Now in its 47th season the Mini Se7en Challenge has been providing great racing at an affordable price. Much has changed since the first ever Formula Mini 7 race in 1966 but the Mini Se7ens still provide great entertainment for driver and spectator alike.
Mini Se7ens use a modified 998cc A Series engine and the 650kg Mini can reach 60mph in 6.6 seconds, with a top speed of around 110mph. Running on treaded racing Dunlop rubber the cars stick to the road like the proverbial go-kart!
This formula provides some great racing and draws many entrants each year. One of these entrants, backed by Mini Sport, is Leon Wightman of Team AL Motosport.
Having visited Mini Sport earlier this year for some bodywork maintenance and repairs, AL Motorsport then proceeded to transplant a Selby Engine and upgrade the ECU. This coupled with a Race Technology Dash 2 and DL1 data logger, the car was brought into the 21st century. Having been finished the day of the first race Leon was set to go for 2014 and had high hopes of improving on last years performance, where he finished the season in 10th, as he now had a substantially upgraded Mini.
The season started at Castle Combe where it proved to be very difficult as many were having toothing problems and there were several incidents. This helped Leon who had some teething problems of his own and helped him finish in 8th and 6th. The issues were resolved and he went on to finish a well-earned 6th in both Rounds at Brands Hatch, during the Brands Hatch Mini Festival… a consistent start!
Now on high from Brands Hatch, Leon was looking forward to the new test of Cadwell Park, a course had never driven. However during free practice Leons Mini 7 lost all oil pressure and smoke began to billow from the car, all he could do was park up and pray for some good fortune. Unfortunately the weekend was over prematurely as the Oil Line out of the Engine Block had become unattached. Point dropped!
Thruxton marked the half way point and was more encouraging with Leon picking up the pace to finish in 6th and then 5th, moving him back up to 6th overall in the Championship with Oulton Park Mini Festival was next up in the season Calendar. Oulton Park proved to be a great weekend for Leon with a solid 5th in the first round there and then and pleasing 2nd place. It seemed Leon on his AL Motorsport Mini 7 had clicked and carved their way through the field, even overtaking the reigning champion. A great set of results left him in a healthy 5th position overall.
Donnington is one of Leon’s personal favourites and was up next as the penultimate track for the season. It seemed it was a favourite for a reason as he drove superbly to take 4th in the first race of the day and then made the most of a pile-up at the hairpin to jump up the field, hold his own and eventually take 2nd with a double overtake on the last corner! This bumped Leon up to 4th in the standings with two rounds left to play.
Croft Circuit was met with both anticipation and trepidation in equal amounts as all was to play for. Leon started well and was up to 3rd in the first race before dropping back to fifth. Leon eventually grabbed another place to finish 4th. This would prove to have been a good result as the last race of the season didn’t go to plan. Running in 6th, Leon was having a tussle as he approched the esses and some minor touches took place. This resulted in a puncture that threw Leon and his little Mini 7 straight into a freshly ploughed field and ending his race and season early.
However this bad luck had a silver lined cloud, as the points couldn’t change any more, effectively giving Leon 4th position in this years challenge.
“It’s a fantastic result and I have achieved so much more than I had set myself set at the beginning of the year. To have taken 2 x 2nd place finishes, 1x fastest lap and 4th overall is a superb pay day for all the hard work and effort that the whole team put in. A lot of which is in part down to Mini Sport.”
We are extremely happy for Leon and would like to congratulate him on what was a great season with plenty of progress shown.. who know how next season will shape up!