We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the MINI Electric. 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. For me, the message is clear: electrification and John Cooper Works are a good fit.”
Formula E has not retired the BMW i8 Safety Cars (Coupe and Roadster) and will rotate duties at selected events with the new MINI Electric Pacesetter. Three other electrified BMWs are also used during the race events- the BMW 530e serves as the Medical Car supported by the BMW X5 xDrive45e as the Rescue Car while the fully-electric BMW i3s is allocated for the Race Director.
The MINI Electric Pacesetter will see action for the first time in Rome at the second event of Formula E’s 2021 season with Bruno Correia behind the wheel.