On the 15th and 16th of August, JLMotorsport travelled to Brands Hatch for the annual Lotus Festival. After an unfortunate result at Spa, we thought it was time to set the records back to normal, and James and Andrew started this off very well by finishing the fastest in Cup practice on Saturday. But that was not where we stopped posting the fastest laps, because in Cup qualifying, James qualified fastest a good 1.6 seconds ahead of 2nd! His time meant that he qualified amidst some cars from the class above, which could make the start a bit interesting…
On Sunday, we arrived bright and early, ready for a busy day. With the Festival in full swing with hundreds of Lotuses present and thousands of people watching, James went out for the Elise Trophy qualifying. He ended this session 2nd, 0.2 seconds behind Luigi Massa and 0.9 seconds ahead of Ryan Savage. Another great qualifying session. After a short break, James prepared himself again for the first race of the Elise Trophy. After an average start, James fell to 4th where he stayed for 8 laps, before overtaking Jason McInulty on the final lap to take 3rd. With the reverse grid rules this meant James would start the 2nd race from 8th position. But before the 2nd Elise Trophy event, we had the 1 hour long Cup race to compete in. Starting from pole position, James got away well and had an untroubled race, coming in 9 seconds ahead before the pit stop. Then it got close. We didn’t have the best pitstop and took 7 seconds longer than Jason Baker’s pitstop which meant that he somehow came out ahead of us. Andrew then chased him down, and was able to get past and pull another big gap, finishing 9 seconds ahead. A clear 1st place! This now extends our championship lead to 16 points with the dropped round.
The final event of the day was the 2nd Elise Trophy race, with James starting from 8th. After the first lap, James remained in 8th, but then he started making some great overtakes. First on the list was Jason McInulty and after having some contact with him early on, James found a way past and up into 7th. Lap 3’s victim was Seth Walpole who was trying his best to not let James past and forced James onto the grass, but nothing could stop James getting past and up into 6th on lap 3. Then came the flame spitting car of David Stead. After being held up for a while and with Luigi Massa close behind, James found a way past and another great overtake saw him in 5th. James then had his sights set on Jason Baker and with Luigi Massa still in close chase, they took 0.2 seconds out of the gap on lap 5. After lap 6, James was still closing the gap, but was now in 5th after an off by Freddie Hetherington putting him in the gravel. James’ sights then switched to Ryan Savage as he was overtaken by Jason Baker. After lap 8, James moved up to 4th after an off from David Ellesley. That’s where James then stayed but he crossed the line only 1.4 seconds behind Ryan Savage. Another great result after starting from 8th place.
Next time out we will be at Silverstone on September the 12th, for a single 1 hour race that counts for both the Elise Trophy and Cup championships.