We can’t say we’re surprised to learn that MINI has decided to introduce a John Cooper Works Challenge Edition model, but we are a little shocked to learn that it’s exclusive to Australia. The Challenge Edition essentially takes all that’s good about the JCW model, including the stiffer suspension, bigger wheels and more powerful 208-hp engine and tosses in all sorts of accessories to give the sportiest of MINIs a look similar to the MINI Challenge race cars.
Sadly there’s no performance enhancement, unless you count the aluminum strut tower brace, but the Challenge Edition model does get plenty of add-ons like a special aero kit, roof-mounted spoiler and plenty of Alcantara trimmed interior items. Oh, and let’s not forget the Challenge Edition badges.
MINI will offer the kit for $2,500 AUD ($2,246), which is mild discount if you ordered all the parts individually from the MINI catalog.
The Challenge Edition package will be offered in limited numbers, although MINI of Australia hasn’t put a particular number on how many (or how few) models it will make.
Check out the gallery of images below and then be sure to grump and whine if you don’t live in Australia.
GALLERY: MINI John Cooper Works Challenge Edition
Official release after the jump:
MINI JCW Dressed for the Challenge
More performance. More customisation. More MINI. Introducing the new and exclusive race-inspired MINI John Cooper Works Challenge Edition – bringing the MINI John Cooper Works even closer to the track.
In recognition of the pure pedigree that underpins MINI, the release of the MINI John Cooper Challenge Edition draws John Cooper Works even closer to the MINI CHALLENGE race car, both in its appearance and performance.
The MINI John Cooper Works Challenge Edition is powered by the same powerplant as the MINI CHALLENGE race cars; delivering 155kW from a twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. Developing a maximum of 260 Nm of torque (280 Nm torque available during Overboost) the MINI John Cooper works propels from 0-100km/h in just 6.5 seconds.
Exclusive to the Australian market, the John Cooper Works Challenge Edition includes the following features over the already highly optioned MINI John Cooper Works model: John Cooper Works aerodynamics package consisting of front, rear and side aprons, John Cooper Works Carbon spoiler, John Cooper Works Aluminium cross brace, John Cooper Works Alcantara and Carbon steering wheel, John Cooper Works Carbon gearshift knob with Alcantara shroud, John Cooper Works Carbon handbrake lever with Alcantara surround and unique Challenge Edition badging.
The Challenge Edition is available with all new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop, Clubman or Cabrio models. Representing over $7,000 worth of value, the Challenge Edition is available for a strictly limited time as a $2,500 option.
A testament to the strength and success of the MINI Challenge race series, last year the sales of MINI John Cooper Works reach unprecedented heights, accounting for 26 percent of MINI Cooper S Hardtop sales and 10 per cent of the entire model range.
The 2010 MINI Challenge season kicks off in March with the categories debut at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.