Mini Electric Pacesetter: The first electric Mini FIA Formula E Safety Car

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The premier league for electric vehicles welcomes a new addition to its roster of safety cars. The Mini Electric Pacesetter has been named the new safety car for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series and the first electric Mini to don the role of a Formula E safety vehicle.

This cute car isn’t your ordinary Mini. It was built from the new Mini Cooper SE and is a product of a collaboration between Mini Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA, and the Formula E. That said, the Mini Electric Pacesetter is not just built to herd other EVs but also has a rich racing pedigree to boot.

“We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the Mini Electric,” stated Mini Head Bernd Körber.

 

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“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 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,” he added.

It’s true that the Pacesetter does make for a small canvas, but it’s enough to showcase the most dynamic representation of what a purpose-built Mini is. According to the head of Mini Design, developing the Mini Electric Pacesetter is like letting function dictate form. Found in both its exterior and interior, are elements that have been shaped by technical consideration instead of aesthetic appreciation.

 

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The front of the safety car is designed for improved aerodynamics, with almost squared-off openings at the bottom corners to help with brake cooling. At the side, the lightweight four-spoke 18-inch forged wheels complement the similarly lightweight wheel arches coupled with front and rear aprons developed with the help of BMW Motorsport. At the back is a prominent roof-mounted rear wing with an integrated signal light. Below are flared wheel arches that lead to the rear apron. A diffuser sits in between the wheels.

 

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The interior is fitted with just the bare essentials. On the driver’s seat is a six-point seat belt, a steering wheel with carbon-fiber impact absorber, and a digital instrument cluster. The information display, the door panels, and the center console housing the gearshift lever, handbrake and controls for the signal lights are all equipped with a carbon fiber cover to improve weight. A welded-in roll cage improves the Mini Electric Pacesetter’s safety.

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In keeping with its environmentally-friendly roots, the Pacesetter is outfitted with recycled 3D-printed carbon fiber.

Under the hood is a drive system that gives the Formula E safety car 181 horses and 280 Nm. This allows the Mini Electric Pacesetter to go from zero to 100kph in 6.7 seconds.

The Pacesetter offers race-spec suspension control arm mountings and racing coilover suspensions with three-way adjustable for rebound, compression, height and camber making one feel like driving a go-kart. A four-piston brake is also outfitted on the Pacesetter Mini John Cooper Works GP wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

The Mini Electric Pacesetter is set to make its debut on April 10, 2021 in Rome alongside the BMW i Roadster safety car. Driving the Mini will be official FIA Formula E safety car driver Bruno Correia.

Locally, Mini is yet to release an electrified offering. Their selection ranges from the iconic three-door Mini, five-door Mini, the Convertible, the Clubman, the Countryman, and the JCW.

Photos from Mini 

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