The Mini Se7en Racing Club will revive the prestigious Graham Hill Memorial Trophy as part of a new young driver initiative for next season, and the award has been backed by the Hill family.
To attract more teenage drivers into the Mini Se7en Championship, the club will award the historic trophy to the top driver aged under 17 in the S Class category, which caters for 1275cc Minis with limited modification.
The award has been backed by the Hill family. Two-time Formula 1 world champion Graham Hill had been honorary vice president of the Mini 7 Racing Club prior to his death in an air accident in 1975. Graham’s wife, Bette Hill, presented the original trophy to the M7RC before the 1977 season and it will now be recommissioned.
The award has gained the blessing of Graham’s son, 1996 world champion Damon Hill, who said: “The Hill Family are delighted that the Mini Se7en racing Club are reinstating this trophy, especially as it gives a superb platform to younger drivers to get noticed early on in their careers. Graham Hill was all for encouraging young people. I’m sure he’d have been thrilled to see it continued.”
Two leading Mini racers have already signed members of their family up to the Mini Se7en S Class for next year. Jonathan Lewis – Se7en champion in 1980 – has registered his 16-year-old daughter Morgan to race. Nick Swift – boss of leading engine firm Swiftune – will also support his 16-year-old son Ben next year.
M7RC’s Colin Peacock said: “We have a lot of drivers stepping up from places like Autograss [where you can race from the age of 12-16 in the Junior class] and the S Class is the perfect first step into circuit racing as it offers close racing on a controlled budget.
“Numbers have taken off in recent years, with 10-12 cars now running at each round, and this fantastic award will work nicely as an extra reward to attract younger drivers.”