24-hour race at the Nürburgring

Bulldog Racing Team’s MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition with 6-speed manual gearbox finishes on the podium.

Second place in the class for production-based vehicles with a displacement of 1,600 to 2,000 cc and turbocharger. Smiling faces among the team after a spectacular comeback - including Charlie Cooper, the grandson of the legendary John Cooper, the inventor of the Mini Cooper.


In Nürburg, the qualifying sessions for the renowned 24-hour race on the 25.378-kilometer track presented significant challenges for both drivers and vehicles. Multiple teams, including Bulldog Racing, encountered a series of tire problems, resulting in the unexpected withdrawal of their SP3T race car. The team's hopes then relied solely on the black MINI John Cooper Works, bearing the number #126, which began the race from the ninth position in its class. However, early on, driver Sebastian Sauerbrei demonstrated remarkable progress by overtaking several competitors in both the class and overall standings. Over the course of the demanding 24-hour marathon, the MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition, identified by its start number #126, advanced an impressive eight places in its class and an astounding 49 positions within the 131-car field. This achievement served as a testament to its reliability, culminating in a podium finish.

Throughout the race, the MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition completed 114 laps, covering a distance of approximately 2,893 kilometers. The car, equipped with a manual transmission, made a total of 15 pit stops on its journey towards the podium.

"I am very happy about this great result - for the Bulldog Racing Team, for MINI John Cooper Works, for everyone who cheered along, helped and did a great job," says Stefanie Wurst, Head of MINI. "I am very impressed by the whole atmosphere at the Nürburgring. The enthusiasm for motorsport is in the genes of our MINI John Cooper Works models. With the new MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition, we celebrate our legendary motorsport history. We couldn't think of a more fitting opportunity to present this new edition to our fans here at the Ring and also surprise them with this excellent race result."

"Even more than the podium finish, I am delighted that we have succeeded in making the new MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition a crowd favorite," said Alexander Schabbach, Managing Director of Bulldog Racing. "It's impressive how positively people react to our MINI race cars and how quickly our "Made in Nürburg" racers have developed a fan base."

"To start as an underdog and to be able to achieve such a great result right off the bat at the debut, that's typical MINI, says Charlie Cooper. "It feels like history repeating itself back in the spirit of the early 1960s when my grandfather John Cooper was underestimated against a perceived superiority of much more powerful competitors, only to win the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. I'm delighted that together with MINI and Bulldog Racing, we've opened the next chapter in our brand's motorsport activities and given MINI its first podium finish in a 24-hour race."

The race
During the initial stint, Sebastian Sauerbrei displayed impressive performance in the black MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition, swiftly advancing in the standings and achieving a notably faster lap time of 10:16.362 minutes compared to qualifying. Following the first driver change, Michael Mönch took the wheel, while Charlie Cooper made his first appearance after the second pit stop. Later in the evening, Christoph Kragenings assumed driving duties, and Sebastian Sauerbrei completed a double stint into the darkness. By that point, the team had climbed 25 positions in the overall rankings among the 131 race starters. In the production vehicle class, competing against more powerful cars, the MINI secured a remarkable 5th place, showcasing its capabilities.

In the challenging nature of a 24-hour race, setbacks are inevitable. Just after midnight, the MINI encountered a fuel line issue in the auxiliary tank, requiring it to be towed back to the paddock. After an hour-long repair, it returned to the track, determined to make up for lost time. Shortly after sunrise, Christoph Kragenings set a new fastest lap time of 10:15.551 minutes.

As the race progressed, the black MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition grew increasingly comfortable on the track, consistently completing laps and rising to 3rd place in its class. In the final hours, many competitors struggled to maintain their pace or were forced to retire, but the MINI persevered. It had won the affection of the audience, who cheered for it every time it passed by. In the closing hour, Bulldog Racing secured second place in its class. There was even a glimpse of a potential class victory, but ultimately, the class leader crossed the finish line first with a well-executed strategy.

Considering that the black MINI John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition was completed just a day before the initial qualifying sessions, the team's achievement is an immense success for everyone involved.

The VT2-class MINI John Cooper Works
The MINI John Cooper Works #126 generates a power output of 231 horsepower (170 kW) and a maximum torque of 320 Nm. It is equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The car used on the approximately 25-kilometer racetrack is based on a standard MINI John Cooper Works, which underwent adaptations to meet the necessary safety requirements and standards for competing in the VT2 production car class.

Throughout the race, the MINI John Cooper Works with the start number #126 was driven by a team of talented individuals. The drivers included Charlie Cooper from Great Britain, Christoph Kragenings from Germany, Sebastian Sauerbrei from Germany, and Michael Mönch, also from Germany.