American Le Mans Series MINI Returning to ST with Two-Car LAP Motorsports Entry

Discussion in 'National Series' started by Administrator, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. Administrator

    Administrator Administrator Staff Member

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    A new Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge team will debut at Sebring International Raceway, when LAP Motorsports LLC fields the No. 37 MINI John Cooper Works Team.
    The Indianapolis-based team, headed by Luis Perocarpi, is looking to field two MINI JCWs in the event. While making his debut as a team owner, Perocarpi has been active in the Continental Tire Challenge and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship paddock for several years. He was instrumental in the start-up of Burton Racing, and also worked with Scuderia Corsa and JDC Motorsports.
    Driver lineups are yet to be announced.
    MINI Cooper was a staple of Street Tuner (ST) competition from 2001 through 2012, winning three races and seven poles. Its most recent victory was with RSR Motorsports at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2011, driven by Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo.
    Luis, do you have a long-time family tie to racing MINIs?
    “I drove MINIs when I was a teenager, along with my dad and my uncle. We raced the original classic MINIs, the MINI Cooper S, from the Sixties, and we raced them in the Eighties back home in Chile. Back then, there were no budgets to pave race tracks, so they were all road courses ”“ dirt road courses ”“ kind of like rally cross today. We were competitive ”“ actually quite dominant. I’ve always been a fan of the MINI personally, and I was a MINI owner of the latest Countryman even before I signed the contract with them. I was trying to put a program together throughout my career in racing, so it’s surreal that I’m back with MINI. But that’s how things work out in the racing world. Here we are, building cars and getting ready to go to Sebring.”
    What is your background in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the TUDOR Championship?
    “I was part of the initial program with Burton Racing in the Continental Tire Challenge. I had known Keith Burton from our young career when we started in the Barber Dodge days, and we originally shared a shop. We went to Daytona (in 2012) with a car we received from Fall-Line two days before leading. We totaled the car in the race, and I helped built the team’s first car. We then went our separate ways, and the team won the ST championship in 2013. I’ve been around the paddock. I helped Scuderia Corsa the year they won the GTD championship. I’ve helped out some really good programs. Last year, I worked with JDC in the TUDOR Championship Prototype Challenge class in parallel with my off-road program. *I’ve been sub-contracting with several teams over the years, and also have experience in the Ferrari Challenge.
    “Earlier in my career, I started in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. I worked for Champ Car teams ”“ Patrick Racing, Rahal, and I did a long stint for six years with HVM, which is now out of business. I quit in 2007 due to family commitments, and started my own race shop.”
    What is your experience racing off-road trucks?
    “I put together a little program just over a year ago with a good friend of mine. One of my ”˜bucket list’ things from when I was a kid was to compete in the Dakar Rally, and I grew up watching rallies. When my friend wanted to go off-road racing, we started up in January, 2014, and won our first race out of the box. We failed to finish our next three races ”“ but were leading when we DNFed, and then we won the Baja 1000. So we won the first and last races of the year ”“ and we could have won them all, leading every race in between. We’re doing the program again this year, and started off by repeating in the San Felipe 250.
    What can you say about your drivers and sponsors?
    “Our official title is the MINI John Cooper Works Team, MINI is our main sponsor. We are still in the process of talking to several drivers, and we hope to have some potential additional sponsors coming on board for Sebring. We are flat out. We are almost finished building the first car, and the second car is a couple of days behind. We’ll be finishing up just in time for load-in for Sebring. We’ll have one car for sure, but hope to have two cars there. Be sure to look us up in the paddock!”



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