Leastone Racing Cars were established in 1993, when long time racer Paul Heavey (pictured right), built and raced his self-designed Leastone Formula Vee in the Irish Formula Vee championship. Following numerous wins and podiums during the ‘93 and ‘94 seasons, Heavey was approached by Dubliner Ray Moore, who tested the car at the end of 1994 and subsequently ordered the first customer Leastone for the 1995 season. Moore went on to finish runner up in the ’95 championship, winning at the prestigious Phoenix Park Motor Races along the way.
From then on, Leastone have enjoyed numerous championship wins in both Ireland and the UK and this success has been achieved through a number of different models over Leastone's 20 plus years. Below is a brief account of all of our various creations, from the JH001 prototype to the Leastone 1000 which was introduced in 2014.
The Leastone JH001 was completed in time for the 1993 Formula Vee season. Drawing on his 15 plus years of motorsport experience, Paul Heavey quietly rolled out the car at his local track, Mondello Park. The JH001 introduced some new features to Formula Vee, most notably its streamlined design and inboard suspension all round. The car was competitive straight out of the box and even won its first race, albeit the heat, on its first day. The cars pace carried through to the main event and the JH001 ran inside the top 6 until Heavey ended his race in the turn 3 bank, avoiding a spinning competitor. Drawing on the positives, Heavey was happy that he had built a car strong enough to allow him walk away from the heaviest impact of his motorsport career. While it’s creator was unharmed, the same cannot be said for the JH001 and upon review back at the Leastone base, the car was written off.
Heavey was buoyed by the performance the JH001 showed straight out of the box and immediately began work on his second chassis. Inboard rear suspension was dropped for the JH002 and this was the main change from Heavey’s first attempt. 1993 was spent refining the JH002 and Heavey hit the ground running in ’94 winning a handful of races. The cars pace attracted the first customer order for the 1995 season, when Ray Moore took delivery and promptly finished 2nd in the championship.
This was the start of a successful partnership, with Moore taking 3 British Formula Vee championship titles (‘96, ‘97 and ‘99) and one Irish Championship in the JH002 (’00). English man Trevor Welsh added another British Title to the JH002’s trophy cabinet with his 2001 title win. The team boss also took the JH002 to title glory with his win in 2004, while Ray Moore added to his 2000 championship win with 2006 title honours. It was to be the last title for the JH002.
In the middle of the JH002’s heyday, Paul Heavey was already looking ahead to the future. He built the JH003 as a test bed, specifically to test rear suspension layouts. The first iteration was equipped with a mono shock rear suspension, something that Heavey had observed on many cars in the UK championship. The main purpose of this route was to try reduce weight while removing the rear shocks from the air stream.
Heavey played with the monoshock option for a year but didn’t like the feel it gave to the car compared to the conventional twin shock mounting. He removed the monoshock and replaced it with an inboard twin shock option, both shock absorbers tightly mounted to the cars gearbox. This arrangement had a unique layout which increased the shocks efficiency by using a rocker and push rod to move the top of the shock but also made use of the axle tube to push the bottom of the shock.
This car made only a few competitive appearances but was battling for a win in the famous Phoenix Park races before Heavey suffered a broken front suspension, which was damaged earlier in the race when he was dive bombed by a fellow competitor. Heavey retired the car at the end of 2002, happy with what he had learned.
JH004 (2005-present day)
Lessons learned from the JH003 were used to great effect in the design of the next Leastone Model, the JH004. Heavey went back in time so to speak, having refined his inboard rear suspension, which had its roots all the way back to the JH001. He also spent more time on the looks of the car, moving from the JH002’s rounder shape to a boxier look, similar to the shape of the contempory Formula Fords. This was not only an attempt to modernise the look of the car but also to improve airflow.
Heavey had a few run outs in 2005 to refine the car himself and Ken Elliott took delivery of the first customer JH004 in 2006. He promptly took the cars first title in 2007.
Focus had shifted from Formula Vee as Heavey looked at avenues outside of the class and as such, the UK programme had been limited. The JH004 made a handful of outings in the UK and showed great pace on the fast and smooth UK tracks. Success continued in Ireland however, with Ray Moore adding 2010 and 2015 titles to his already hefty haul.
Having establishing itself in the Formula Vee market, Paul Heavey set about bringing slicks and wings racing to the budget racer. This idea resulted in the DH01 project which was unveiled at the Dublin motorshow back in late 2000. The car was unveiled sans wings and was equipped with the Suzuki RF900 engine. The first couple of years were spent developing the cars handling, drawing on the help of some of the established formula ford racers of the day.
The car had gained wings by the time the first customer car was released to Galway man Brian Melia. The car was renamed the Formula 5 and the inaugural championship was held in 2007. Unfortunately, the RF900 engine was not fit for purpose and number of engine problems hampered the first 2 years of the championship and interest in the Formula 5 began to tail off somewhat.
Paul Heavey had raced the car in the UK Monoposto championship with some success but could see that the car could not compete with the straight-line speeds of most of the cars in the class. He went back to the drawing board, removed the older RF900 engine and replaced it with the more popular GSXR 1000 engine. The reduced heat requirements of the more modern GSXR engine and a change in differential solved the DH01’s issues and Heavey continued to use the car as a test bed for next step in Leastones programme.
12 DH01’s were sold since it’s introduction and continue to be raced both on circuit and hillclimbs, in a variety of countries including France, the USA and the UK.
Leastone 1000 (2014-present day)
Paul Heavey drew on the experience gained during the DH01 project and went back to the drawing board once again. The result is the Leastone 1000. The car uses the GSXR 1000 engine but also is equipped with fully adjustable wings front and back. The car abandoned the differential unit that had an incorporated reverse to the more conventional direct drive approach, while still using a differential to minimise tyre wear.
2015 was spent refining the 1000 with numerous outings in both the Ireland and the UK where it faired well against more powerful and lightweight machines. Leastone decided to leave the power unit as standard as possible, instead focusing on weight shedding for 2016 in an effort to close the gap to the frontrunners in the MonoMoto class, which runs within the UK Monoposto championship. 2017 saw the car's first full attempt at the MonoMoto 1000 class, with Kildare native Mark Reade behind the wheel. With 2 wins and 5 podiums, Reade secured the MonoMoto 1000 crown at Donington Park, marking the Leastone 1000's first championship crown.