MINI Electric Pacesetter becomes the new Safety Car for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship electric race series

MINI make a special one-off race-spec electric car to lead the way in Formula E

By
Ian Osborne
March 31, 2021
Category:
EV Life

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. As such, it connects the brand’s electrified future with the rich racing history of John Cooper Works. The car was created out of the new MINI Electric as part of an unprecedented collaboration between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA and the Formula E.

Bernd Körber, 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.

“This extreme version of the MINI Electric has been developed as the Safety Car in the 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 of the MINI Electric Pacesetter has been purpose-built for life on the track and represents the most dynamic interpretation yet of a MINI with all-electric power.

Oliver Heilmer, head of MINI Design, said: “The design is an exciting symbiosis of technical precision and emotion. 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 icons such as the circular headlights and hexagonal radiator grille create the familiar, easily recognisable MINI face. At the same time, signature John Cooper Works elements, such as wheel arches adapted to the car’s track width and the deep front apron with additional front splitters to the left and right, enhance the sporting visuals of the front end.

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 only exceptions are the area below the grille and the eye-catching, almost squared-off apertures for brake cooling. The Safety Car’s white flashing lights are integrated harmoniously into the bonnet. Characteristic MINI bonnet stripes extend over the roof to the rear end.

Behind the visually powerful 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 approximately 1,230 kg,  which makes it around130 kg lighter than the standard MINI Electric.

The drive system, which is also based on that found in the MINI Electric, produces 135 kW and 280 Nm (206 lb-ft), which enables the Pacesetter to sprint from 0-62 mph (0-100kph) in 6.7 seconds compared to the standard MINI Electric which is 7.3 seconds.

The drive system teams up with racing coilover suspension, a three-way adjustable for rebound, compression, height and camber, to deliver maximum go-kart feeling. Race-spec suspension control arm mountings, a 10mm 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.

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