The MINI Electric Pacesetter as an FIA Formula E Safety Car

The MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by John Cooper Works (JCW) is the new Safety Car for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series. The car was created as part of a collaboration between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA and the Formula E.

“We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the MINI Electric,” says Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. “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. This extreme version of the MINI Electric has been developed purely as the Safety Car for Formula E, so is clearly not intended 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 exterior has been purpose-built for life on the track and represents the most dynamic interpretation yet of a MINI with all-electric power. “The design is an exciting symbiosis of technical precision and emotion,” explains Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design. “Here, function dictates form, and many design elements have been shaped by technical considerations. For example, we worked closely with our colleagues at BMW Motorsport to develop the form of the wheel arches and front and rear aprons, and the optimisation programme for them included weight-saving measures. This visually striking, technically precise design language gives the car its pervasive sense of emotional engagement and excitement.”

At the front of the car, classic MINI touches such as the circular headlights and hexagonal radiator grille create the familiar, easily recognisable MINI face. As virtually no drive system cooling is required through the upper area of the grille, the front end is largely enclosed to aid aerodynamics. The Safety Car’s white flashing lights are integrated into the bonne and characteristic MINI bonnet stripes extend over the roof to the rear end.

Ready for the race track, helped by knowhow from BMW Motorsport.

Behind the design of the MINI Electric Pacesetter lies the expertise of BMW Motorsport. Rigorous adherence to lightweight design principles gives the Safety Car a kerb weight of approx. 1,230 kg – which makes it approx. 130 kg lighter than the standard MINI Electric.

The drive system – also based on that found in the MINI Electric – produces 135 kW and 280 Nm (206 lb-ft), which enables the MINI to sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.7 seconds (standard model: 7.3s) and from 0-37 mph in 3.6 seconds (standard model: 3.9s). Even more important for a Safety Car, though, are the mid-range figures. Here, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW showcases all the talents of its torque-rich electric drive system with single-speed transmission, enabling a 75 mph time of 4.3 seconds (standard model: 4.6 s).

The drive system teams up with racing coilover suspension (three-way adjustable for rebound, compression, height and camber) to deliver maximum go-kart feeling. Race-spec suspension control arm mountings, a 10 mm increase in track width, plus the four-piston brakes and wheels from the MINI John Cooper Works GP with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (size 245/40 R18) round off the overall package.

The MINI Electric Pacesetter will come into use in Rome on 10 April 2021 at the second event (Race 3) of Formula E’s 2021 season. At the wheel will be official Formula E Safety Car driver Bruno Correia, as BMW i Andretti Motorsport drivers Maximilian Guenther (GER) and Jake Dennis (GBR) battle it out for victory in their BMW iFE.21 racers.

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