The 12 Hours of Sebring is one of the classic endurance races in the world. The HSR sanctioned support race was the first time the Elise had really been able to be tested. Qualifying went as could be expected with 18th in the "Vintage" group (out of 29 entries); however, the race was where the car showed its real potential with a 10th place finish. The Enduro was a little more frustrating. Starting about 40th out of 54 cars meant the race was busy. But the final position (31st) was reasonable given the disruption for a serious crash.
The first races of the 2015 Monoposto Racing Club's St. Cross Electronics Mono Championship took place in sunny Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire. This is a track of two halves. Between the start and the Goosneck it is a very fast sweeping circuit with plenty of runoff that is reminiscent of Thruxton; however, after Mountain until the start/finish is almost a street course that is as tight and twisty as Shenely Park. Having qualified 7th, race 1 started badly and I lost ground on the first lap, but by the safety car for a series of stranded cars I had made it back to where I started. The restart was not the best, but I managed to squeeze 5th on the just before the finish line. Sunday qualifying was a little better with 6th, and again the first start was not the best, however, by the time the race was red flagged due to a major crash in Barn corner I was 6th. This time the restart was perfect and I gained 5th into Coppice. After which I managed to hold of the opposition until the checkered flag. Stanbridge Motorsport provided support and track services.
After two winning seasons in the Monoposto Championship in the US, the Lotus 61 will be taking part in the Challenge Formula Ford Historic France. Starting at the famous Circuit de Pau-Ville where the French Grand Prix was first raced in 1930. Pau is in southwestern France and is still host to a race that is run around a street circuit. The event is well organized and the street circuit is intimidating. Decked out in its new Lotus Indy STP paint scheme, the Lotus 61 had a troubled run on Saturday with various overheating issues that was tracked down to a gap between the radiator and the new bodywork. Once fixed the car ran well despite having to start last. A few of the bugs will be sorted before the next event, but a new chapter in the 61’s varied racing history has begun.
This year it was the chance to run the Lotus Elise S1 at the “Brickyard” with SVRA. After Jim Berg at MSR Houston had spent some time retuning the new Emerald ECU the issues encountered at Sebring were a thing of the past. The car ran well, although the aging battery meant that the reference voltage for the water temperature sender resulted in some interesting readings… car running (85 °F) versus headlights on (126 °F). Despite being out horse-powered by the entire field and out displaced, the Elise still managed to beat various 911’s. The next upgrade will be an improved radiator and a set of new tires, since the Toyo R888 used have had their day.
The schedule for the Grand Prix in Schenley Park changed from previous years, but the track remains the same: 23 turns with hay bales, manhole covers, phone poles and stone walls. The British Heritage race was frantic, but I could not overcome bhp (3L Astin-Healey) or low weight (Elva Mark VI) and finished a good 3rd place. However, the rough track took its toll and on the 1st lap of the feature race one of the plug leads come out of the distributor and with only 3 cylinders 4th was the best I could manage!
Brans Hatch is one of the most famous tracks in the world, and the St. Cross Electronics Mono Championship double header is being competed with the Formula Vauxhall Lotus. After using the Indy circuit for the test day, the full GP circuit is a much greater challenge, but having a loose plug wire added to the learning curve. Despite issues on Saturday, everything came together for the race on Sunday. While the final result was not the greatest, the battle to get there was a classic. Two other cars in the Classic 2000 class offered a lap after lap fight that meant we each led at some point but could not pull away from the others. In the end an almost photo finish resulted with us crossing the line three abreast.
Beginning with a small event in 2009, the Put-in-Bay Road Races Reunion celebrates sports car races that were held on the streets of the town of Put-in-Bay on Ohio’s South Bass Island from 1952 to 1959 and in 1963. The Seven fought a good fight on this island in Lake Erie. Three run groups had separate races (2 each group) followed by a final “all comers” race. The first race was easily won by an Elva, but myself and a Porsche 911 battled for 2nd and 3rd. Unfortunately, I could just not make the pass and hold of the greater bhp. For the 2nd race the winner from race 1 had to start at the back, and this time the Porsche was forced into an error and victory was guaranteed. The final race of the weekend resulted in again being beaten by the Elva, but the two of us lapped most of the field and fought to the end. A 3rd, 1st, and 2nd was not a bad way to finish a very hot and tiring weekend on a track that while simple is busy and requires commitment.
Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is located in central France, and it staged the F1 French Grand Prix from 1991 to 2008. The Type 61 with a new radiator and valve job was resplendent with its new yellow nose. Magny-Cours is the opposite of the last few tracks competed at; it is fast sweeping and flowing. Qualifying 6th in the classic FF class (A) meant that the first race was a challenge, doubly so by a spin right in front of me on the first lap sending me back several places. But determination and a consistent lap time meant that by the end of the race I was a surprise 3rd in class =. Standing on the podium under the Union Flag where the likes of Senna and Schumacher have finished 3rd was a special moment. Sunday’s race was gridded based upon Saturday’s results, but some issues with back-markers meant I went back a few places during the race. Again consistent lap times and others mechanical issues gave another 3rd place finish. Two podiums in two races at a famous track; a great way to finish the season.
The 24 Hours of daytona is possibly the 2nd best known endurance race after the 24 Hour of Le Mans. Just like Le Mans there is now a classic event to allow cars that raced "in the day" to come and compete again. HSR have added a class to allow its normal competitors to race as well. It was this that the Elise S1 was entered. Of the four race session three were run in the dark, but without incident. While the Elise was out horsepowered on the banking it acquitted iteslf well: 6th in class and