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Top 10 Track Specials Under $60,000
Driving is a mundane task for some people, but for others it’s a sport, and there’s no better proving ground than a track.
Automakers see that opportunity as well, and love to offer up cars that are designed specifically with track use in mind. Take a look at the latest offering from Subaru and Scion, the BRZ/FR-S twins. Both cars were designed with a priority on light-weight, and achieves an impressive weight balance. In true sporting fashion, it’s rear-wheel drive and can be had with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, or quick automatic with race-inspired paddle-shifters.
The FR-S isn’t the only car out there with racing in its veins. Here’s a list of factory-customized machines designed for time at the track.
MINI announced the John Cooper Works version of its coupe last week, but if it is only performance you are after without the added paint and plastic, MINI will install the JCW engine kit on your existing MINI coupe or roadster.
The engine kit will boost the power of the coupe up to 197 hp, along with netting 199 lb-ft of torque. The kit includes a sports exhaust complete with chrome tailpipes and a laser etched JCW logo. An adapted air filter, a modified engine control unit, and JCW badges to complete the look of the car.
You can get the JCW engine tuning kit for $2100 before dealer installation fees. The suspension tuning kit, also from JCW, will be available for the just the coupe later this year.
Give-aways on this car include the same rear diffuser as we saw on the GP version of the hard top Cooper model, as well as the same 18-inch wheels – which we’re not a fan of. Absent, however, is the large rear spoiler, which makes some sense as the Coupe has its own retractable unit.
The move only makes sense as the Coupe is positioned as the highest performance model in the MINI lineup. When it does arrive, look for an even higher output version of the John Cooper Works turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder making around 200 hp.
With the original MINI GP model limited to just 2,000 units, expect this car to also be in short supply.
GALLERY: MINI Coupe JCW GP
The MINI Cooper S JCW GP is getting updated, and will debut at the Mini United 2012 event in La Castellet, France this May. This new John Cooper Works GP MINI promises to be the brands most sports focused model yet.
We have already caught a glimpse of the new car thanks to some spy photos, and it will be getting a new lowered suspension system, a large rear spoiler, a new front bumper, 18-inch wheels and a new rear diffuser.
MINI was proud to announce today that a John Cooper Works Super Production Car (SPC) captured its first FIA International event win this past weekend. Driver Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari took the checkered flag home at the Qatar International Rally, the first found in the 2012 Middle East Rally Championship (MERC).
Al Kuwari had his brother, Nassar Al-Kuwari as his co-driver, and the pair captured the race victory by a margin of 2m 24.9s and was the team’s first career MERC win. It was also a successful debut of the Prodrive-built, Tok Sport-ran MINI John Cooper Works SPC. The MINI SPC is the regional rally specification of the MINI World Rally Car. It is nearly identical to the WRC except the SPC runs with a smaller engine restrictor (30-mm versus 33-mm) and a smaller rear wing.
“It is a fantastic feeling to win this rally,” said Al-Kuwari, who became the 32nd driver in history to win at least one round of the MERC. “I have achieved success in national rallies in Qatar, but this was the big one. This was the rally I wanted to win. It was a great battle with Nasser. The new car was fantastic. This is the biggest win of my career.”
The team is now looking forward to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 Middle East Rally Championship.
With a huge gulf existing between the road-going version of the MINI Countryman and the WRC-ready version, a halo version that could bridge the gap between urban crossover and full-blown race car could be an asset for MINI, and help them leverage some of the image boost that their rally program will provide, especially in parts of the world where WRC is a popular motorsport.
At this point, the idea of a hardcore Countryman is just a rumor, but the it’s not hard to imagine a pumped up Countryman, perhaps with some tweaks courtesy of a JCW upgrade package, more macho bodywork and big wheels. So far, a concept is supposedly planned for.