Third Quarterly Review 2011

We start this quarter off with the Goodwood Festival of Speed. We would like to say a very big thank you to Nick Fennell, Andrew Beaumont, Dan Collins, Joaquin Folch and Andrew Morris for flying the Lotus flag in such splendid fashion at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed. And a salute to the Classic Team Lotus mechanics for preparing the running cars so well, such that that all five cars completed six runs each over three days without missing a beat. A great advert for the Lotus marque.

Nick Fennell’s type 25/R5 (the world beating semi-monocoque F1 car) was driven by Dario Franchitti on the Saturday morning. Dario is one of the greatest fans of Jim Clark and he has now driven both the 25 and the type 38. Admittedly we were quite surprised when Dario told us, at the startline, that this was his first drive at Goodwood.

Andrew Beaumont, having languished in Public Parking for the previous nine years, arrived in the F1 Paddock in style with his beautiful JPS liveried type 76 (the first F1 car to feature an electronic clutch) and he drove very well to make it into the Top 10 Shootout, broadcast live on Sky TV on the Sunday afternoon.

Dan Collins made it two CTL cars in the Shootout, driving the CTL type 88B (the first F1 car to run with a carbon composite monocoque). Dan is a great supporter of the Festival of Speed and he was up for the challenge on the course that he knows so well. He drove quite brilliantly, on LIVE TV and in front of tens of thousands, to win the shootout with Fastest Time of the Day. A thrilling moment!

Andrew Morris enjoyed four successful runs up the hill in his dauntingly powerful 1990 Lotus type 102. The spectacular sound of its V12 engine impressed everyone. On Saturday morning a very special moment was realised when Andrew invited Martin Donnelly to drive; his first time since his terrible accident at the 1990 Spanish GP. Martin drove brilliantly, of course, and he was generous with his praise for the CTL mechanics when interviewed at the top of the hill.

Joaquin Folch was unable to attend the event but his type 94T/2, fresh from its restoration by CTL, looked absolutely stunning on display in the F1 Paddock. Nigel Mansell was on hand to admire his 1983 racer, and we are looking forward to running the car on the Hethel test track soon.

The CTL type 96T Indycar took its place in the fabulous line-up of Indy 500 racers assembled by Lord March and his team. CTL’s Ayrton Senna 97T/2 Estoril winning car was in pride of place on the very impressive Lotus Cars stand.

Thank you also to Parnelli Jones for bringing his awesome Lotus type 56 gas turbine powered Indy car (attended by Vince Granatelli) and to Jim Jaeger for his beautiful Lotus type 38. The 56 was the subject of the event poster (we reckon this makes it five Lotus themed event posters in 18 years; not bad!) and the 56 and the 38 monopolised the two event T-shirts.

CTL Team Manager Chris Dinnage drove the type 49B in memoriam Pete Lovely, whose portrait was displayed alongside the car with which he was so famously associated.

The same weekend as the Festival, Kevin took the CTL type 18 Formula Junior to Brands Hatch for Michael Taradash to try out. He managed 25th place, which was very good considering he had only driven it once before then, on the Hethel test track.

Our first visit to the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power was the next event with Andrew Morris in his Lotus Lamborghini type 102. It turned out to be a fairly wet weekend which was not ideal for the powerful 102 as the circuit is very tight and includes a couple of bridges that were difficult to contend with. Even so, Andrew coped very well and achieved the fastest F1 car of the weekend. Andrew is gearing up for next year and hoping for dry weather to enable an even better time.

The Silverstone Classic was next on the calendar and our customers participated up in full force with cars racing in Formula Junior, Masters Grand Prix and the HGPCA pre 66 categories. Nick Fennell in his Formula Junior type 27 qualified 7th out of 60 cars and his best finish was a very impressive 9th.

In HGPCA qualifying, Nick’s type 25/R5 came in after one lap with an engine problem, and then John Bowers’ 25/R4, driven by Andy Middlehurst, came in straight after with a snapped drive shaft yolk. The team changed the plugs on R5 but to no avail; later the problem was traced to a faulty fuel pressure relief valve. Dan Collins in his type 21 qualified 27th, Andrew Beaumont in his LDS qualified 20th and Malcolm Ricketts in his type 18 qualified 33rd.

In the race on Saturday 25/R4 started in 45th. At the first corner an incident in front of Andy developed into a rather significant pile-up which resulted in the nose being ripped clean off the car. That saw Andy out of the race. Nick started 44th in his 25/R5 and climbed to finish an outstanding 14th. Dan in his type 21 was unfortunate to get caught up in the same incident as Andy and his car was damaged beyond immediate repair. Such a disappointment for Dan and the team. Meanwhile Andrew and Malcolm drove good races to finish 13th and 23rd respectively.

