Fastest Race Lap Another Milestone For MINI JCW Team
Thursday, August 18, 2016

MINI JCW Team put another notch in its belt at Road America, with Mat Pombo giving the team its first fastest race lap in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge completion in the No. 73 MINI John Cooper Works.

Pombo turned a lap of 2:31.809 (96.0 mph) on the 18th lap – just before the one-hour mark – while running 23rd in the Street Tuner (ST) field. Pombo had taken over for Derek Jones moments earlier, with the team making an unscheduled pit stop to take advantage of a caution flag.

Told to let loose, Pombo worked his way to the front, where he led for six laps. With 45 minutes remaining, he was told to go into fuel conservation mode. Spencer Pumpelly went by to take the lead, with Pombo remaining in second through the white flag. Midway through the final lap, Pombo began to run low on fuel, and he limped the car home to finish seventh.

“Running the fastest race lap shows our cars are in contention to win,” said team owner Luis Perocarpi. “We’re creeping up there. Now we can go into races consistently fighting for podium finishes. It’s been a lot of work, taking a street car – the same car you can buy at the dealership – and being competitive with teams who’ve had a few years to develop their cars.”

Perocarpi also proudly pointed to the results shown by the No. 52 MINI at Road America.

“Ramin [Abdolvahabi] had his career-best qualifying, 15th,” Perocarpi said. “He and Nate Norenberg brought the car home in 12th, which was the highest our No. 52 car has ever finished. That’s another indication that our cars are super competitive.”

The three MINIs will carry “Parked it” stickers at VIR, honoring the late Bryan Clauson. Perocarpi was Clauson’s crew chief at the 100th Indianapolis 500 in May, with the sprint car star finishing 23rd.