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Newbie seeking advice prior to purchase

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Hello everyone, I am new to your group.... and want some genuine advice > I am looking to get a lotus elise s2 in the next week or so BUT have great concerns about using this as my day to day car. Now I am not bothered about the interior/ or lack of it :) cos I am not that bothered about any of the creature comforts but having seen the crashes on youtube etc I am a bit worried the damn thing will spin out of control at the slightest bit of under or oversteer. I do not drive that fast at all, nor do I or will I be racing on a track so can this honestly be used day to day without heading into a wall ? I guess this clip is essentially what concerned me >

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb0m-6VSC1s and also

Thanks in advance and appreciate serious feedback :) > Gavin

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It's hard to say for the first accident, I couldn't see what was going on at the exit of the tunnel. The 2nd accident was due to lifting off in a corner and also change of gradient and could have been easily avoided by either entering the corner slower and avoiding the need to brake or by keeping on the gas and braking when in a straight line and on level ground.

These cars do perhaps crash more often than normal cars but they are driven much harder than normal cars, it's akin to saying F1 cars are deadly as they are always crashing, it's the environment and use. The guy was driving a car too fast for him beyond his capabilities, it's nothing to do with the car apart from it can go quicker than his skills allow and make it seem easy at first. The Elise pretty much defines how a sports car should handle, it's about as good as it gets but you have to treat it with respect and don't expect 10 computers to keep you in a straight line when you knob up.

Welcome by the way. :)


88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Bibs...what actually causes the car to spin out when you lift off....explain the physics please Sir :)


Marge: Homer, I don't want you driving around in a car you built yourself.

Homer : Marge, you can either sit there complaining, or you can knit me some seat belts...

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whilst you are pressing the throttle there is force continually coming from driving wheels to push the car forwards, this is sufficient along with the tyre grip to over come the sideways forces on the car, once you lift off you dramatically drop the forward force, so if the lateral force is high enough your car (or tail) goes sideways and results in either a sideways slide or a spin.

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back to the original question, can you use an Elise every day.

i had my Elise 111s for 3yrs and it was my only car / daily driver for the majority of this time.

For a year the Elise was the only car in our house so we used it every day / week including shopping trips to tesco etc.

For the other 2 years my other half had her own car but i still used it as my only car

We took it on weekends to France and went everywhere in it - you really have to drive like an idiot to have trouble with the handlng.

Find a low mileage one with good service history and you should be safe and very happy.


construction and property consultants : My company

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The 1st may be that hes putting his foot on the brake and the accelerator at the same time. Panic's and puts the E-brake on? Don't know hard to tell.

Looking at the 2nd video, it looks like the other cars in front put there brakes on just before the cornor. This guy doesnt seem to slow down at all, what looks like its that what started his bad day.

Also many on here will say that when your driving as a convoy you tend to drive a little more madder then what you normaly do. Its either trying to keep up or just showing off or taking a risk that you normaly wont do. If you know your car and its limits then you know how to handle it. If you take risk's its up to you.

Edited by Petrol feet driven

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The first guy was listening to Funky Town :) what would you expect from a guy driving too fast in a tunnel and then blinded by the white light of stupidity when he exited the tunnel to fast...Clearly his fault due to poor taste in music....

The second guy was out of his element in the twisties, holding the wheel into the turn while the front wheels were unweighted coming over the crest of the hill, once the weight transfer to the front it was instant oversteer.....


I think it's fast enough…maybe

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Inevitably videos of people crashing get repeated airing compared to the many safe miles people do. And both those videos have been debated on numerous car boards.

If you've only ever driven FWD cars and are thinking about an Elise it's well worth planning on doing some driver training, eg with CarLimits or CAT, in the car you buy fairly soon after you get it. You can then find out how the car performs in a safe setting. Often crashes are because people instinctively apply learnt behaviour from FWD when they get into trouble, like lifting off mid corner if you think you've gone in too fast. Letting go of all the controls in a spin at 70mph on an airfield and watching the Elise straighten itself out is genuinely eye-opening about how capable these cars are when you know a bit more about how they need to be driven.

