Burton Upon Trent, September 25, 2013 – The closing round of the all-action MINI Challenge will take place at Donington Park at the weekend (28-29 September) where a healthy grid of John Cooper Works and Cooper Class drivers will use Pirelli’s control tyres to battle it out on the former Formula One circuit for the final time this season.
Eighteen-year-old Shane Stoney has excelled this season and currently leads both the overall and the Cooper Class standings. With a 49 point lead over Scotsman Hamish Brandon, Stoney looks set to be crowned the 2013 MINI Challenge champion. However, with three races taking place this weekend Brandon and third-placed Chris Smith could still mathematically win the championship.
Leading the turbo-charged JCW Class is Northern Ireland’s Chris Smiley. Smiley will be looking to fend off second-placed Jake Packun who is only 21 points from snatching the JCW title. Chris Smith – who finished runner-up in last year’s MINI Challenge – is currently third, 13 points behind Packun.
Constructed in 1931, Donington is one of the most well-established circuits in the UK. During the 1970s it was bought by businessman Tom Wheatcraft and in 1993 the circuit hosted the European Grand Prix, which saw Ayrton Senna take a dominant win of over one minute. Nowadays Donington is synonymous for producing some of the closest circuit racing in British motorsport and forms a round of both the British Touring Car and World Touring Car Championships.
Pirelli UK Motorsport Operations Manager, Matthew Corby, said: “Donington is a physically demanding circuit and with sections such as the Craner Curves, it proves a challenge for the Pirelli tyres too. The blind right of Coppice is another difficult corner to navigate but it can shave seconds off lap times if the drivers get it just right. Long-range weather forecasts show it will be quite humid over the weekend but we can expect some rain on Sunday so I am sure the drivers will be using slicks for the final race. With so few points separating second and third position, it’s all to play for at Donington but the drivers will have to ensure they don’t get carried away: this is a circuit which has caught out some of the world’s best drivers over the years.”
MINI Challenge series promoter, Antony Williams, concluded: “Donington is a fitting circuit for the last round of the MINI Challenge season with some of the most challenging sequences of
corners to be found on our calendar. The championship can still be won by any number of drivers and tyre management will no doubt play a part in the overall and class victories. The 2013 season has been a classic with great support from Pirelli, our sponsors and all our drivers, culminating with what promises to be the biggest grid of the season and for a number of years.”