So here we go again with another season or racing, for the last 4 years I have raced in mostly 20 minute sprint races with the odd longer 45 minute race in both the Radical SR1 Cup and Lotus Elise Trophy and it has always been the longer races I have enjoyed the most and have been the most competitive at so for this year we thought we'd try something different, endurance racing in the Elise in the 750 Motor Club 'Club Enduro' championship, which it turn out is the biggest grid in UK motorsport, for our first race at Donington we had 58 cars on track which certainly kept me busy for the 2 hour+ race.
So there are 3 classes we could enter depending on the power to weight, we decided to unleash all of the Elise's power to be bang on the 300bhp per tonne limit to be in the top class A group, I was going to share the drive with my driver coach Tom and we really thought that we could be competitive and maybe fight for the title, how wrong we were.
We arrived at Donington for Friday practice but we suffered brake issues all morning but once we sorted them we soon realised that the Touring Car type cars, TCR's for short, are much faster than us even though we all run to the 300bhp per tonne limit, they are basically specially built race cars where our Elise is a road car we turned into a race car.
Anyway come race day I did my mandatory 3 laps for qualifying then Tom went out to see what could be achieved, he is basically one of the quickest guys around and he could only manage 14th on the grid, it was decided I would start the race and Tom would jump in at the fuel stop. I must admit I was a little nervous at the start as I starting higher up than my natural speed would normally put me being Tom qualified and at the start I got eaten alive by all the quicker guys but in the end I fell back to where my pace was competitive and settled into the race, after an hour or so I was summoned into the pits for a fuel stop and driver change, I jumped out the car and refueling started and whilst out the car I decided that I'd like to do the whole race which Tom was happy with as I need the practice and he doesn't and at the end of the day we weren't competitive so I may as well get more seat time, so in the end I did the full 2 hours and 5 minutes which I must say was brilliant fun, towards the end though I could see I was getting low on fuel and as I was going through the Craners with a couple of minutes left when the car spluttered and I thought, bugger, I'm not going to finish the race so I decided I would limp home to the pits but as I came round the last corner the chequered flag was out so I just made it across the line to finish, talk about relieved.
In the end we finished 25th out of 58, there were quite a few Elise's entered and we finished as the top Elise so I guess that's something to take away from the weekend, but it certainly wasn't the weekend we were hoping for, at the end of the day though I loved being in the car for 2 hours+.
What to do for the rest of the season? well there are 6 rounds left, I have decided to do the next one at Croft in 2 weeks as never raced there then we are off to Spa in July so will do that as that is a huge tick on the bucket list then I will decide what to do from there, I have an historic racing itch I'd like to scratch but more on that later.
Please find sme pics below, they are quite funny as they make you realise just how small the Elise is.