The Chapman Report
Published by the Golden Gate Lotus Club
PO Box 117303 Burlingame, CA 94011
GGLC Lotus Calendar 1999
11 Fabrication and Welding day at
John Zenders Menlo Park
16 Meeting Victors Burlingame
24 Lotus Dyno Day and swapmeet/grand opening/BBQ at Spencers shop Hayward
25 Dream Machines show - Half Moon Bay
1-2 Monterey Peninsula British Car
15-16 GGLC West Coast Lotus Meet
and track day at Thunderhill
21 Meeting TBD
21-23 Wine Country Classic Vintage
races Sears Point
13 Zender Rallye Woodside Hills
18 Meeting Hamai's - Palo Alto
16 meeting TBD
16-18 LOG 19 - Lotus Ltd Corning NY
8 Santa Cruz Mountain drive sponsored by the Dubberleys
20 Meeting TBD
27-29 Lotus corral at the Monterey
Historics (featuring Auto-Union)
11 British Car AutoX (tentative)
12 All British Car meet Palo Alto
15 Meeting TBD -
19 Meeting TBD -
5 The Toddler Toy Rallye -Fremont
?? GGLC Holiday Party ,TBD
Fabrication Seminar and Free Welding day
Sunday April 11
This day will be an opportunity for you to learn the basics of metal fabrication and welding. Please bring a small project to fix or fabricate and well do our best to get it done. Ill be available to do welding or teach you how if you like.
This will be an excellent opportunity to fix that cracked frame, make your fire extinguisher mount, or fab an oil catch tank for the WCLMl track day. Remember that projects are limited to Lotus and track car items only. The reason for this is to limit the number of attendees.
Bring a pair of safety or prescription glasses if you have them.
(650)368-9105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Open House, Dyno Day, and Swap Meet at Spencers Saturday, April 24
This is to remind everyone that on Saturday April 24th Barry Spencer will be having an open house to celebrate the move to his new location. If you would like to know how much horsepower your Lotus is putting out, Keith Paulson from Superior Dyno Service will there with his mobile dyno to test your Lotus. If you want to have bragging rights at the next club meeting, or if you simply want to know how much power your car is putting out, regardless of the level of tune, then youll want to call Barry and reserve a space. The cost is $65 per car and Keith will make three runs to obtain an average output and will print out a graph of your cars power across the RPM range. Since only 2-3 cars can be tested per hour, space is limited. Barry will be taking down names on a first come, first serve basis that will start in the morning and extend to the late afternoon. If there is a specific time you would like to reserve, be sure to call Barry as soon as possible to ensure that you get the time slot you would like. If you know youre going to participate but havent called Barry yet, I would encourage you to call as soon as you can as we would like to fill up the time slots and get a good idea of what kind of cars will be on the dyno. When you call Barry please give him your name, phone number, kind of car, and if you have it, the ground clearance. Minimum ground clearance will be ~2.5". A list will be sent to Keith with the stock ground clearance for a variety of Lotuses, so if your car is stock and you dont know the ground clearance, we will provide the information for you. It is very important that you state the ground clearance of your car if it has been lowered so that Keith can bring appropriate ramps to accommodate your car. Since Keith will be explaining exactly what he will be doing to your car before the run is made, we ask that you be present two hours before you are scheduled to run so that Keith can speak to groups of about 4-6 people at a time. This will help get as many cars through as possible throughout the day. Use the time in between to socialize with other Lotus-philes, check out cars, and walk through the new Spencers European. We will also have a buy/sell/swap meet for those who have any Lotus parts that they might have around their garage that are taking up space. Look for Barrys flyer in the Chapman Report and I hope to see you all there!
Well we finally had our first GGLC event of the year on March 27th with a drive up to Dave Beans shop and a tour through the gold country to Daffodil Hill. We departed from two locations, Livermore and El Sobrante, and had a total of about 14 cars meet at the Beans. The Livermore group got to the Beans at about 11:00, however the El Sobrante group upheld a Lotus club tradition of having a minor problem which slowed them down a little. I think the official statement coming from Victor Holtorf was that his Europa was pumping out so much power that the exhaust system just couldnt handle the pressure. As a result, the muffler simply blew off the car. Well, thats the story were telling the Porsche club and were sticking to it!
