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2015 Donington Park

posted 6 Aug 2015, 13:25 by Kieren McDonald
Rounds 9 & 10 of the Dunlop Mini Se7en Challenge, sponsored by Mini Spares, was held at the East Midlands circuit of Donington Park; National formation. A great high speed, flowing circuit and not too close from our Milton Keynes base BUT not so great being woken by low flying planes in & out of the airport! The event was headline by the Trucks, so little and large, with us in minis. If you haven’t seen the Trucks in action, I’d recommend to watch them some time – plumes of smoke, whistling turbos and lots of sideways action.

Mini Spares #5 mini se7en and driver had been expertly prepped once again by Hunter Racetech and Selby Race Engines so there was little to do upon arrival. Once set up we were able to cover the car with a high quality, all weather cover supplied by Mini Spares to keep the elements away overnight. The qualifying session soon came following scrutineering, allowing us to test our rubber on the infamous Craner Curves. The car didn’t seem to be gaining speed and was very twitchy on the bends so I was soon back into the pits to see if anything could be found in the little time. Nothing obvious was seen so headed back out but experienced the same problems. The races were going to be exciting starting from 24th and 23rd. The problem turned out to be issues with rear brakes locking on so that was soon sorted back in the paddock ready for Race 1 later in the day.

A busy grid ahead of me starting back in 24th, I had an average start but was able to position myself well and gain places through the first few turns. Unfortunately many of the positions were undone whilst avoiding an incident at McLeans so leaving myself plenty of work to do. I was able to retake places and more to finish in 14th. I struggled to hook it up, with the car and circuit so had a good debrief and video review with Hunter and Selby crews. Thankfully there wasn’t an awful lot to do in preparation for Race 2 but Hunter Racetech ensured it was well prepared to give me the best possible chance of having a good run in the next race.

Race 2 on Sunday was forecast to be during the start of a thunderstorm but in true mini se7en championship tradition, it didn’t come early enough, although did start a little. There was a split amongst teams which tyres to go with, some chancing wets in hope of further downpours although we stayed on dry’s. I was determined to sort my driving out and make the most of changeable conditions. Starting 23rd, I had an ok start from 23rd and again positioned myself to allow further moves through the next few corners. Once again an incident put a stop to further progress – of all places, down Craner Curves, having to move off circuit unnecessarily and therefore plunging through the gravel at the Old Hairpin! The grid disappeared from me leaving a huge task ahead of me. I managed to get my head in and started attacking, taking some time to even get back with the back of the pack before then dicing my way through. The circuit stated getting slippery in places – a little more than expected in the braking zone for Fogarty Esses when making a pass. I had no choice but to shoot straight through the gravel, narrowly missing a beached car and back out onto the circuit back a few places. After quite an eventful but much better drive, I finished 12th – given the events, I was reasonably happy with that.

It wasn’t quite the results I was aiming for but a good weekend was had. It was good to see my little family and friends and a big thanks as always to our sponsors and supporters that help us majorly in this challenging championship. Mini Spares continue to provide excellent quality parts and service. Selby Race Engines and Hunter Racetech provide me a great racer and support in all areas. Matthew Barrington Race Photography provides great photographs and social media support. British Mini Club and Mini Magazine provides great support all year round. Thanks everyone! Next rounds are all in one very busy day at Oulton Park Mini Festival 8th August!! Hope to see you there.

Race 1 video highlights: 

Race 2 video highlights: 

Check out all the in-car video footage from throughout the season!
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