The mechanics, ably assisted (led?) by volunteer Nick Adams, beavered away on R4 all Saturday afternoon and late into the evening and managed to get the bodywork, chassis and radiator repaired in time for Sunday’s race in which Andy finished an amazing 7th. The HGPCA recognised that the lads had worked incredibly hard over the weekend and the ‘Driver of the Day’ award actually went to the team. Nick Fennell made even further progress in Sunday’s race to finish 11th while Andrew and Malcolm finished 14th and 25th respectively.

The Grand Prix Masters races boasted an impressive entry of 33 cars. Andrew Beaumont had a good weekend in his type 76, qualifying and then finishing 22nd and 17th in the races. Race 1 saw him being attacked from behind which resulted in a quite severely deranged rear wing, but it did not have much effect on the performance of the car….food for thought in the aerodynamics department.

Roger Wills in his type 92 was being looked after by its original Team Lotus mechanic, Paul Simpson. Roger suffered a gearbox problem in qualifying which tested Chris Dinnage and Paul. Late on Friday evening it was fixed, enabling Roger to take to the grid, albeit in 31st place. He did well to finish 11th in race 1 and 9th in race 2.

Steve and Sapphire were pleased to welcome a tour on 27th July. Being the Wednesday after Silverstone, there was a lot to see! The team then took some cars and the merchandising stand to the Club Lotus Show, this year held at Donington. It was nice to be back. Lotus Cup Europe had a race meeting the same weekend so the visitors got a full day of everything Lotus, old and new!

This year we shared a stand with Group Lotus and The Lotus Forums. Together, we managed a line-up of very impressive cars, including a JPS grid which included the type 72, an Esprit and the Lotus Renault GP F1 car and an Essex display of Esprits and the beautifully restored type 81.

The same weekend, Lewis and Nick went to the Oldtimer event at the Nurburgring to run Andrew in his type 76. The car ran well throughout qualifying in 16th position. Race one saw Andrew home in P14 and in a very wet race two, P15.

Chris Dinnage flew off to Sonoma Race Circuit, USA to run the type 79/1 for Paul Rego. Doc Bundy, from the pole, had a very close battle with Chris Bender who just squeezed through on lap 1 to take the lead. Both the March & the Lotus 79 were neck & neck until 2/3rds distance when a fading brake pedal resulted in Doc having to ease off a little to conserve/preserve 2nd place.

At the same meeting Chris Locke finished in 5th place with another great drive in his Lotus 77 which was being run Stateside by John Anderson.

Andrew Beaumont kept up his impressive rate of participation in the major historic events by racing at the Masters Festival at Donington. Lewis and Chris attended the car which Andrew drove well again. Qualifying in 13th and finishing in 11th.

The Goodwood Revival was a fantastic event, as ever. Memories of Jim Clark’s prodigious talent were stirred by a dominant performance in the wet by Andy Middlehurst racing away in the John Bowers owned type 25/R4 to win the prestigious Glover Trophy race at the Goodwood Revival on Sunday.

John Bowers watched from the pit wall together with Bob Dance, a former Lotus mechanic of Jimmy’s, who had prepared the famous 1963 World Championship winning car, which started from pole position.

We were pleased to be running five cars for our owners at this most prestigious historic race meeting on the calendar. Nick Fennell raced his type 25/R5 to 15th place behind Andy. Dan Collins was challenging for a third place podium finish when the wet conditions caught him out; a great shame.

In the Chichester Cup Formula Junior race Nick Fennell enjoyed an exciting race to finish 10th while Chris Locke, all the way from California, brought his type 27 home in 17th place.

Next up it was a glorious weekend at Spa, with 26 cars on the Masters grid and 45 on the HGPCA grid. In the Masters race, Andrew Beaumont qualified 19th in his type 76 and his best finish was 16th. Chris Locke qualified 25th in CTL’s type 79/2 and his best finish was 16th. Roger Wills qualified impressively well up the grid in 5th in his type 92 and finished 4th on the Saturday and 6th on the Sunday.

In the HGPCA race, Andy Middlehurst qualified 5th in the John Bowers owned type 25. He had an amazing race, finishing 3rd overall and first in class on both the Saturday and Sunday. Andrew Beaumont won driver of the day in his LDS because he went from 30th on the grid to 13th in the first race and then gained another three places to finish overall 10th on the Sunday, making him 1st in class. It was truly a great drive. Malcolm steadily gained pace in his type 18 qualifying 33rd and then a best race finish of 26th. Chris Locke also had a good run in the CTL type 32B qualifying 12th and finishing 9th in both races.

So, apart from the enforced retirement of 25/R4 and 21/933 at Silverstone in race 1, in the third quarter of 2011 Classic Team Lotus customers enjoyed a 100% finish record on the 73 occasions that they took to the startline.  GOOD JOB!

 

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