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Perocarpi: MINI Aiming for ST Title in IMSA Swan Song

MINI looks to end its time in Continental Tire Challenge with a manufacturers’ title…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

LAP Motorsports team owner Luis Perocarpi says his team is motivated to end MINI’s time in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge on a high note after a history-making run for the marque in the championship.

MINI enters the season finale at Road Atlanta with a two-point deficit to BMW in the ST class manufacturers’ championship and three entries eager to snatch the trophy in the final race for the class.

Perocarpi, who is part of the team’s driver lineup alongside Georgia native Mark Pombo this weekend, said he hopes to close MINI’s time in IMSA by adding to the brand’s sports car racing legacy.

“It’s a super big weekend for us with it being our last weekend for MINI in IMSA,” Perocarpi told Sportscar365.

“That’s huge for us and our partnership trying to go away with the best finish we can. It is close. We’re two points behind the BMW, so the best finishing car pretty much takes it.

“We’ll come out swinging as we normally do one last time. The whole crew’s super excited and we’ll do what we do every weekend.”

While the MINI brand is still perhaps most associated with success in rallying, Perocarpi said winning at many of North America’s iconic road courses in IMSA has added a new dimension to the marque’s motorsports heritage.

“For us to be so competitive and to win major races like Daytona, Watkins Glen, Sebring, you’re talking about some amazing venues that have massive history,” he said.

“The MINI JCW Team built a street car, we came here to race, and we left behind some pretty good history for MINI.

“We’ve just added to MINI’s 1960’s Monte Carlo Rally legacy when they came in and dominated. We’ve actually ran in IMSA probably the most succesful production MINI in the world in modern times, so that’s pretty gratifying.”

With one chapter left to write for both the ST class and MINI’s time in Continental Tire Challenge, Perocarpi said two achievements from the IMSA era stand out above the others.

“For me what stands out is our win this year at Sebring because that’s my favorite track,” he said.

“I’ve done terrible at Sebring my whole life whether it’s as a mechanic or racing or whatever, and as a team we struggled all the way until this year when we finished 1-2. For me, that was a massive win.

“But last year was our breakthrough win at Daytona. Nobody expected it at Daytona with the importance on aerodynamics there, and not only did we win it but we dominated the race. That’s something to brag about.

“For MINI it’s probably Daytona, but for me personally it’s probably Sebring. Overall as a team, to create a lot of history for MINI with a production car in modern racing, that is pretty big.”

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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