This thing looks amazing. That was our first reaction as we texted back and forth with team owner (and sometimes driver) Luis Perocarpi. The first you notice (and the most striking) with the enormously wide track and flared wheel arches. Then there’s the wing. It’s almost like it’s an alternative version of the recently released GP but with more classic styling cues rather than the over-the-top creases and angles. In other words this is our kind of GP.
The new race car is a MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop that has been engineered and modified using both original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and components from across the MINI line up and aftermarket performance parts. While we particularly the wide stance and wing those modifications in particular were required to to meet the technical rules and regulations of the more competitive TC class. Also new is a revised tune which gives the B48 more boost allowing it to compete against the much higher horsepower cars like the BMW M2 and Civic SI.
That really underscores the bespoke nature of all of LAP’s MINI race cars. Luis and team are truly building these cars from scratch rather than relying on turn-key cars like the BMW M2. While that does make it more difficult it also makes it way more interesting as LAP has a lot of freedom to tinker with the design and set-up. Case in point that low rear wing. Luis Perocarpi explained to us that they were worried about drag on the long straights of COTA and were starting with it in a lower position before making further modifications. But even the placement was an educated guess by the team as the car had never turned a wheel before this weekend.
Ultimately the weekend was a bust for the new #60 car. A large Texas rock punctured the radiator immediately dumping the water and overheating the engine. That also meant Sunday’s race was a non-starter for the team.
But the good news is that the car was immediately fast from the first practice on. And that makes the rest of the season much more interesting to us. MINI will once again be a giant slayer by competing in the TC category (as well TCA) and going against some seriously quick competition.
You can catch all three MINIs at VIR June 4th.