The overriding impression is of an impressively robust structure with no flex, which in turn allows the steering and suspension to get on with making the GP respond with an urgency you’ll find in few other hot hatchbacks. Body roll is very limited (the passive suspension is no longer adjustable, and there are no selectable driving modes), and the mechanical grip is impressively high – at least it is on the semi-slick Hankooks.
You have to hope that the return to a mechanical limited-slip differential should deliver an extra layer of involvement to the driving experience compared with the previous GP.
Are there any areas of concern? Well, yes. Surely the most Mini thing to do with a GP would have been to fit it with a manual gearbox, given the eight-speed automatic is far from the best of its kind, even if it has been recalibrated for GP drivers?
Also, will the brakes be up to the job? They’re borrowed from the Clubman and Cooper JCW, and those weren’t entirely confidence inspiring on test cars we drove at the BMW and Mini West Coast Performance Centre, at Thermal Raceway, so how well the system will handle the lighter GP remains to be seen.