Mini Se7ens Review: Round 9 & 10 at Donington
The Mini Sport Race team have had a crazy season at the Mini Se7ens Championship this summer and with only four more rounds on two separate dates until this years championship draws to a close, the tracks continue to become more challenging with dramatic performances from the drivers, who will be taking their Mini Se7ens through some serious paces at Oulton Park and Silvertone in the coming weeks.
Following round 9 & 10 at Donington Park, we spoke to Adam Smith – Mini Sport sponsored driver about his experiences at one of Britain’s most popular racing circuits which homes World Championship Events for prestigious names in motorsport and his weekend efforts as part of this increasingly challenging championship…
The lead up to Donington was a fraught one for car 44, no clutch, no water hose, no shocks, and no time! Fortunately the whole Minisport Racing team pulled together and by the Thursday the clutch was working, just the freshly rebuilt shocks and new water hose to fit Friday morning. It was a mixed weekend for both cars – with lots of last minute adjustments on the Friday, before heading off in the pouring rain…
Qualifying was not going bad for Adam in car 44, slight understeer in the fast corners, but other than that, it was learning the track again as he had not been there for some years. Adam was rewarded with a 9th and 7th for race 1 and 2 respectively, only to find out one of the suspension doughnuts had collapsed. Changing it track side was not really an option without putting all the corner weights out, so he went in to the first race slightly on the back foot. Unfortunately, Leon Wightman and car #4 was not so lucky, and only managed one lap before pulling off with a fuel feed issue; both races saw Leon start from the back of the grid…
Above: Leon Wightman #4 and Adam Smith #44 at the previous round at Brands Hatch, Adam preps #44 for Donington.
Saturday’s race was a dry one; the race started 3 a breast down the craner curves to the old hairpin, the whole was grid nose to tail as the cars shuffled in to the fastest train in Leicestershire. The top 5 all started to bunch up, tripping over each other, Adam had a great run on 3 cars, committed to getting inside Paul Spark. As Adam was already turning in to the corner, a wide entrance from Paul left him unsighted and to two collided. Fortunately no major damage would be done, just a tracking issue for Adam. Later in the race the car seemed to lose cornering, speed and brakes! Adam managed to bring it home in 9th, a result that Adam regards as ‘a good result, but could have been so much more’… This was later found to be a lose hub nut. Lucky it held till the end of the race. Mean while Leon Wightman and #4 successfully claimed 13th after a back row start. Saturday afternoon was all hands on deck again, adjusting and tweaking to get race ready for Sunday.
Sunday was in danger of being a very wet race, with many having to make hopeful tyre choices – but the wind blew most of the rain clouds over before the start and held off for most of the race. Car #44 maintained 7th place for most of the race battling with reining champions Andrew Deviny and Max Hunter, despite an increasingly wobbly wheel! Adam managed to gain a few positions as the rain started to fall, making conditions very difficult but nonetheless keeping hold of the leading back until nearly half way through the match when Adam unfortunately took a scenic detour on the chicane, dropping down to 13th. After 3 laps Adam was back up to 9th place and climbing but simply ran out of track time – a brilliant recovery with the 3rd fast lap from those that finished. In 10 laps Leon had managed to climb from the back of the grid to an impressive 8th position. Overall a great set of results for both drivers!
Above: On the track at Donington Race Track.
Adam informed us that later inspection showed that the same wheel nut had come undone again! ‘It will be a busy 2 weeks for Minisport Racing to get both cars ready for the Mini Festival at Oulton Park, New suspension from MiniSport, new hub, new bearings all round, and that is just one car!’
More photos to follow over on our Facebook page here.