Quarterly Review 1st Quarter 2011
What better way to start the year than with a trip to the Autosport International Racing Car Show? Nick Yallop, Lewis Cullington and Tim Gardner did a great job in setting up the display and the stand was attended by Steve, Sapphire and Clive, with help from Georgina Dinnage, Chris Dinnage’s daughter and top salesman Bibs from The Lotus Forums. On show were the 79, 81, 21 and 97T. The 91 owned by Dan Collins featured on the HFOne stand, our 49BR10 on the LAT stand and the unique Roger Wills type 92 on the Pirelli Stand.
Whilst at the Autosport Show we presented our long standing customer Dan Collins with our new Team Lotus Works Drivers Helmet print……..with a slight difference. As the years have passed we have joked about Dan driving more miles in a Team Lotus Formula One Car than anyone else. Having just completed his 10th year with the Team we thought we should mark the occasion by finding out exactly how many miles he had done along with races entered and points scored; and then we thought we should make a special version of the helmet print including Dan’s distinctive helmet design.
TGP/HFOne Races: 66 Pts: 84 Miles: more than 10,000 (!)
We took two cars to the Zaragoza Motor Show Festival in January. 49B/R10 and 72/5 were famous Montjuic cars and our good friend Jesus Pozo was keen to promote his new Espiritu De Montjuic Festival at the Barcelona F1 circuit in April. Both cars were demonstrated on the outdoor circuit by Team Manager Chris Dinnage, with support from Nick Yallop and Tim Gardner. As ever it was a successful show and we hope to return again next year. We have put together a short slide show which can be viewed on YouTube.
Chris Dinnage flew over to Japan at the beginning of March to test Kubota’s 97T/1 and 88B/2 at the Mount Fuji circuit. The 97T had updated parts for the engine and, once fitted, it ran perfectly in the two 30 minute sessions. Kubota took the 88B round for a few laps in preparation for demonstrations throughout the year. Oh yes; and Chris attended Katsu’s wedding to Kaori just a couple of days before the test. (Sounds like a great honeymoon; testing at Motegi….)
Lewis Cullington has done a fantastic job getting 102/4 restored for Andrew Morris. A type 102 has not even been started for 20 years so we captured the first start on video.
What a sound….what a car! Andrew enjoyed a couple of familiarisation runs on the Hethel test track before bravely opting to run the car at the Goodwood Festival Press Day. Unfortunately an electrical gremlin spoiled the day; so disappointing after such a lot of trouble free testing up until that point. On a brighter note we also took along the type 79/3 on behalf of Lotus Cars for Bruno Senna to drive up the hill. It was good to run Bruno again, four years after he drove 97T/2 at the Festival. As ever Bruno was enthusiastic and respectful for the car and did a thoroughly professional job.
Kevin Smith has now completed the restoration of the type 27 owned by Nick Fennell. This particular example really does look especially beautiful, now resplendent once more in its original French Blue colours. Kevin has done an excellent job mechanically, period specification wise and aesthetically. After a trouble free Snetterton test we took her to the Formula Junior Goodwood Test Day and she ran really well, once more. Overall, a good day’s testing before Nick’s first race at Mallory Park in April.
Recently the Top Gear office was in touch, asking us to participate in the Top Gear Live Show at the Kyalami Circuit, South Africa. Glenn Waters (Team Lotus mechanic 1973 – 1981) took the John Player Special type 72/5 over for the event. In the hot seat was Le Mans legend Derek Bell. Derek thoroughly enjoyed driving the 72, despite the weather (severe rain and thunder storms all 4 days). It was the first time he has driven a Lotus single seater since 1967 when he raced a type 41. Glenn reported back that Derek was a true professional throughout, as one would expect.
At the end of March we went testing at Croix en Ternois, which proved to be an excellent pre season warm-up, with types 18(Malcolm Ricketts), 21 (Dan Collins), 102/4 (Andrew Morris) and the LDS (Andrew Beaumont).
Malcolm has a fresh engine and gear box in the 18 and after a few laps developed a misfire but this was quickly rectified by his mechanic, Tim Gardner. Dan completed 120 laps of the mile long circuit and underwent a substantial development programme, tuning springs, suspension and dampers. This shaved 2 seconds off his lap time.
Andrew took the 102/4 out again but his testing was cut short by a failure of the fuel pump drive shaft. Oh dear! Engine out and back to the builder, sorry to say.
Andrew Beaumont was welcomed into the team with his newly acquired LDS. He completed 112 laps but had to endure a troublesome clutch which his mechanic Lewis Cullington will be sorting out in time for the next run.
79/1 is coming together nicely. Nick Yallop has the engine and gearbox back on the car and the new bodywork has been primed and is being fitted prior to paint. The car needs to airfreight by the end of April so time is getting short.
Lewis is now onto the rebuild of Andrew Beaumont’s type 76, with help from Tim Gardner. The engine and gearbox have been serviced and all necessary parts have been condition tested and are being put back onto the car. 76/1 is due to be racing at the Espiritu de Montjuic event in Barcelona on the second weekend of April!
We had hoped to be taking the 94T/2 of Joaquin Folch to the forthcoming Barcelona event, for a demonstration run in front of his home crowd. However, we have had some issues with commissioning the engine in the car. When it does fire-up it will be the first time in 28 years; another special moment for Classic Team Lotus which we intend to capture on camera and share with you via the wonders of You Tube.
The restoration of 92/5 is being undertaken for Roger Wills by Team Lotus mechanic Paul Simpson. Paul worked on this car in period and was the ideal candidate to take on the job. The first race for the 92 should be the Brands Hatch Masters event in May. The 92 was the first Formula One car with Active Suspension and we are looking forward to getting it running again, albeit in passive specification.