Well had great end of week and week-end, drove from Geneva on Wednesday last week (960 km) to hook of Holland, took the overnight ferry to Harwich which arrived at 6:30 on Thursday then 120 km to Hethel, had an appointment to drop the car at Lotus Sport at 8:00, so plenty of time...well after getting lost (no GPS you see) stopped at a Lotus in Long Stratton who very kindly give me simple directions in writing to get to the factory, which was nice.
Arrived around 9:00....meet up with Rowland and team and get car into workshop (geo, track check, rear tow thingy, corner weighing) get a lift back to Hotel (nice, saved me taxi ride) then rest for the day, next morning take a cab to Lotus, to collect car, ready just after twelve (longer than expected cos they changed suspension fittings to uprated ones, needed to get proper setup done) have a natter with Rowland and mechanic who worked on car who explain what they did and stuff, very pro, mechanic takes car for testing (lucky it had just stopped raining...) then Nick passes by and gives me some very sound advise about my seats (mog racing carbon that I had transfered from previous car) will not go into detail on public forum, but strongly suggest that anybody who was considering same should contact Nick (or pm me), personally I had already decided to get the new FIA seats....oh and the fabric tonneau cover is coming..honest very soon.
Thats covers it for the workshop, cant recommend it enough, these people really care about your Lotus, probably even more for the 2-11 that was their baby.
Saturday I did the bronze day which was a lot of fun, and although "basic" does provide a good basis for the silver, personally would combine it like I did, since its not tiring that you will be tired the next day and is a good ease in to the way the knowledge is passed, and when possible you will do the next day with the same instructor, which saves times since he has already a good idea of your weaknesses.
You also do a factory visit, which if you have never done is well worth it, as is the visit to classic lotus at the end of the day (must say I could not help laughing when in the factory the organiser of the day, a great guy with a lot knowledge, says "and this is way the geo on all new lotuses is send precisely and identically" when my car had been quite out on toe and camber...mind you had the decency to smile after having given me a very pointed look)
Sunday, up early for the silver day, now when you read the program it does not sound that intensive...but you get adequate time out for each activity, and contrary to a lot of days organised by others, the instructor is always in the car with you, which means that you are getting real time feedback 100% of the time.
Plus, and I dont know of another manufacturer who does this, all the instructors have an in-depth knowledge of the car (in some cases having participated or still participating in its actual developement) so when they are explaining handling issues they really know what they are talking about, and can answer any query you may have.
I have done several manufacturer driving courses (including BMW, which are good, but more biased at showing off the tech features of their car eps,abs etc...) and some track tuition and the type of exercises are very similar (which is logical since their are only so many way you can demonstrate handling features) , and the real difference with Lotus is that you really get a in-depth understanding of what and why things are happening. To illustrate, I do quite a few track days, and had noticed that once I have "learnt" the track, I would progressively build up speed and start getting round to within 4 or 5 seconds (on a 1.33/1.34 track) of a "good" driver with my car, but could never really narrow that gap significantly, because if i pushed more then my comfort level would diminish and starting to brake later, get on the gas sooner, while more dramatic, was not improving lap times... and on hindsight I already know some turns when I can get round faster, simply because after going round the Lotus track with the instructor I realise what is happening to the car, and importantly what I am doing wrong with the car in the aforementioned turns.
So worth it ? definitively.
Anyway after finishing the course on Sunday, I head out for the ferry which lands me Holland at 7:30, and then make my way back to Geneva..and I get rained upon for 300 km...and I mean rained upon..it was like being under the shower...not much fun...but you really appreciate it when you are back in the sun..
The only bad news is that my lotus eat "something" on the belgium motorway, no idea what..did not see any blood !!?? but not pretty