Lotus GT Drivers – In Spain
Q. Where do you go to find four former Lotus Esprit-racing British
Paddock was full of recent talent from the British GT Championship
Balfe and current team-mate Nigel Taylor were at the venue for rounds
three and four of the Spanish GT Championship, in the Balfe Motorsport
Mosler – the pair taking second place in race two of the weekend.
However, close inspection of the SEAT Cupra entry list showed two
other former Esprit drivers. Matt Johnson and Robert Ross (right)
have been regulars in the SEAT Championship since last season, and
are showing the local drivers exactly how good they are too.
Johnson picked up a third place in the opening race of the weekend,
with team-mate Ross following him across the line, before taking
victory in the second race. What should have been a one-two for
the pair ended after Ross suffered from handling problems while
leading, and had to settle for another fourth place.
“The racing here is so competitive,” said a smiling
Johnson. “I qualified third for the first race and Rob was
only half a second away from me and was down in 12th! He was gutted
he was that far back, but that’s how tight it is at the front
here. Robert Huff – last year’s UK Seat Cupra Champion
and a BTCC factory SEAT driver this season – came to the final
round last season and we wiped the floor with him. It’s just
like another league,” he added.
“I saw that Shaun and Nigel were down on the entry (for Jarama)
before we came over so I was going to wander down the pit-lane and
see how they were getting on. We’ll be at all the other rounds
together too, so it’s good to see familiar faces when you’re
racing in another country.”
Johnson and Ross also gave the Balfe / Taylor pair some valuable
insights on racing lines around the tricky Spanish venue, after
competing at all of the current circuits last season.
There might be another chance for fans to see Johnson’s GTO
spec Lotus Esprit in action yet too.
“We’ve still got it!” grinned Johnson. “It
hasn’t turned a wheel since we finished doing GTs. It would
probably make a really good Cup Class car now: to be honest, it
never really had the power to match the really quick GTO boys. But
we showed them the sort of handling we had at places like Oulton
and Croft. We might give it an airing in the Britcars at some point
too. We think it would be good for those races.
be interested in it and would be able to do some more development
work on it, there is definitely more speed in that car.”