Silverstone, 24th August 2003
Lotus Esprit World held it's first meeting at Silverstone Race Circuit to watch John Hazzard's first outing in his self prepared Esprit V8 Racer. With notice a little short and it being a bank holiday weekend the turnout of Esprit owners was excellent. On the trip to the first meet up at the Green Man Inn. I spotted Dermot, Doors and Dan up ahead, catching them up just before the pub meant at least 4 Esprits (and one Exige, as Phil's 350 wasn't ready). The Green Man carpark was already full of Esprit's when we turned up. Including most of the usual suspects.
Adrian and Dave made the trip from Liverpool way and Dan and Justin came up from Bournemouth. So people did literally travel from all over the country for the meet. The guy in the Yellow/Green Stripped Esprit turned up, but left before entering Silverstone. This is the second time I've missed out on having a chat with him, after first seeing it a Stoneleigh. I'm sure I'll catch up with him a some point, as he's bound to have some stuff for the modifications page.
Lots of the Yahoo! Group regulars were there. Rob came along from Wales in his Sport 350. Alan Croft brought his 90 Turbo to add to Dermot, Doors, Dan, Justin, Dave, John, Richard, Adrian and other faces I now recognise, but can't yet put names too.
After saying hi to most and having a quick chat, we decided to head for Silverstone. Dermot leading, so the group didn't get lost, 18 Esprits headed for Silverstone.
This was one of the highlights of the day. The 10 minute drive to Silverstone was almost entirely done in an 18 Esprit Convoy (with one Exige at the back). Pulling into Silverstone we had 18 Esprit in the queue to buy our tickets to get into the circuit.
Adrian in his Orange GT3 isn't normally a meeting type of Esprit owner, but after managing to drag him down from up North, he enjoyed the day. Hopefully we'll see more of him at our meets.
You can see your author 'kato' hanging out of LEW's Black SE trying to get some pictures for this page and in-turn being shot by Robin. Robin hitched a ride with Adam in his Green S4s. Robin's Esprit is nearly ready, after having lots of work done, including an engine rebuild. He should be bringing his own G Esprit in future, so maybe we'll need a new cameraman!
Security were amused by our convoy. Andrew, who turned up at 2pm in his Blue V8-SE and ask the gate if they'd seen any Esprits. "You are joking..we had a convoy of them through earlier!"
We managed all colours and most models of Esprit, although only one G-Esprit out of a final total of 21, left the odds in Steven's favour. We did manage almost every Steven's model including NA, Turbo, SE, S4, S4s, GT3, V8, Sport 350, seems only a Sport 300 and V8 '02 were missing from our Stevens line-up.
On entering Silverstone we found the first carpark completely empty (well almost), so there was a Benny Hill moment as 18 Esprits parked up in front of a line of trees. The picture below is of later in the day when a couple had made an early exit. You can see late comer Andy's V8-SE on the right-hand side. Trust the late comer not to fill the gaps!
After parking up, there was the usual chatting and checking each others cars over. Plenty of pictures where taken, including the Team photo at the top of the page. We made Phil take it, as he'd brought along his Exige, so we wouldn't let him in the pic!
It was an impressive sight getting so many Esprits lined up. People walking up and down, looking at them all. Those who returned to the carpark during the day, found people taking pictures and asking questions about them.
Below is one of my favourite pictures of the day. This is the sight you got when returning to the carpark. You think 5 Esprits together is unusual, but when you get through the trees and see nearly 20!
We found John and his Esprit almost straight away in the Paddock. Turning up with around 30 people to look over his V8 was something! This was John's first outing in the V8 after spending a lot of time fitting a Porsche G50 Gearbox to it. We were all just looking forward to seeing it go round the track!
There were other things to see and everybody split up to wonder around and look at the other race cars. There was also a classic display which included the first Lotus ever sold. A MkIV Trial Car.
We watch the Esprit first outing in Practices with bated breathe, as we all know the Esprits can sometimes be a little unreliable. After spinning on his Second lap and almost being T-Boned by a few other cars, John settled down and put in some good lap times. Finishing 7th on the grid. But as usually the Esprit threw up some gremlins.
John's V8 had lost Turbo Boost and also once into the paddock had problems with gear selection. With the race 3 hours away. John had time to try and fix it in time.
With the knowledgeable Yahoo! members giving a hand to try and sort out the problem. kato held court with those of limited mechanical know how (including himself!). Eventually John sorted the Gearbox problem and seem to have boost again. It did look for a long period that it wasn't going to make the race, but the Esprit took it's place at 7th on the grid for the start of the race after a lap time of 1min 08 secs.
John had a great start and was fifth for long periods and closing on the Porsche in fourth. Two well prepared Morgans led from start to finish, followed by 2 Porsche 911's. But 3 laps from the end (as in practice) the Esprit lost most of it's boost, which left it struggling a little and finishing 7th. A good debut for the Esprit and an entertaining day for the Esprit owners who made the trip. Hopefully John's next race will turn into another LEW meeting and if we only get half the Esprit it will still be a great day!
Check out the race results at the link below:
You want the RoadSport pdf for 24th @ Silverstone.