The fourth annual Lotus endurance race, dedicated to
Sean Edwards, who passed away recently
The traditional end-of-season Lotus endurance race followed
2012′s format, with a 12:25 start, ending after 6 hours, under
cover of darkness. Once again the entry included a mixture of Elise
Trophy and Lotus Cup entrants, plus guest drivers. The event was
dedicated to the memory of last year's pole sitter and rising star,
Sean Edwards, who passed away recently.
Last year's winning car, the Go Green Motorsport Elise, with
David and Rob Fenn on board alongside Adam Wilcox, would start as
favourite. The 1000km-winning Fox Motorsport Exige would see Jamie
Stanley reunited with 2012 team mates BJ Chong and Paul McNeily.
2012 and 2013 Lotus Cup UK champions Steve Train and Simon Deacon
were also competing, whilst Campbell Cassidy and Chris Randall
would be fielding a livery in tribute to Edwards, who raced the car
In the Elise Trophy class, Lotus Cup UK Production champion Andy
Napier joined runner-up Andrew Wright, whilst inaugural LCUK
champion Steve Quick teamed up with Craig Denman. Ken Savage would
race with his son Ryan for the first time, whilst the Witham Cars
Japan line-up, Adam Bewsey, Dan Plant and Japan's Yuji Shinohara,
were back for a third year in succession and chasing another
Practice and Qualifying
A Friday evening practice session provided an opportunity for
the drivers to acclimatise to the dark conditions, although many
had raced in similar circumstances at Snetterton a fortnight ago.
However most of the field turned out, despite torrential rain just
moments before the pitlane opened.
Track Club 4′s Jamie Orton and Nathan Freke pairing of Ginetta
racers found the Exige V6 to their liking to post the fastest time
of 57.522 seconds, 1.3 clear of CAST Motorsport, consisting of BTCC
newcomer Jack Goff, Deacon and Phill Capstick. The Hofmanns car was
third, whilst the Elise Trophy class was led by Martins Angels -
Martin Donnelly, Charlotte Burridge and Gisella Ketvel. Rob Boston
Racing's squad of Adam Gore and Jason Baker were next, just under a
In the initially dry Saturday qualifying session, the early pace
was set by the Fox Motorsport team, which was the first car to lap
the Indy circuit under a minute. Track Club 3 joined in with a fast
lap, before the Fox car lowered the mark to just over 56 seconds.
The entire Track Club squad of four cars then lined up behind the
Fox machine in the order, all five under a minute.
In sixth early on was the ES Motorsport car, leading the Elise
Trophy class with Matthias Radestock and Dave Carr on board.
However the Go-Green car quickly surpassed it for position, leaving
just two SuperSport cars, CAST and Hofmanns, left adrift in the
It wasn't until after 20 minutes had passed that a new name
topped the order - Michael Claessens and Sam Hancock were at the
wheel of Track Club 3, 2-Eleven and they set provisional pole at
55.017 seconds, 1.294 clear of Fox Motorsport. Track Club 1 then
posted the second fastest time - less than half a second adrift -
in Train's 2-Eleven, which also had Tom Chatterway and Marcus
Jewell on board.
In the Elise Trophy class, the Rob Boston Racing entry had
demoted ES from the top, by lapping half a second clear. However
the ES team fought back, by just 5 thousandths of a second, to head
the category once more.
With two-thirds of the session run, the Hofmanns car, liveried
in tribute to Sean Edwards, joined the rest of the SuperSport class
at the front of the qualifying order. The complexion of this had
changed a little, with the Go Green car moving quickly to the front
just as rain clouds began to form. It held second, with their
drivers needing to find just under two tenths.
The session was interrupted with ten minutes to go, with the
Hofmanns car having made gains to place fifth, however the green
flags were waved soon after. Then the Go Green car stopped on
track, and the safety car was back out for a couple of minutes.