For the Livermore group, the trip out to 580 was great; Joel Lipkin took us on the backroads which bypassed a portion of the freeway. However, as we got closer to San Andreas, there was a sharp increase in the number of police cruising around. When the moment required it, we became responsible adults so as to avoid any problems and we got through unscathed.
Once we got to the Beans we were treated to some refreshments and a nice display of the various parts and Lotus goodies that Dave and Roberta have on hand. It was a while before the El Sobrante group arrived but the important thing was everyone made it. We had a good time and I believe there were several people who bought parts from Dave and Roberta.
After the socializing and parts sales were more or less finished, most of us drove down the street to a local deli to fuel up before the drive. Bob Zender was nice enough to volunteer to be our guide through the hills of the gold country and a few of us remaining Lotusers left the deli for a spirited drive up to Daffodil Hill. We drove on some great roads that really put our suspensions to the test, and the good news was that the quickest part was void of any RVs, Minivans, trucks, or Stupid Useless Vehicles (a.k.a. SUVs)! The best part? We did it all without a single word from the local law enforcement! I call that a successful outing.
On behalf of the Golden Gate Lotus Club Id like to thank Dave and Roberta for opening their doors and having us up to their shop. Id also like to thank Joel Lipkin and Mike Ostrov for being the leads from Livermore and El Sobrante respectively, and Bob Zender for being our guide through the gold country, thanks guys!
We had a good start to the year and I hope to see everyone at the future events. Id like to remind everyone that the track day is coming up quickly. Ive badgered everyone about preparing their cars and I wont say anything more about that. But what I would like to do is to ask everyone to please send in your registration forms if you havent already. This will help us prepare for the correct number of people and hopefully put on an organized and enjoyable event for everyone.
Look through the calendar of events in the CR and keep yourself free for the upcoming events. And, keep preparing those Lotuses and Ill see you at the next event or meeting!
Elise in the U.S.?
By Jon Rosner
When Mr. Artioli of Bugatti first revealed the new Elise to the world it
was a revelation. "Add lightness" had come back into the Lotus manufacturing vocabulary. The first production car with a glued extruded aluminum box chassis, no quenching, no heat treating to make up for welds, first production use of metal matrix brakes, absolute minimum overall weight, a true tour de force. Two years and then some into production and no US version.
Why ? What are the reasons ? Lotus has spent the money to certify cars
before to create a more diverse range, something sorely needed at present.There have been heated discussions on the net and in club meetings over airbags, crash testing, the costs to make the Elise US compliant, expected numbers of sales, et al. And since manufacturers don't share their cost information, the only way to really approach this is to compare the Elise with the Esprit V-8, the only Lotus available in the US. Body and chassis, interior bits, suspension and brakes, safety and regulation, engine and
drivetrain are the way cost are usually broken out. Body and chassis, Esprit bodies are larger, heavier, use more fiberglass, but are fairly automated in build and structure. Essentially two clams molded, cut by water jet and bonded and the waist. The Elise has two clams, a HAND LAID up nose and a HAND LAID up tail section that assured Lotus of low cost for low production numbers in case the car did not sell well. And a potential
bottleneck if the company ever sold more than a couple thousand Elises per year.
As for interior bits, the Esprit is awash in leather, recent ergonomic changes are an improvement, and interiors are very difficult to design and to redesign, the Elise interior is not only basic, but designed to be inexpensive to produce.
Suspension and brakes, similar in cost between the two cars, even before the elimination of the trick disks, costs were probably relatively close. Safety and regulations issues are accused of being the reason the Elise is not here. Look at the structural rigidity of the Elise, the extruded chassis has to be one of the best safety cages ever put on the road, the
whole car is designed as one brilliant crush zone.
Air bags? Big unknown, who would want to build a small light weight air bag for limited production ? But, Lotus had a bigger problem getting someone to help them with the V-8's early clutch complaints. Engine and drivetrain,
BIG difference, buying an engine is much more expensive than producing your own once you are PAST the development costs. And Lotus is very strong in engine development. And while I agree wholeheartedly with a friend of mine over in England that it is normally cheaper to purchase a mass produced engine as mass production brings costs down, this lower cost does not always get passed on to the purchaser, meaning Lotus. And while the Rover 1.8 liter K Series engine is marvelously light, it is going to be out of production in what maybe two years, and will therefore not be certified. And one other issue, paint, painting takes a huge amount of space and cost. Lotus had the capacity to process more cars through assembly, but not to get them painted, the 1.5 million pound facility started in summer of 1997 goes a long way in addressing this issue, but does not put it completely to rest.
