TEAM ESPRIT Launch
Lotus Esprit World attended Club Lotus launch of TEAM ESPRIT at Stoneleigh (nr. Coventry) on Sunday 15th June 2003. Now after the launch being delayed at Donington and Castle Combe, expectation (well mine) was high. More time to organise and arrange, plus the fact that it wouldn't be diluted by the gathering that Donington is and the track day that dominates Castle Combe.
Positives first. The weather was wonderful, a beautiful hot and sunny day. Perfect for wondering around looking at beautiful cars and getting a little red at the same time. The location was both easy to find (although I got lost on the way out), fairly empty of other events and very modern. A large hall was dedicated to the TEAM ESPRIT launch, with a few models of interest inside. There was also only a couple of other Lotus models about. So it was just Esprits!
The best thing about the day was the turnout. With fine weather and a central location the number of Esprits that turned up was more that anyone expected (well me at least). Most models were present, with about the Essex the only Esprit missing. I turned up around 10am and found most of the main parking gone. I ended up in the corner by the fire exit. Club Lotus did a great job of getting 80+ Esprit's in one place. I wish Lotus Esprit World had the influence to manage that!
Lotus Esprit World's Black SE hidden away in the corner.
The Lotus Esprit World Calendar was well recieved by the crowd at Stoneleigh. With two of the three demo's going missing, even with spelling mistakes, they should look good on someone's wall. With the response I got, I will definately be producting a batch of at least 100. The news page will have any updates on availability.
I'm afraid that's were the positives ended for me (and a few others, from what I gather). Firstly before I go on about what was wrong with the event, I will say I had a great day and enjoyed it thoroughly. It's only what it could have been that let the day down.
Firstly the parking and organisation of it was non-existent. All the Esprits ended up strung along the road, which meant owners were stretched out and instead of a nice health gathering, as say Donington, it was easy to miss owners and Esprits. I missed the only Sport 300 (in yellow) and only caught a glimpse of it as it was leaving. Anyone turning up later, ended up parking about a quarter of a mile away at the far end, or stuck down the side road with the 'other' cars. This particular part of the Centre wasn't design for parking 80+ cars. The day would have been massively improved, just by having the Esprit park up together in a block. Just needed the space, which was there, but I doubt they'd have like 80+ cars parked on the lush grass.
I was also expecting to spend some of my hard earned cash on some Lotus products. Maybe a few things for the site, some nice Lotus Dust caps or anything that took my fancy. Having been informed of invites going out to all the main vendor, I had expected at least a few to turn up with stalls. No vendors turned up, and I left having spend £1.30 on a bottle of sprite. Others I talked to had also expressed a disappointment in the lack of any traders. The free tea & coffee mentioned in the letters sent out to Club Lotus members ending up at 90p a cup! Choice of food and refreshments was in very short supply. An ice cream van would have made a killing!
The Esprit Forum started at around 11.30am. Seats were laid out in the Centre, a flip board was in the corner and a speaker system was employed so we could all hear. Club Lotus' Graham Arnold and Kelvdon Motors Pat Thomas were at the front and running the Forum. They started by running through the items to be addressed by the Forum, which was a little light on content. Then went in to the negatives of the Internet and how Esprits on the Internet are not worth looking at. Which wasn't really a good idea as most people at the event use it. Then onto used Esprit prices, with was so negative I nearly sold my Esprit to the bloke next to me, but he wasn't interested as he'd been listening too! More negativity on Esprit parts, which was inaccurate. I'd be most surprised if someone had decided to sell there Esprit after walking out of this Forum.
They then sort of tried to answer a few questions (including mine) that had been sent in by Club Lotus members. With only two of them there and from what I've heard, one of them never owning an Esprit, they were always going to struggle. Two of the questions that I could have answered in detail, were skipped over, with one of them, in there opinion, being unanswerable!!!! My question about safe increases in boost, was answered by saying we should run less boost! Not really what I had in mind! I personally think taking the turbo off is probably safer!
Then followed a talk on maintenance tips, with about 20 minutes dedicated to changing a cam-belt. Most owners know this already and if they didn't, it should only take a couple of minutes to explain. Change it every 2 years or 24,000 miles or your risk the chance of major engine damage. There, Done. You don't need to know more. Just do it, or start saving! I was at this point struggling to keep my eyes open. I deal with Esprits everyday through Lotus Esprit World and they managed to bore me on my favourite subject. At this point I decided it was looking to nice outside with 80 odd Esprit's parked in the sunshine to continue with the forum. I think maybe it should have been split up over the day instead of doing one big session.
I was expecting a few more people doing different pieces on different aspects of Esprits and Esprit ownership! Not two people trying to do it all themselves. I would have been happy to help out and answer some question and give some advice and I'm sure there were plenty of others there with valuable knowledge that could have helped out. I did offer to help Club Lotus run TEAM ESPRIT a few weeks after Donington. My offer was declined.
In the End of the day, I think we could still work with Club Lotus to improve these events. How is a different matter, as they seem to want to do everything themselves. But any club that can bring together so many owners has got to be worth something. I enjoyed the day and would go again. I'll be at Donington and Castle Combe next year and hopefully Stoneleigh for another TEAM ESPRIT meeting.
There seem to be a bit of a gathering around the yellow and orange Esprits! Mr Dave Walters giving PNM a big plug!!!
This was the Esprit that grabbed most of the attention. Some loved it! Some hated it! You can make your own mind up. I was told its an 1988 NA!
Alan 'Sill Man' Paterson arriving and doing a little business. A pic of the gearshift surround. I ordered one after seeing it on the day!
A few BRG Esprit about will please Frenchman Vince!
Stuart Mcintosh's BRG was there just so we could take pictures for Vincent and of course a little video clip!
Evil Dr Fish warms the passenager seat of an Esprit while waiting to drive his for the first time.
Some of the picture above were taken and supplied by Robin 'Evil Dr Fish' after managing to blag a lift in 3 different Esprits.
Some of the Yahoo! Group met up at Newport Pagnal Service Station before coming together to Stoneleigh. A few met even earlier at a local Ferrari dealership!!!!
If you have any comments on the day, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title TEAM ESPRIT and I will add the best to this page. Hopefully this will give other points of view and not just my own.