If any track on the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge circuit would reward sleek aerodynamics, you’d think it would be Daytona International Speedway.
So how to explain the win last month for the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona by the boxiest car in the Street Tuner field, the No. 73 MINI JCW, driven by Mat Pombo and Derek Jones? “It isn’t the most ‘aero’ car for Daytona, so this is a little unexpected,” said Jones, especially compared to the three Porsche Caymans that finished second, third and fourth.
You explain it with power, of which the Mini Cooper has plenty. Team owner and former racer Luis Perocarpi, who grew up racing Minis back home in Chile, long thought the team’s first win might be on a long, fast track. For example, one of his cars had fastest race lap at Road America which, at four miles, is the longest track the series competes on.
At the Chicago Auto Show, which is underway now, the MINI exhibit is featuring the Daytona-winning car, dirt and dents in place. It may look a bit out of place, just as it does racing against Porsches on the track, but everybody loves an underdog story.