Race Car Live! - Lotus
There was time for a spin in a rather special Lotus Exige for the
dsc Deputy Ed. at a gloriously sunny Brands Hatch on Sunday: it
was T-shirt weather.. at the end of October.
a supercharged Honda VTEC engine,” said a smiling Chris Randall,
”Simon Scuffham’s company has sold about 2-300 of these
conversions now, all over the world.”
in the Exige, Elise, or even in a very splendid looking 340R, is
extremely neat and the results on track are stunning.
A bog standard
Elise is no slouch, but this car pumps out 300bhp and it is accompanied
by a very tuneful VTEC scream too!
car could do with some attention to the handling,” said Randall
as he threw the car into Paddock Hill Bend. To the untrained eye
though the handling was sublime, and the braking too! An errant
Ford Fiesta was sticking to the racing line like a drunken sailor
and it was a case of pick your moment, make sure he’s seen
you in the mirrors and blast past – and blast past this thing
With so little
weight, the Deputy Ed’s “Who ate all the pies?”
physique aside, the 300 horses provide an instant surge of power,
humbling much bigger cars in the process: a Ferrari 355 was despatched
with no drama whatsoever.
the car here midweek for a corporate day and McLaren was here with
some SLR customers. They kept having to pit though, as they seemed
to be unwilling to have us overtake them on the straight!”
The Lotus garage
was a hive of activity throughout the day: it seems that the initiative
to provide a stepping stone into real racing for the trackday warriors
is off to a flying start.
On Track is a thriving club anyway, with Lotus owners able to
take advantage of a huge range of circuits, where they can thrash
around to their hearts' content: anywhere from Abbeville and Anglesey,
through the regular UK tracks, to Zandvoort in Holland - and it's
very cheap! Spa is among the more expensive at £160 for the
day, but prices dip as low as £60.
New for 2007
is the Lotus On Track Racing Club, "which
is intended for our track day customers who want to go racing,"
explains Simon Scuffham, below. "Since the AutoBytel series
folded, there has been nowhere for Lotus guys to race. No one takes
any money out of this project, so prices are very keen - and we've
planned it so that you can get on the grid for less than £10,000.
All three classes
run on Yokohama control tyres, "and there will obviously be
tyre support at every meeting next year, while we've got arrangements
with Safety Devices for the roll cages, plus suppliers of fire extinguishers,
seats and harnesses. Three Lotus garages will be on hand with a
wide range of spare parts, so the customer doesn't need to worry
about parts being available if he has a problem."
A lot of thought
has gone into this 2007 racing programme: "13 of us are on
the committee and we've spent hours getting together and working
out the details."
With five months
to go before racing starts, "we're over-subcribed. The season
starts here at Brands on March 25, and we've already got 45-50 people
who want to race."
yet to be finally confirmed, is looking something like Brands Hatch,
Silverstone, Oulton Park, Donington Park, Castle Combe, Snetterton,
Spa and Brands Hatch.
The cars will
race in three classes:
Class A - standard road cars, typically Series
1 and 2 Elises, fitted with the necessary safety equipment, plus
a change of wheels to suit the Yokohama control tyres. A good number
of drivers are planning to drive to the circuits, but the organisers
will be laying on two or three trailers "just in case".
Class B - more powerful cars but still road-legal
and still fairly standard, and running on the same control tyres.
Class C - typically the supercharged Honda versions,
those running big K Series engines and supercharged Vauxhall VXs,
all on the same rubber as A and B.
There will be
two races at each meeting, each of 20 minutes, preceded by 20 minutes
race is a straightforward scratch race," continues Simon Scuffham,
"but the second one is a handicap race based on each car's
best lap in either qualifying or in race 1. In theory, the whole
field should cross the line and take the chequered flag together
- it should be very entertaining! We're hoping to have Class A cars
taking the overall win sometimes - while the Class Cs will have
to make up three laps on some circuits. Half the points for the
meeting come from the handicap race, with the other half from qualifying
(one-third of the other half) and race 1 (two-thirds).
half of the drivers will be going racing for the first time,"
concludes Simon Scuffham. "We're aiming to keep it friendly,
keep costs under control and make it entertaining - and we don't
want any ********* racing with us!"