01/03/2011 - The Lotus Elise Trophy has been one of the big
success stories for MSVR. With packed grids and thrilling action,
the series has become a crowd favourite, and has seen Lotus racing
expand into Europe. LoTRDC Press Officer Kevin Ritson
spoke with MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer at the MSVR Media
day on Wednesday (23 February).
Jonathan Palmer: Kevin, first of all the Lotus Elise Trophy is
now in its fifth season; you're getting and have always had strong
grids. What is the great success of the Elise Trophy?
Kevin Ritson: A couple of things really, one of the main things
is that we have a very social atmosphere. A lot of the people that
drive with us have been with us for track days beforehand, and
people that want to get into racing want a nice safe environment
and they want an environment where they know they can trust the
people on track.
The cars are pretty much equalised so the emphasis is very much
on the driver rather than the car itself so I think that's really
the key thing that gets people into it and also it's a relatively
inexpensive championship to take part in. The Elise isn't an
everyday car that people go and buy, mainly because you can't put
the family in it, but they're not too expensive, and the oldest
cars are now coming up to 13/14 years old so you can pick up a car
for less than £10,000 and get it prepped for racing for a couple of
thousand more and you're on the grid. And obviously not being a
championship means you can just take part in two or three rounds
rather than the full season.
JP: How many cars typically are you getting on the grid?
KR: Obviously it depends on the circuit, for example we had a
race with F2 last year on the Silverstone GP circuit and we had
about 45 cars on there so fantastic grids and there's racing all
the way through as well. We're not just talking about who is going
to win it's also about who is going to finish 20th and
who is going to finish 30th and so on.
JP: Presumably they key thing is that the Elise is a very good
base car isn't it? It's lightweight and you haven't got to do too
much to it?
KR: Exactly, it's fantastic and the funny thing is that before
we started there weren't many Elise's out there racing and for a
car that's designed primarily for the track and focused on the
driver that seemed a bit daft, and that was another good reason to
JP: This year you've got Lotus Cup UK, what's that all
KR: We've got a lot more support from Lotus. As we've all seen
in the past year or so they're very much a sleeping giant coming
back and they're embracing the motorsport environment from Formula
One down through the ranks. We've had Lotus Cup Europe race over
the past few years and the key thing was to get a nice strong UK
series and also to get a championship going. As everyone is aware
the MSA doesn't run too many championships so it's great for us
that we've got one with an added dimension and possibly tension at
the end of the year.
JP: And then your 1000k race, I raced here in a 1000k race and
won it in 1984 but now we've got the Brands Hatch 1000k race back
with Lotus and that was a big success too wasn't it?
KR: It was great - everyone thinks these little plastic cars
might not last more than five minutes - and we had 17 or 18 cars
out of the 25 cars finishing it. It was a great day and we got it
finished within time as well, and the drivers were very good, not
too many safety car interventions and it was a fantastic day's
For more information on the Lotus Cup UK click
For more information on the Lotus Cup Europe click
For more information on the Lotus on Track Elise Trophy click on
the logo below.