Archive for the ‘SPR’ Category

Donington Park Race Circuit

Another warm and sunny day greeted us for our first trip to Donington Park. No drama’s, just lots of lovely grip on a very fast and flowing circuit. SPR had been fitted with new Pagid RS-14 brake pads all round to cope with the recent power upgrade (following the demolition of our Mintex ones at Bedford last month), these worked a treat with no brake fade throughout the day.

192 Miles Around Bedford Autodrome

Saturday 30th July saw a 192 mile shakedown of the Minister Power engine upgrade on the airfield circuit at Bedford Autodrome. The first pitstop of the trip however was on a slip road just off of the M25 on the way to the circuit to re-seat the detachable steering wheel which had started to wobble alarmingly. The day on-track also started with a surprise as SPR just sneaked under the static noise test level of 101db by a mere 0.5db – surprising because the upgrade didn’t sound that much louder than the car that has previously sailed under a 98db limit and worrying given Bedford’s one-strike-and-you’re-out rule with the council imposed 87db drive by limit.

The ‘opposition’ on the day was a diverse collection of metal covering a Peugeot 205, a Saab saloon(!), other Lotuses, BMWs, Porsches, TVRs, an 8 litre Corvette, Radical SR3, the obligatory Nissan GTR and what seemed like every Aerial Atom ever sold in the UK. A couple of sighting laps then saw us set about seeing just how much quicker the enhancements have made the car and I’m happy to report we were able to mix it with everything upto and including the Porsche 911s – a pleasant surprise after the mugging we took at Spa. The morning session was ended by a plume of smoke from the far side of the track as the hot exhaust on a Honda S2000 that had left the road set fire to the patch of grass it had come to rest on.

At lunchtime we met the extended family of the ‘next Lewis Hamilton’ (who’d been in the 205) and then the sun came out for the afternoon session and the track got hotter and hotter, so we dropped the tyre pressures and went faster and faster. Checks later in the afternoon showed SPR running at less than 80db past the drive-by noise monitors so we can only assume the static test in the morning had been faulty, and the chequered flag finally fell at 5pm after 192 rapid miles.

Next up is Donington Park in September after a trip to Back On Track to see whether we have any brake pads left!

SPR gets more POWER!

SPR has been to Minister Power to have their Lotus Elise 160bhp Sport engine upgrade. This is the same upgrade Bell & Colvill offered on the S1 from new. It involves removing the head and polishing and porting to 160 spec, fitting of Piper cams and vernier pulleys, refit head with new head gasket, cam timings reset with replacement timing belt and tensioners, new aux belt and waterpump. Bigger injectors are added plus we required x8 new exhaust valves and x2 inlet valves (this may explain the slight loss of power we had been experiencing due to a slight loss of pressure as the valves had worn and were not sitting snug). Finally to gain the max from the conversion we fitted a new 4-2-1 replacement exhaust manifold to our existing sports exhaust. Our original aftermarket air filter set-up was retained as it was found to be working very well in conjunction with the new work.

In addition, to make life easier getting in and out, we fitted a quick release steering wheel mech, as a revised unit has recently come on the market following the old units failings and withdrawal from sale.

As Jeremy Clarkson would say we now have poweeeer! The car is significantly quicker through the whole range. Max speed is now at 135mph+ (in 118bhp tune we could barely touch 120mph with the roof on). A shake down test at Bedford is planned for this coming weekend when we will discover exactly what she is now capable of recording.

I think we will need better brakes next to deal with the extra power and increased corner approach speeds 🙂

SPR Does Castle Combe

Saturday 13th November saw an SPR trip to Castle Combe  in Wiltshire, a very old style and very fast circuit with almost no run-off areas on some corners and minimal run-off at the remainder.  The reputations of the Avon Rise/Quarry corner combination precedes it and a YouTube search returned a multitude of high speed and high impact excursions.  The infamous reputation was further elaborated in both the Track Day joining instructions and the briefing session at the start of the day.

The day itself started out wet, with rain overnight and some light rain during the first session and continued to be damp throughout with grey clouds hanging directly over the circuit for most of the day.

We’d elected to run the road tyres again rather than the cut-slicks and found  the initial level of grip during a cautious set of sighting laps to be better than at Silverstone in October but the car still very nervous under braking and cornering.

On circuit, Tower corner rather than Quarry proved to be the more concerning challenge, coming at the end of a long, high speed section and requiring a greater than 90 degree turn to the right with absolutely no distance between the edge of the track and the barriers.

As the sessions continued, the track dried, the car became more predictable and handling confidence increased, allowing us to push for quicker times towards the end of the day – whilst still being wary of putting a wheel on the still wet grass.  Perhaps we’d just needed to scrub the road tyres in but they definitely worked better than at Silverstone.

There were a few spins from others but very few stoppages, making it both a challenging and hugely enjoyable day.  Castle Combe is already on the provisional track-day calendar for 2011, although this time on a baking hot day in the middle of summer with the slicks fitted.

Silverstone In The Wet

SPR took a trip to Silverstone yesterday to have a blast around the GP circuit. What welcomed us was a rather damp track after a night of heavy rain. To say it was like driving on glass would be an understatement, even on our sighting laps we spun at 40mph through Becketts – just crazy! With the track not drying out and a heavy shower at lunchtime the whole day was made up of driving at road speeds using a very conservative and smooth driving style to minimize the number of trips into the nearby scenery (at least a dozen red flags with one car going into the pit wall coming out of Woodcote). It also made us appreciate that SPR needs some adjustable suspension as we certainly could have done with softening the front of the car to try and maximize what little grip there was. One of the highlights of the day was managing to snag Vettel’s garage slot see pictures below.

Jo hits the track

The wife has caught the bug. Here is Jo preparing to go out on track with one of Goodwood’s driving instructors. After a slow and nervous start she soon got into the groove. Trouble was at the end of the day Jo said “when can I go again”!

Also note SPR’s new light weight Rota wheels (shod with slicks), they look great and help with turn in.

SPR Races For The First Time At The GRRC Sprint

She may not have been the quickest car there but PC and Brian set the 11th and 12th fastest start times measured over 0-64ft, its just a shame the other 2.4 miles were not quite as quick.

Steve McQueen’s quote from Le Mans summed up the day: ‘Racing is life, everything else, before and after, is just waiting around ‘ – brilliant!

Read the full report under SPR 2010 Race Diary plus loads of pics.

Goodwood Sprint Practice Day

Marcus and I have just got back from a very damp practice morning ahead of the Sprint on Easter Monday. I can safely say that Marcus’s Radical is VERY fast, while SPR is alot slower – no surprise there – however our little Lotus should be competitive in her class. For Marcus this was the end of a four month wait to drive ‘The Red Devil’ as the Radical has been nick named. He was more than happy with his purchase and it certainly lived up to expectation.

You can read full details on my runs on the SPR Race Diary page.

SPR Laps Goodwood (Tentatively)

Footage from my first laps of Goodwood in the newly track-prepared SPR.  The brakes and the tyres have been sorted – the car now goes around corners and stops when you press the pedal in the middle!

SPR – Trackday Goodwood 13.3.10

Brian said today; ‘This is me having my mid-life crises, and you know what its bloody marvelous!’

Here are a couple of pictures of our first trackday with SPR at the historic Goodwood Race Circuit. You can see more pictures under the ‘SPR 2010 Race Diary’ page.

Return top