Category Archives: Cars

My first Trackday

Today it was my first proper track day at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney. I have driven for a afternoon once at Eastern Creek before a few months ago but this was my first full day on the track and in my own car. It was time to test the Lotus out near its limit but in the safety zone of being at the track with fire a paramedics at hand should anything go wrong.
Well it was a safe day and I learnt a hell of a lot about all the beginnings of racing techniques. There was one crash which was a driver of a Porsche 911 after only 10 minutes in, probably his tyres and brakes hadn’t reached correct temperature and he came off doing around probably 150 into the tyre wall. He was taken t hospital but we received word an hour later he was all fine.
OK onto some photos!
When we arrived at the track, everyone in the beginners group which I was in had to do a long safety briefing in a suite above the pit garages and then outside one of the instructors gave us a briefing on correct seating positions and about securing everything loose in the car. He used my car as it had no roof to easily show these things.
Here I am just before we go out on the track for the first time explaining the differences between my Lotus Elise R on the left and the Lotus Exige S on the right to some of the guys in the beginners group.
My friend Robert Bryden’s Lotus Exige Cup 240, the top of the range Exige offered by Lotus Sport and pretty rare too, only a few in Australia. Quite a bit more power than mine, really makes it FLY around the track, these are raced professionally a lot in Europe.
My friend the ‘meatman’ that’s his nickname I’ve given him as he owns Australia’s largest meat packing company bought his brand new Black Exige S along. He was a terror on the track, overtaking everyone with ease all day long.
Another photo of the lovely Black Exige, this is in the pit garage.
Lots of expensive cars all lined up ready to hit the track!
Line up Line up, gentlemen start your engines!
With the pit lane exit marshal waiting for the go ahead to exit the pit lane. The marshal looks down the track and gives you the go ahead when he sees a gap for you to accelerate onto the track quickly.
Me driving along the main straight in front of the grandstand leading an Audi RS4, I was going at 200kph (125 mph) at the end of the main straight, in a car that’s so low to the ground that feels really fast. Turn 1 just after the main straight I managed to stick to 140 kph (87mph), that speed in a corner is bloody scary but it sticks to the road with its aerodynamics.
Coming back into the pits after a few laps to cool off and get my concentration back.
Old and new Lotus’s, the old Lotus 7 in the background now being made by Caterham cars Ltd in Caterham England.
Me checking out my favourite car the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, worth nearly 3 of my cars! A very track focused car, not something you could have as a daily driver car, far to raw.
I love this car
Lined up ready to go out again along with a Aston Martin Vantage, Lotus Elise S1 and a Ferrari 360
I asked instructor Mat if he would take my friend Chris out for a few hot laps, he did for 3 laps and he really enjoyed the experience, he loved it.
This BMW M3 was good fun to go up against, it had more power in the straights but on the corners I was making distance on him, no other road car can beat a Lotus on the corners.
A photo of one of my rear tyres after being out on the track, you can see the edges of the tread where the rubber has literally melted from the hot temperature of driving at the limit and this hot melted rubber flicks up and sticks to the side of the cars which is hard work to clean off. Its all clean now though 🙂
Last photo of the day and the cars allowed to let its parts cool off in the pits before the 35 minute drive home, and to BED. Racing around a race track at speed all day is very tiring, *YAWN*
A video I took of the Instructor Mat driving me around the track showing me how it should be done. He owns and races a Elise himself and so knows how to drive a Lotus on the track VERY well and FAST. It was scary, after 2 laps I’d had enough 🙂

What a fun day overall!

Drive through the Royal national park

Today me and Chris left early in the morning for a drive around the Royal National Park just south of the city, stopping halfway for breakfast it was a good drive around twisting roads in the countryside and I started to get a better feel for the handling of the car.
Here’s a short clip of the drive.

and a photo of Chris’ Breaky 🙂
A photo of me with the new toy as we stop for a break to take in the peace and quiet

My first time on the Track!

Last week I went for the first time racing around a real race track here in Sydney! Well I wasn’t racing it was more of a first timers teaching session from a professional racing driver and racing driver instructor Mat. Lotus invited me for an afternoon at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney in a bid to say sorry a bit for the delay on my shiny new Lotus so far. They gave me and 3 others who were prospective customers for Lotus to go out on the track in Lotus Exige S for a afternoon of fun. The car was similar to what mine will be like to drive on a track so was a great experience to see what the car could do in the environment Colin Chapman and his team designed it for.
The afternoon started with a long powerpoint presentation in the pits of all the corners and their names, entry, apex point (middle point of a turn), exit points and some safety instructions. Then there was a slow drive round the lap with the instructor a ‘sighting’ lap. Next was 6 laps of me driving with the instructor giving me tips, jee’s I was slow haha, then was a break and then 8 laps again of me driving and getting more confident and faster in and out of the corners and then to finish off the day was 2 ‘hot laps’ of the instructor driving at race speed, jee’s that was scary! I almost fell out of the car afterwards shaking and making everyone laugh haha.
This is Jon, the guy in charge of Lotus Australia, he’s English too, was sent over here for 4 years by Lotus to basically increase awareness of Lotus cars here and so to start sales in this country as they are still fairly unknown. He’s a good laugh and enjoys working for Lotus I get the feeling and knows back home in Sussex well so he’s good to catch up with.

