The 2011 Lotus Festival was another big success, the Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup UK races headlining a race card that was mixed with fantastic on-track demonstrations of Team Lotus Formula One cars. Most of the thoroughbreds were run courtesy of Classic Team Lotus, including the freshly-restored 1990 V12 102, originally campaigned by Martin Donnelly. The Irishman, who survived a huge accident in Jerez that year, was back driving a works car for Lotus in Lotus Cup UK, making it a double comeback this weekend.
The event included a popular pitlane walkabout, where the F1 cars mixed with the Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup UK machines.
The Lotus Cup UK grid included a few big motorsport names. Martin Donnelly partnered Lotus’ own Gavan Kershaw, whilst former BTCC drivers Phil Bennett and Mark Fullalove also joined in. Meanwhile, David Harvey persuaded World Series by Renault competitor Olly Webb to share his 340R.
The next round of LoTRDC racing takes place in a week’s time as Lotus Cup Europe supports the FIA Formula Two Championship at the Nurburgring.
Images courtesy of LotRDC & Hans Bromwich (Check out his Flickr photostream for many more images from the event)
Luigi Mazza made up for losing out to Ken Savage at Snetterton in March by taking both Elise Trophy victories at the Lotus Festival meeting today. An almost dominant qualifying performance by Savage suggested that he would be an easy winner but he could not shake off Mazza during the first race. After a few attempts to out-psyche the leader he was in front, but a shaky lap gave the initiative back to his rival. The lead changed hands once again and an attempt at Riches by Savage was robustly defended, sending him wide and onto the grass. This gave second to Zandvoort winner Craig Denman but a red flag caused by an incident between Andy Dolan and Mike Vase provided a Mazza-Savage-Denman podium.
Denman led most of race two from the reversed top ten grid, and seemed to handle the pressure from Chris Dunster very well as Mazza and Savage worked their way up the field. However Dunster was attacked by this pair and with Mazza in second, Denman made a mistake at Murrays, putting him fourth, then spun again at Hamilton on the last lap, taking him out of contention. Mazza took his second win of the day, with Savage second and Dunster a delighted third.
Lotus Cup UK
Martin Donnelly competed in his first works drive for Lotus since his Team Lotus days, sharing the first Evora to enter Lotus Cup UK with factory driving guru Gavan Kershaw. Taking pole position and the win, they beat round two winner Mark Fullalove, who finished eleventh after a rushed pit stop handed him a two lap penalty.
A full grid contained World Series by Renault driver Oliver Webb, sharing a 340R with David Harvey, and both were in contention for third until they were handed a similar penalty to Fullalove, ending up nineteenth. This gave the Open class win to Pat McBennett, the Irishman enjoying a return to Lotus racing. 2-Eleven class drivers Steve Williams and Pete Storey joined the winners on the podium, whilst David Seear was the Exige Cup winner, after a rear suspension failure put paid to Jamie Stanley and Glenn Sherwood’s race.
The Production class was claimed by Ken Savage, giving him consolation for losing out on the Elise Trophy wins.