This years’ Lotus Festival went ahead as planned despite torrential rain on the Saturday however the crowds were treated to some sunshine on Sunday. Brands Hatch welcomed thousands to the Festival who went to see the Lotus Cortina 50th Anniversary gathering and races, the full Lotus Cup UK & Europe race program and club and trade stands from throughout the UK. The full race reports and pictures can be seen here. There was also racing from the Atom Cup, VAG Trophy, Sports 2000, Saloon and Tin Top racing, Mk2 Golf GTI Championship and a hugely exciting Lotus Cortina 50th Anniversary race which saw the historic cars either sliding their way around the full GP track in the rain or on 3 wheels, as is customary when the sun dried the circuit.
Lotus Cars were in strong attendance with their current range of road cars; Elise S Club Racer, Evora Sports Racer, Exige S (Roadster, Cup & Cup R) and bought along the Lotus Racing Kart and the £600k T125 track day weapon! The Lotus Driving Academy were on hand to offer information about their instruction courses held at the Lotus factory in Hethel with their Elise and Evora Academy cars. Classic Team Lotus also had the hugely significant Type 25 R4 which Jim Clark drove to World Championship victory 50 years ago in 1963 along with a 58, 76 and 91 which provided track demo’s. CTL’s Bob Dance, who was Jim Clark’s race mechanic was spotted in the paddock supporting a 1967 Mk2 Cortina raced by Graham Hill and now driven by Graham’s grandson, Josh Hill. We spotted Bob with a gearbox in pieces replacing a bearing, what other manufacturer would see the man who more than likely built the car in ’67 still working on it today!
Of particular note was the display TLF arranged, the ‘Brian Angus Esprit Timeline’ named in honour of the recently retired Esprit Platform Manager. This consisted of 21 cars from the 1976 S1 to the 2004 Final Edition with all model variants shown and attracted crowds with thousands of pictures taken. Of interest, the S1 was the first ever production Esprit, chassis 100G and owners travelled across the UK and Europe to complete the collection, something never seen before in the Esprit’s history.
The traders reported brisk trade with many people in their areas to hide from the rain on Saturday and helped by the larger crowds on Sunday. This aspect of the event is due to expand next year with more traders already booking into the Festival.
Photos courtesy of GKP, Nigel Tingey & Laura Cholerton.