Lotus update

Well the delivery date of the Lotus has been knocked back to mid April after many apologies from the Dealer 🙁 but something positive has come of this, the dealer spoke to Lotus Australia to explain that I wasn’t a happy chappy from the delays on delivery and they have arranged for me to be a guest at the well respected ‘Burrows drive day’ at Eastern creek race track Sydney for the day, driving one of their shiny Lotus Exige S cars. A good result I’d say!
My good friend Chris Southgate will be coming with me to look over the usual examples of millionaire owned exotica that turn’s up, Ferraris’, Lamborghini, Porsche’s even the most rarest supercar of them all the Mclaren F1 from the early 90’s turned up once, can’t wait for March 28th now!

The Lotus has arrived

Its a lot lighter than I thought at about 0.2g’s!
Something I learned from this exercise, Im good at Photoshop and crap at making paper models. It didnt help that I didnt have any paper glue so I used super glue instead hehe. I think I was better at this sort of thing when I was a kid, still I was impressed once i’d finished it and it made Sanna laugh 🙂

Lucky first test drive of the Lotus Europa in Australia

Well as promised on an email to me a couple of days ago from Lotus Cars Australia/Rick Damelian’s, Jayson turned up at my work yesterday for a drive of the brand new and only Lotus Europa in the country the very same Phantom Black one that was the star of Australian International motor show 2007.
I’ve posted some photos down below and to get the only real negative point I have of the car out the way, I still don’t like the rear styling of the car but that’s just my opinion of course.
Driving the thing, well we went for a 30 minute drive all around the back streets of the South East end of the city, Kensington, Randwick over to Coogee beach zipping around some of the quieter streets in that area. I have to say it felt very much simular to the Elise/Exige to drive, I felt like the car was slighter bigger overall in width and length (even though Jayson said the width is the same I seem to remember) but handling felt 99% simular I have to say.
The same great feedback from the steering you’d come to love and expect from a Lotus and the overall feeling of being connected with the road really well from the feelings coming through the seat and steering were all still there. The suspension is slighter softer than the Elsie/Exige but to a non Lotus driver it would feel the same I’d imagine.
The exciting part in this car for me the engine. The GM sourced 2 litre turbo engine was a beauty to drive. Up shifts were particularly fun at red line with the turbo still spooled up and a shove of torque in the back as the next gear engaged. All along above 3000rpm you can hear the slight whistle of the turbo spooling around your ears but not to the level where it would be annoying and quieter than the whine of the Exige S’s supercharger for definite. Looking through the rear window into Tupperware heaven (sorry the engine bay) whilst Jayson took the helm, I enjoyed seeing the engine twist and turn on its supports as it was being revved hard and up shifted.
Would I get one, probably not as on a driving fun level it feels about the same as the Elise R/Exige abet a half second slower on the 0-100kph times but nothing too noticeable but really for me the look of the car is not as in tune with my tastes as the Elise and Exige are. I think I’ll be staying a happy Elise R customer for a while. Not to worry Jayson and Rick D’s as Jayson was proud to boast they have sold 4 Europa’s in just the first 2 days of sales! So there you go the Lotus big brother is being accepted into some peoples wallets and hearts and it’s only just come off the boat from Hethnel in England, good on you Lotus.
P.S Many thanks to Jayson for popping over to see me with the car and giving me a chance to experience it first hand, cheers.

The long wait starts here

Well I finally did it, I’ve finally ordered my new play thing the Lotus Elise R.
Last Sunday I woke up very nervous knowing I had booked to goto the dealer and finally make that decision between the Elise and the Exige. After countless bits of advise from everyone saying “if your living in Australia I have got to go for the convertible!” and that all starting to make sense I ordered the Elise R.
The car itself I specced during the week after going all over the net looking at photos and advice on the options for the car and in the end I have specced it with Polar Blue paint, Black wheels with Black rear under tray, Touring Pack and Sports Pack with the LSD. The light colour of the Polar Blue paint I thought looked really contrasting compared to the other darker colours when paired with the darker black wheels and Black rear under tray. It was this picture from a US spec Lotus Elise in Polar Blue that really stood out and made me realise it was the colour I wanted to go for:
As for the other options, well the Touring pack, add’s a better Stereo, full leather interior, electric windows and other more plush and soft to the touch friendly interior items.
The sports pack, well seeing as this is a race spec of the Elise hence the ‘R’ in its model name so has the Lotus tuned Toyota engine with variable lift and timing its designed to go on the track which of course I will be doing 😉 The sports pack, gives stiffer race suspension, an in-built rollover hoop, and the correct internal struts to mount a race legal 4 or 6 point harness.
Lastly the LSD (Electrically controlled Limited Slip Differential), well if you own a 4WD and you take it off road you’ll know exactly the benefits of a LSD, if you don’t, it’s a advanced traction device as part of the rear differential that maximises power to the road during hard cornering and is found in all race cars and serous off road 4×4’s. If you want to know more on how a LSD works here’s a good site on the topic
So the long wait starts here! It takes approx 3 weeks for them to hand build the car to my chosen spec then 2 months to ship it from the midlands of England where the Lotus factory is to me here in sunny Sydney, Australia.
Oh the weeks will drag on, so I have decided to try my best to forget all about putting my order in until closer to the time it arrives, Yeah Right!