Listed in Official Lotus
Ipswich Rd, Long Stratton, Norfolk NR15, UK
I would like to say a huge big thanks to the entire team at Stratton Motor Company for recent events abroad.
I bought my Lotus Evora in 2009 (it was one of the first!). For the last 3 years, myself, my brother, my son and 2 step sons have made the trip to Le Mans as a fantastic boys out weekend. My Lotus I adore and so do the French.They are very rare there and it is photographed continuously.
This year was destined to be different!
Before we left the UK left the driver’s door window seemed a little temperamental but I am used to its idiosyncrasies and tolerate them. The drive down to Le Mans was smooth and uneventful. We set up camp and looked in awe at the amazing thunderstorm in the distance as we went to bed. I awoke to groans from my brother, whose tent had a river running through it. My car keys were sitting in a damp patch in our tent. All seemed well until I tried to access the boot with valuables in when it failed. No problem I thought, the manual key will open the door and start the engine too. Wrong. I had forgotten about the immobiliser. Panic. No spare set of keys and no European breakdown (who needs that with a Lotus?).
In desperation on Friday 12th June, I phoned Stratton Motor Company and spoke to Jonny . He said that the Stratton Racing Team were at Le Mans with the Aston Martin team, and just maybe someone would be able to help, just go to the pit lane. So we walked to the main pit lane fighting our way through 260,000 spectators to ask for Ian. Amazingly we managed to attract the attention of one of the engineers who informed us we were in the wrong pit and needed to be in the support paddock.
We eventually found Ian who pointed us in Phill’s direction. He changed the battery in the key fob as a first trial of a fix. Phill then said he recognised me !!! Apparently I used to be his GP a few years ago, what a small world. Phill said that if the new battery didn’t solve the problem, re-contact him and he would see what he could do.
Sadly the new battery was unable to fix the problem and I text Phill to explain the situation and he promised to come and try a fix. He duly arrived with Angus and tools at our campsite later that evening, having run the gauntlet of the boys doing burnouts around the track. He spent some time stripping the interior and liaising with Jonny back in the UK. He managed to get the engine running but he couldn’t silence the alarm. More tools required. So the Lotus went to the paddock pits for a more definitive fix. Hours later the boys let me know it was sorted and driveable after effectively hot wiring it!
Saturday morning we collected the car. We were told the siren of the immobiliser had not stopped so had to be removed and wrapped in a blanket before being enclosed in a box as it was so annoying! It was placed in the racing team trailer as it was too irritating.
We watched the fantastic racing now stress free. The Lotus was gaffer taped to protect it from further rain that night – ironically the passenger window opened overnight without being asked so was a good plan!
On the drive back we were photographed and even saluted by one French driver! Little did they know how special this car was.
A driver from Suffolk had been to Le Mans. Broken down, in a fix, and been sorted out by the local dealership in a very special way in the paddock with the Aston Team at Le Mans.
Absolutely awesome driving my hotwired Lotus Evora home.
I am so grateful and I cannot thank the entire team enough especially Phill and Angus (who gave up their rest time to assist me) in France and the UK back up from Jonny. If anyone can top that I would be amazed.
My Evora has now returned to Stratton Motor Company to be rebuilt!
In the corner of my eye I have spotted a new supercharged gorgeous Evora! As boys do, we discussed the next car on our eventful journey. I reckon I know what mine is!
Testimonial from Dr G Collins