Just over three minutes remained when the session was resumed
again, but rain had started to fall, so the order looked likely to
remain. This left Track Club 3 on pole position from Go Green, with
Track Club 1, Fox, CAST and Hofmanns leading Track Club 4 and Track
Club 2 in the SuperSport class. The Elise Trophy category was
headed by Rob Boston Racing from Martins Angels, ES Motorsport,
Witham Cars Japan, Perrys, Team ODRIC, Posh & Sex, Farmers
Boots and SO Motorsport. However 6 hours is a long time, so that
order was unlikely to remain at the end of the race.
Track Club got off to a great start, with 3 leading 1 and 4 in
the early laps, whilst 2 fought with CAST, GO Green and Hoffmans,
as Perrys led Rob Boston Racing in the Production class. However
Gore pitted his car very early, leading Martins Angels second in
the category, which soon became first.
There were some close dices between CAST, Go Green and Track
Club 2 in the early laps, whilst the Fox car kept close company.
The Elise Trophy category was somewhat civilised by comparison, the
drivers taking care to remain in contention through the early
hours, with Donnelly leading in the Martins Angels car from
Track Club 4 assumed second place as the opening hour
progressed, with Go Green preventing a 1-2-3-4 for the team. The
car piloted by Orton closed in on Hancock in the lead, meanwhile
there were problems for Track Club 1, which was in the pits and
under close scrutiny by the mechanics. The car rejoined dead last,
having lost several laps as the opening hour drew to a
Meanwhile the order remained Track Club 3 leading Track Club 4
by under five seconds, with Fox further back in third place, then
Go Green and Track Club 2. Martins Angels continued to lead the
Elise Trophy class, now from Team ODRIC, whilst the Perrys car made
its first pit stop, bringing the Rob Boston team back to third
The second-placed Track Club 4 car pitted early on into the
hour, as did Martins Angels from the lead of the Elise Trophy
class. The rain began to fall again, catching out Track Club 1's
driver, the 2-Eleven spinning down the hill from Druids.
The leading team pitted after almost 90 minutes, putting Fox at
the front for the first time, ahead of Go Green, who stopped soon
afterwards, as did CAST. A little later Team ODRIC headed to the
garage, handing Rob Boston Racing the class lead.
The Fox car was next to stop, after 100 minutes of racing. This
meant that Track Club 3 retook the lead of the race from Go Green,
who had jumped Track Club 4 during the stop sequence. However the
Exige V6 was closing on the Motorsport Elise and retook the place
as the second hour came towards its end.
Pitstops for Rob Boston Racing and Witham Cars Japan closed the
second hour, leaving Team ODRIC to take the Elise Trophy class
lead, but not for long as driver Quick left the circuit and this
caused a safety car intervention.
The third hour got going properly when the safety car pulled in
after ten minutes. This led to a couple of frantic laps as the
field sorted itself out, and gave a small advantage to the leader.
Elise Trophy pace setter Rob Boston Racing had swapped cars, back
to Adam Gore's example and with a couple of laps in hand over ES
Motorsport, had no need to rush at this stage.
Track Club 4's Freke didn't give up, and the Exige V6 surged
into the lead, with Go Green taking second as Michael Claessens
found himself under pressure. However the Go Green car was forced
to take a pitlane drive-through penalty for a driving standards
infringement, which lost the team valuable time, and similarly
Perrys lost two laps to a stewards' decision after a short
Hofmanns then took the opportunity to pit moments before the
safety car was called back into action as Quick entered the gravel
at Paddock Hill. At the restart there were three cars on the lead
lap: Track Club 4, Go Green and Track Club 3. The early afternoon
rain had gone too, with the sun starting to shine through the
clouds. However there was potential gloom in sight for the race
leaders, not from the car, but Orton, who was suffering with back
problems. With drivers only allowed to spend a maximum of two hours
in the car, the team had no option but to pit the car, which they
did at the halfway point of the race.
