John Cooper, an auto racing legend and co-founder of the British Motor Corporation, set the stage for a line of vehicles that changed the racing industry. John Cooper along with his father Charles Cooper worked to construct Formula racing cars and revolutionized the design of a typical racing car by placing the engine in the rear of the vehicle. Today, their names resonate through the MINI brand: MINI Cooper and John Cooper Works. The John Cooper Works line of MINIs are performance vehicles made for the public and are used in the John Cooper Works racing team. A big name in the John Cooper Works team are brothers Matt and Mark Pombo, bringing home several wins for the team. The Pombo family have been involved in racing their whole life and have carried on the “racing gene” for multiple generations.
The Pombo Family
For over 50 years, the Pombo family has been involved in racing beginning with their grandfather who was a participant in one of the greatest road races called the “Pan American” in Mexico during the early 1950s. The race extended from the Guatemala border north to the US border. Grandchildren Mathew and Mark continued their family’s racing legacy and ended up on the John Cooper Works racing team. As evident through the JCW racing team headlines: “MINI JCW Team Wins in Mid-Ohio Debut,” “MINI JCW Team Conquers The Bullring – Wins at Lime Rock Park,” “MINI JCW Team Takes the Manufacturers’ Championship,” and “MINI dominates at Watkins Glen,” the team’s success frequently places them on the podium. In the mid-Ohio debut last year in May, Mat and Mark Pombo held down first and second place with neither Porsche nor BMW drivers being able to close in for the final 45 minutes of the race. The Bullring at Lime Rock Park in July of last year ended with Mat in first and Mark in third, and fast forward to earlier this month as Mark Pombo took first at Watkins Glen. The Pombos began their road racing career in Spec Miata competing in the SCCA Southeast division of NASA and SCCA. Over the past decade in their professional career leading to the JCW team, they have been competing and winning races in SCCA Pro and IMSA. Currently, Mark’s three straight victories places him back in the hunt for a title.
MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop
The JCW team utilizes MINI’s most powerful Hardtop two-door John Cooper Works. Current specs for the 2019 MINI John Cooper Works include a TwinPower turbo, 2.0-liter, inline 4-cylinder direct-injection engine producing 228-hp with 236 lb-ft of torque. Along with these vehicle’s capabilities on the racetrack, MINI John Cooper Works Rally takes these vehicles on races through harsh conditions like ice, snow, mud, dirt, water and sand with modified suspensions giving them a true “dune buggy” look. The type of rally racing these MINIs are capable of are captured in this video from a drone point of view.
MINI Race Preparation
At North Bay Bavarian we love tuning, modifying and racing MINI Coopers. We’ve installed cold-air intakes, suspensions tunings, custom exhaust kits, and full race car preparation like roll cages and metal fabrication. It doesn’t have to stop there, as a performance driven shop we love the chance to take your MINI to the next level and have it running like it never has before. Our team of highly skilled MINI specialists are experienced in performance driven racing and custom builds as we have worked on cars that ran the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, NASA East and West Coast Championships, and the West Coast Spec E30 Series. Check out our race preparation page and give us a call at 707-545-0820 to get your project MINI started!