Some training, respect for the car, recognition of your own level of skill, driving within the conditions and you'll have many happy miles thumbsup.gif

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Bibs...what actually causes the car to spin out when you lift off....explain the physics please Sir :)

When you lift off the weight transfers from the rear to the front making the back lighter, in a corner that induces oversteer in the same way braking does and opposite to acceleration which promotes oversteer. Its similar to the pendulum effect - can happen with side to side motion as well ie chicanes / tank slappers :)

As a rule I personally wouldn't have an issue driving ANY car day to day becuase the common denominator in any crash is the person behind the wheel - without the person, the car doesn't crash.

The exceptions being extreme bad weather - I dont drive mine in the snow or the sheeting rain, simply becuase it's no real fun in a car that's virtually irreplacable - anything can happen, and it doesn't have to be your fault. In rain I always employ golden rule #2 = No more than 50mph and 5th gear - sadly seen the a victim of rain on way back from hethel once (silver bullet).

Do remember there are 1000's of Elises, they're still made now so I dont see the problem.

I'll drive anyone elses car though :)

Vids:

Guy in the 1st video is driving WAY too fast in a tunnel and too fast up the other guys ass - the killer is the dark to light transition which is synominous with tunnels - in the dark your eyes are dilated letting in more light, that makes the exit of the tunnel 'over exposed' if you like and detail is hard to see - in this case the BMW changing lanes. The driver is trying to undertake and the BMW shuts him off - totally the drivers fault, he's driving too quick and too close to the BMW in front and when the guy changes lanes he's no where to go (probably has 1 hand on the wheel as well).

2nd Video is typical of an object in motion staying in motion - tbh thats a crap corner !

The car's turning but goes light due to the down hill section - you see it all the time in rally cars when they hit jumps and bumps un-evenly and continue to turn becuase there is no grip.

You need to think about the moment of inertia too - the car infront looks like a front wheel drive (engine up front so the weight is pulling the car around) - the Elise is mid engine but weight bias to the rear/middle (if you dont believe me see the picture of the Elise falling off the lifter becuase they took the wheels off the front !) so thats the end which is going to carry on - making the spin inevitable. Going out on a limb but I also thought having the revs high doesn't do much for grip - I always thought mid revs for tight corner sure it has something to do with the differential which might also explain lack of grip ?

1st one is 100% driver

2nd is just a bit of bad luck, perhaps didn't judge the road correctly and again a bit too fast.

1 last bit - people seem to get it into their heads Lotus's are invincible, they can corner at any speed and handle like a PS3 game - wrong, and that often leads to people becoming over confident.

EDIT: I learned more for the Elise about driving and car control than anything I ever did.

Edited by Jonathan

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Good man, happy shopping :)

Book yourself onto a performance driving course too, we've got spaces on our next one. It will enhance your abilities and open your eyes as to what the car is capable of, you'll be amazed!

(As an aside and compliment to the Elise, CAT Driver Training who we use have an Elise themselves as a training car!)


88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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Lift off oversteer is not really to do with weight transfer - even in a low gear there isn't really enough retardation force to get much weight over the front wheels.

It's more to do the "circle of grip" of a tyre. A simple example is to say a tyre can generate 1g of acceleration in any direction generating this circle. Inside the circle is fine but outside the tyre is skidding. Now if you are cornering at or near the edge of the circle and you lift off then engine braking will put some braking force on the tyre and this can mean the total vector of the turning and braking forces puts you out of the circle and into an oversteer situation.

Think about it like this - engine braking on a RWD car is no different from pulling the handbrake and you can guess what that does!

I drove my elises for about 7 years day to day in rain, snow and everything (was my only car at the time) - 4 of those years was with a motorsport 190 running semi slick tyres and no ABS.