This state of affairs left Go Green in the lead from Track Club
3 and CAST, which was a lap behind, and about to lose more time
with a driving standards penalty, a fate also awaiting the Fox car.
In the Elise Trophy class Gore still led by several laps now, from
the Posh & Sex team.
The fourth hour started with high-profile pitstops for Go Green,
Track Club 3 and Track Club 2, followed by CAST. Whilst Go Green
kept their lead, the car was back in the pits with a suspected
cooling issue. This dropped it right down the order as Track Club
3, CAST, Track Club 2 and Fox quickly moved ahead.
After a few minutes in the garage, a failed water pump was
diagnosed on the Go Green car, so Track Club 3, the early race
leader, was back in front. This didn't stop the Go Green team,
however, and they decided to send the car out again after it had
cooled off a little.
The lead of the Elise Trophy class seemed to be in less danger,
Gore having handed the baton to Baker, and the Rob Boston Racing
team enjoyed a sizeable advantage over Witham Cars Japan and ES
The sky began to darken in the hour's final moments, and the
drama of the last hour subsided a little as the teams began to
contemplate the potential issues that the early evening may
As the drivers raced on into dusk, all seemed settled until 15
minutes into the hour when the safety car was called out to recover
a car on the way up to Druids. This resulted in a few drivers
taking to the pitlane, including the Fox, CAST, Rob Boston Racing
and ES teams.
The race was only neutralised for a few minutes, and as the
safety car pulled into the pitlane, the CAST Exige was still having
its tyres changed, Jack Goff the beneficiary of the new rubber. He
certainly took advantage with some quick laps, but those ahead were
on a similar pace and he had several laps to make up. He also
needed to look out for Stanley in the Fox car, who was just half a
minute in arrears.
Behind the Elise Trophy leaders, there were several unresolved
battles. Donnelly had returned to the wheel of the Martins Angels
car, and was chasing the teams ahead, many of which had pitstops
still to make. Witham Cars Japan went for a driver change, drawing
Team ODRIC closer, whilst Perrys looked likely to have just one car
of their allocation remaining in the race. Just an hour remained
before the pitlane would close, so there was plenty to look out
Meanwhile Track Club 3 came in from the lead, soon followed by
Track Club 1, but both were enough laps ahead of their immediate
pursuers for this to affect the order in any significant way. The
same couldn't be said for the Farmers Boots outfit, and Donnelly
leap-frogged them and set the Witham Cars Japan team in his sights,
taking Team ODRIC when they stopped just before the hour.
The battle for overall third place was also heating up. Stanley
had taken around ten seconds out of Goff in the last half hour, and
as the final 60 minutes approached, there was a lot of action still
As the final hour began the safety car was back out, and
Donnelly made a beeline for the pitlane for a splash-and-dash.
Whilst this would lose him time, he would gain some on the Perrys
car, which was in the gravel. Indeed there were still two straight
fights for the final podium places in each class. Stanley was still
20 seconds adrift of Goff, whilst Donnelly had a lap to make up on
the Witham Cars Japan entry.
With just half an hour to go the CAST car pitted and a pall of
smoke appeared as soon as the engine cover was taken off. Moments
later the team retired from the race, leaving the Fox car secure in
With the pitlane closed for the final 20 minutes, there was some
interest in the top two teams. Track Club 3 had a lap in hand over
Track Club 2, but Adam Knight in the second-placed Exige V6 was
lapping as fast as he could to see how much he could close the gap.
The difference between the pair's times varied by a couple of
seconds but ultimately the leader's pace was just too good to make
a difference. Track Club 3 won the race ahead of Track Club 2, with
Fox Motorsport making the podium ahead of Hofmanns and Rob Boston
Racing, the Elise Trophy class winners. They headed ES Motorsport
and Martins Angels and had also overhauled CAST in the final order.
Team ODRIC completed the top ten.
Updates from www.lotrdc.com
Photos courtesy of SnappyRacers.com