On Saturday 31st October 2015, JLMotorsport and Hangar 111 visited their local track, Snetterton 300, for the final race of the 2015 Lotus Cup season.
We started off the day with Practice for the Lotus Cup, where Andrew had to put in his 3 laps to be allowed to participate in the 90 minute long race.
Then was the first qualifying session of the day, for the first Elise Trophy race. James put in some great laps, and was able to qualify on pole, 0.4s ahead of 2nd.
Following that was qualifying for the Lotus Cup race, where James repeated his previous qualifying session and ended on pole in class.
We started off the racing with the first of two Elise Trophy races. James, starting on pole, got a good start and kept his lead. With championship leader Luigi Massa falling from 2nd to 3rd, James continued to pull away. All of a sudden Craig Denman, currently in 2nd place, put his foot down and started to reel James in, slipstreaming him down the straights, getting closer every lap. Towards the end of the race, Craig got close enough to put a move on James going into the first corner. James stuck close behind and when Craig made a mistake going into the infield, James was there to pounce and retake 1st place. A lap later, the chequered flag was waved and James secured his first win of the weekend.
Next was the Elise Trophy finale, which determines the championship winner. With James about 20 points behind Luigi Massa. The dropped rounds meant that James would have to win the race and get the fastest lap, bearing in mind he was starting 10th with 45Kg of success ballast, and Luigi had to not finish. James was able to pass Luigi on the 3rd lap, after working through some of the grid right in his tail. After the full 20 minutes, he was able to get up to 4th, with Luigi finishing 7th and taking the title. A valiant effort rewarded with a well deserved 2nd place in the championship.
The last race of the season for JLMotorsport and Hangar 111 was the 90 minute Cup race, where we went into the race leading the championship by 29 points. James, starting on pole, got away cleanly and pulled away from the Production class and decided to start racing a V6 Exige from the class above. All was well, and with James pulling a 20 second gap, the safety car was deployed during the pit window. We were able to get James in under the safety car, and after a good pitstop and driver change, Andrew went back out in the lead. After the safety car period, the gap to 2nd had been reduced to 10 seconds, but with a pro driver in the car behind too now, 2nd started to close in on Andrew. Unfortunately gearbox issues meant Andrew was unable to out in consistent fast laps, and 2nd place eventually caught him. Another Production car that was 8 laps down, due to problems that meant they started 8 laps down and from the pits, got in Andrew’s way, not yielding to the blue flags and held him up around the final corner. This meant that the car in 2nd was able to get a much better exit speed and they were able to pass Andrew, putting us in 2nd. Andrew was unable to catch them, meaning we finished the race in 2nd place, more than enough to take the championship though!
There was a great spray of champagne as James and Andrew were crowned as champions after a great season, only James’ 2nd ever season of racing, and there were shouts of joy from the team as all the hard work from the season paid off.
James and Jake would like to give a huge thanks to all our sponsors for this season, and to Hangar 111 too, for producing a fantastic car throughout the season.
Hopefully we can go back and defend our title next year!