It's fine but you need to drive very defensive - the 1st video the driver is an out and out twat and is looking about 3" infront of his car. The second I would say the driver is unlucky - it is a crap corner and I can imagine a few people would get caught out there but it was still driver error (the s2000 looks like it has a wobble there too).

also you have to remember you are in a very low car and have to assume that people haven't seen you (esp arses in 4x4's)

If you are used to FWD then I can not recommend a driver training session either with Lotus or somebody like CarLimts.com. Even an experienced RWD driver can learn from this kind of training.

the car is an exceptionally good handling car and driving one well is leagues more rewarding than having a japanese coder doing it for you but that does come with the caveat that if you do get it wrong then you have to dig yourself out of the situation. Just take it easy and build up steadily - the car will teach you more about proper car control than you think there is to learn!

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Hi Gavin :)

My S2 is my everyday car and I have only owned him for a couple of months so my driving experience has included some funky weather.

I think the S2 is fine for an everyday car, the boot space is pretty big and you can modify as you wish. I have heated seats and some gloves...

I would highly recommend a driver training day in your own car. I had a blast doing this and would like to do more days to apply what I have learnt on the track. My recent driving has been a bit slippery and indeed I have kept the car in the garage for the last week due to the snow. Other than that...

love it!

Hope that helps.


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Going back to the lift-off oversteer question, there are a number of factors that can affect it.

Weight transfer is one, not neessarily because of the reduction of weight on the tyre but more because of the change in ride height reducing the camber of the outer, rear wheel.

Another factor is compliance in the suspension. When the wheels are driving, they try to move forwards. If the suspension compliance causes this to get the wheels to toe-in that provides stability by increasing the rear-wheel slip angle and rear tyre grip. Conversely, if lifting off leads to toe-out then the tyres will lose grip.

Going over a hump affects the rears more than the front because, as you are applying a force to the wheel to corner, when that force goes down, the natural, automatic response is to turn the wheel to maintain that force. This compensates for the reduced weight on the front wheels. The back wheels don't have the same compensation mechanism and suffer from the camber changes mentioned above so there cornering force drops.


S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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i just bought a 2010 Lotus Exige Exige 240s and that will be my only car. My girlfriend does have a BMW X6 so when we need to go skiing in Vermont, we take that. It appears that the first crash was because he was too fast and also was blinded as he came out of tunnel. The second one was as one said because he lifted off the throttle in a turn which made the car swerve. He would have been better off if he actually accelerated in the turn a bit more. I know that sounds strange...to go faster, but it would have probably avoided the crash I learned all about that at the Lotus Driving School near nevada which I would recommend to anyone. Enjoy.

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Two things:

For more years than I can remember I have had a Lotus as my main car, and the others have been Lotus. No problem with having them as a daily driver.

I have never lost the back end of my S1 or S2 Elises on the road, even with the racecar being on full hard suspension in the rain. I almost lost the Europa once when I hit a patch of diesel on a hump backed bridge. It's a different story on the race track. If you drive it like you stole it on the road you should expect to crash.

Edited by PierreLP

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I'll second (third? fourth?) the driver training but as well as some track, handling work I'd make sure you get some good road training. The road training will teach you things like predicting what is going to happen, improving visibility, taking a good line for the road etc. etc. Last year I took two days training, one on the track (with Don Palmer at Bruntingthorpe) and the other on the road. I have done both types of training before and yet still feel I get a huge benefit. Both moved my driving level on by a huge amount but the second one I reckon I got more day-to-day use of. I think it's fair to say I can now drive a twisty piece of road safely 10 mph faster than before but it feeling smoother and less rushed (much more comfortable for the passengers). Work allowing I'll do at least the same again this year (though I also fancy a few days training on the ice in the Arctic circle)

The second video shows the issue of weight distribution, the rear wheels braking from an engine in low gear but it also shows bad planning and positioning on the road. Given the blue car ahead it's quite clear what the road is going to do and you can see that the road has not be engineered to aid the turn (he's probably got a crest and a corner with adverse camber). The driver comes in early with no adjustment for the crest. If he had held the outside of the bend for longer (which is the correct line on a road) he could have completed the majority of the turn before hitting the crest, taken it pretty close to straight and probably whilst back on the accelerator. A track course would have taught him how to balance the car, a road course would have taught him to plan for the situation.

You could try Cadence for road driving. I hear good things about Hugh and his team. Alternatively in the UK the IAM and RoSPA will give you a lot of the basics for pretty much free.

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