Driver Spotlight: Derek Jones
Driver, No. 73 MINI JCW Team MINI
What was it like to be able to deliver a win for the team at Daytona?
“It was truly an honor. We are lucky to have really formed a family with LAP and MINI, so when we can perform well, it is not only great as a driver but as a member of the family you feel that you’ve contributed.
“We’ve all put in so much time developing the car, studying every aspect, that when we won we knew we had earned it. Everyone involved worked so hard for the win and MINI is so incredibly passionate that it means the world.”
What were the last few laps of that race like for you?
“Insane nail biter. Sitting on the wall it feels that it would be easier to be in the car. We’ve had a few last lap disappointments last year so we were all there biting our nails.
“That being said, having a Pombo in the car is like having an ace up your sleeve. Mat is a calculated killer on track, so if there is one driver on track at the end of the race, I’m betting on that horse.”
How much do you think a strong car at Daytona will translate to the rest of the tracks on the schedule?
“Daytona showed that everything we have been working on is beginning to come together. We were the fastest car through the infield on all the sheets, while the slowest at top end.
“Our car is strong at the high speed corner tracks like Mosport, Road America, Road Atlanta, but now we have the potential to be a bit stronger on the tracks that have tight transition corners which makes for a stronger season.
“We will most likely still struggle at low traction tracks like COTA, Mazda Raceway and potentially Sebring, but hopefully not.”
What makes Sebring a challenge for the MINI?
“Sebring is tough for the MINI. The tight transition corners and the low adhesion are difficult to overcome with our powerplant and dynamic stability control. With that said, Rob our co-owner/engineer designed a new [differential] and worked with KW to design a shock that will hopefully work better at Sebring.”
What would you consider a successful weekend at Sebring?
“A top-10 would be successful, and a lucky weekend would put us in the top-five.”