On the 29th of October, JLMotorsport & Hangar 111 ventured to their local circuit – Snetterton 300 – for the final Lotus Cup UK & Elise Trophy race of 2016.
James went straight into qualifying for the Lotus Elise Trophy, with 30KG of success ballast from the result at Silverstone, and after 3 laps, put in what we thought was a super lap to put him on pole. A matter of minutes later, Alex Ball, Will Stacey and Jason Baker were all able to put in faster laps with Alex Ball putting in an unbelievable 2.10 dead! James then improved on the last lap to go third with a 2.10.8, however due to him taking a little venture onto the grass his time was later disallowed. This put him 4th, with Jason Baker, William Stacey and Alex Ball all in front.
Only 20 minutes later cam the 30 minute Lotus Cup UK Qualifying session. James put in an early lap to put him on pole, but was beaten by a flying Luigi Mazza (sharing his car with John LaMaster) to put James into second, still on the front row.
A short break later, and James headed off to the assembly area for the first Lotus Elise Trophy race. starting for fourth, he hoped to get himself up onto the podium and get an early trophy. He got away with an amazing start, propelling his car straight into 2nd place, right behind Alex Ball. He then continued to keep a mere one second gap between him and Ball all the way until the final lap, where Ball’s car cracked under the stress and James breezed past to take a win. Following him over the line was Jason Baker, who narrowly beat Alex Ball on the final 100m sprint due to Ball’s car problems.
Next we prepared ourselves for the hour long Cup race, which includes a short 3 minute (minimum) pitstop. James got himself next to Luigi Mazza on the grid and set off for the green flag lap. When they came around for the rolling start, Mazza put his foot down and started to slowly move away from James. James then settled into the race, keeping Mazza in his sights, but not too close to hinder his times and let 3rd place (Jason Mcinulty) catch up. After 32 minutes James pitted, trying to under cut the number 65 car of Luigi Mazza. Our plan worked perfectly as the Hangar 111 team executed a perfect pit stop and James came out after only 3 minutes and 3 seconds in the pits. On the next lap, Luigi Mazza pitted and changed drivers to John LaMaster, and when they came out James just passed them on the straight, putting him into 1st position! James then continued to pull away from LaMaster and ended the race in 1st, 10 seconds ahead of LaMaster! A perfect race by James, rewarded him with another chance to get on the top step of the podium (pictured below), another first place trophy and of course some champagne!
The final race of the day was the second 20 minute Elise Trophy race. James started in 10th for this after the reverse grid and also had 45 KG of success ballast on board from his earlier win. He started well again and slowly worked his way through the first few people. He came around in 6th after the first lap, but quickly set his sights on the people ahead. After lap 2, James had moved himself up to 6th after passing Stuart Ratcliff, who was struggling with car issues throughout the weekend and not on his usual form. Next came the number 10 car of David Alexander, and then the number 48 car of youngster William Stacey. James worked his way past both of them, putting himself onto the podium after only 3 laps! William Stacey didn’t give up though and passed James on the next lap, putting James just off the podium. James then stayed in 4th for the next few laps, until he finally caught the number 11 car of Jason Mcinulty and passed him on the final lap when Jason unfortunately made contact with a back marker taking him out of the race. James took full advantage and appeared around Corum in 3rd, then cam through to take the chequered flag for yet another podium!
After a great weekend, with 3 races ending in 2 race wins and one third place, James will next be out on Wednesday when he will be testing a Porsche Carrera Cup 911 race car as he looks at what he will contend in next year!
Photos courtesy of Snappy Racers – www.snappyracers.com