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James Petrocik's 1999

James Petrocik from North Carolina, United States owns a 1998 V8 in Black, with a Magnolia interior


Year: 1999
Colour: Black
Interior: Magnolia
Driving Style: It depends where I am and what I think I can get away withl
Miles per year: 6,000 plus
Owned Since: 9 Sep 2004
Purchase from: Private Sale
Maintained & Modified By: PetroTech Racing (me)
Other Cars: 86 Esprit, 74 Europa, Type 61M Formula Ford, Chevy Pickup, and Freightliner Century Class S/T
Previous Lotus': In addition to the above, 4 other Europas, Super 7, and a Type 47
Why an Esprit: PI guess the real question is: Why a Lotus? After seeing a Super 7 spank a Corvette at an autocross many years ago. It's been a natural progression and addiction since buying my 1st Europa Twin Cam Special, (new, which I still have). The only thing better than having a Lotus, is having more of them. I drive the Esprit frequently and it's been great. Normally I take it on two long trips yearly, that average 1,800 miles. The power, handling, overall performance and styling of the Esprit always puts a smile on my face. It's a cool car to look at and a really fun car to drive.
Upgrades: I learned early on not to be shy about upgrading and modifying Lotuses. The first thing I did was to get rid of the hideous stock steering wheel and replace it with a nice MOMO. I replaced the stock exhaust system with a polished stainless system with Hyper-Flow cats, a center exit exhaust and no muffler. Sounds awesome and runs great. I installed GAZ shocks, Eibach springs, and cryo treated crossed drilled rotors, EBC yellow pads, and Blow Off Valves. On the interior, using the later model shift knob and some minor machining on the lever. I managed to shorten the overall height of the lever by about 2". I also did not like the instrument layout. So redesigned the instrument cluster and added a boost and oil pressure gauges, and finished it in carbon fiber. You can see details and pictures of that project at the Lotus Esprit World site, modification section; interior. I got rid of the Toyota tail lights and converted it to the 2002 style with LED lights. See Lotus Esprit World site for details and pictures. I installed an aluminum radiator with improved fans. The wheels are custom three piece, five spoke, 18" and 19". The tires are BFG, G-Force DKW2, 235-40-18 & 295-35-19. And most importantly Gates heavy duty (blue)cam belts. By this summer I will finish powder coating the cam covers, plenum, and blow off valves in blue, like the Sport 350. Also replacing the injectors with the improved RC injectors. I am also going to do carbon fiber Hydro-Graphics on the air cleaner covers, engine cover, and wing covers on each side of the engine cover.
Problems: I had to replaced the axle seals twice until I finally got the sealing process correct. The oil pressure sending unit had a small leak from the plastic cap. Replaced it but a few months later it started leaking again. When I modified the instrument cluster, I remoted the sending unit away from the block…end of issue. The 02 sensor fault codes set several times until I went back to Bosch sensors. I have tried to stay ahead of most of the common issues by being proactive in my maintenance, not abuse the clutch, transaxle, and monitor the cam belt tension/pulleys.


UPDATE Jan 2013



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