Another classic character from the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship paddock, no driver has been in the field longer that its senior statesman, Mike Lee. The first of our profiled drivers to get his start at the famed John Powell racing school before it switched from Formula Fords in the early eighties, Lee bought a school car and has made nearly every one of his race starts in it – covering more than thirty years at Mosport! He took on a new challenge last year, and raced his way to third in the championship while earning the MK Technologies Hard Charger Award.
More to the story? Of course!
How long have you been racing?
I had always had an interest in racing. My Dad raced a Morris Minor in the 60’s and he used to take me to the track. My brother-in-law also raced in the Jim Russell series at Snetterton and I had the chance to go there and sit in a Formula Ford. In 1982 I went to the CanAm race at Mosport and that sealed it for me, I was going racing. In 1983 I took the school at Mosport run by John Powell and rented one of his cars for my first race at Shannonville.
How many race cars have you owned?
Two. A Lola T540E and a Van Diemen RF92. The Lola was originally one of the school cars at Mosport. I bought it between the ‘83 and ‘84 seasons. I still have it and am planning to run it again. The RF92 I have had for about a year. I needed a new challenge and wanted to learn how these cars work. I will let you know if I find out.
How long have you raced F1600?
Since 1983, but only about 20-30 minutes at a time. I think the Lola has over 30,000 miles on it.
What is your # and why did you choose it?
25. I had wanted 47, which was my Dad’s number, but it was taken. I chose 25 from the available numbers. I didn’t choose it for any particular reason but after more than 30 years I’m getting used to it.
What other classes have you raced?
None, well Libre, but in Formula Fords. I did drive my Dad’s Hawke DL11 once and beat a Lola T70 at Mosport.
What track raced has been your favourite?
Mosport. If you’ve driven it you know why. It’s fast and still a challenge. I have spun pretty much everywhere and am acquainted with a number of its walls and tire barriers.
What track would you love to race around?
Spa, because it’s awesome.
What is your greatest racing memory?
I am a club racer and just like hanging out at the track when I can. I have been lucky enough to win a few class championships and awards but looking back it’s the people that you remember. So things like having dinner and a beer in the paddock with friends are the best memories. And if you are doing that it usually means the car is ready to go, so that’s a bonus.
Favourite driver from any generation?
I don’t have just one. These guys were all pretty good: Jimmy Clark. Gilles, Senna, Peterson, Bellof.
Do you plan to be on the grid in 2018?
Hopefully, if I can get at least one of my cars back together.