With a break even point of 300 units per year, the Elise was designed so that it would be profitable to build even in quantities as low as 500 to 750 units per year. But that meant the introduction of fixed unit costs (someone else's engine) paint, being addressed with the construction of the new building, and the front and rear clams being hand laid up (no way to achieve economies of scale.) The Elise like the Elan M100 is a showpiece of Lotus' Engineering prowess, and should surely get the attention of other
manufacturers who privately seek their engineering consultancy. But at what
price to those who want to buy one ? The price of a Sport 190 in the US is
$56,000, a stupid wild a-guess would put the cost to purchase engine and
drivetrain at twice the standard issue price. Let's guess that Lotus pays
$2,000 per standard power unit, and $4,000 for the 190 (retail price of 6450 pounds in England), and that the other costs are the similar for production. This would imply to me that the standard Elise would have to sell for $45,000 in the US for Lotus to make a profit. Wild guessing, yes, but costs of production are costs of production and it is quite possible that the Elise costs Lotus as much if not more to make (cost of writing off development costs have to taken into account) than the Esprit.
Is it cost effective for Lotus to bring over the Elise ? Over and over we have had hints that the costs were prohibitive. Leading to the question of what can we expect, and when ? Rumors abound of a new Esprit model that will be coming in about two years. The latest rumor is that it will weight 2,000 pounds and have a 250 h.p. normally aspirated engine. Lotus is at the leading edge of aluminum chassis technology, check, could Lotus build a mass production technology clamshell to fit an extended Elise chassis holding a
V-8, check. Would the car benefit from economies of scale that can't be
introduced into the Elise, check. Could Lotus build different versions that share heavily in components like Porsche does, allowing for a range in price of maybe $50,000 stripped to $70,000 full boat, check.
Could it be designed from the start
Like the Corvette with soft top, targa roof and fixed roof types available,
check. Will the performance be astounding? If the Elise can do 0 to 60 in
5.9 seconds with 118 hp carrying 1,500 pounds then what will 250 hp do for
2,000 pounds? Motorcycle acceleration rates? Will it replace the Esprit, probably not. Will it add to and compliment the existing range ? Yes, definitely.
For the first time (in what 20 years ?) Lotus is profitable producing cars, with parent company Proton suffering in the Asian tiger financial meltdown, new investment money is not likely to flow to the factory coffers. Proton does not pump money into Lotus, The recent investment of 19 million pounds earmarked for manufacturing and engineering facilities, information technology, staff recruitment and training came from Lotus INTERNALLY. And excluding the 19 million pound investment, Lotus made 6 million pounds profit on 104 million pounds of income. Prudent decisions must be made, as imprudence could spell the end of Lotus as a car manufacturer. This means maximum use of whatever is available at the lowest cost and with the 907 unable to meet new pollution regulations the new V-8 or a derivative would be the most cost effective approach. And it will have to be done right from the get go. Car club members are quite willing to accept the idiosyncrasies of their favorite toy, but the general buying public in the US expects to change oil, add fuel and drive with blissful ignorance of the mechanical aspects of their new steed.
Norsk Hydro recently announced plans to build 9,000 Elise Type chassis near the Lotus factory who is going to buy them ? From the factory page," Lotus Body Engineering Ltd has acquired the assets of the automotive and aerospace engineering company MGA Developments Ltd of Coventry, England.
The strategic acquisition of a well-equipped, 70,000 sq. ft, Coventry base strengthens Lotus' position as a world leader in whole vehicle engineering and prototype build and will enable the company to bring previously out-sourced work in-house, increase engineering manufacturing work, providing increased turnover and expertise for the Group. Allowing Lotus to offer more extensive, faster in-house "design to manufacture" capabilities
including more steel car body development for both prototyping and mass production and expansion of activities in other engineering markets. Lotus Coventry's capabilities will include:vehicle styling and design vehicle
engineering automotive and aerospace tool design and manufacture prototype and show vehicle manufacture low volume manufacture." Other recent moves include changes in staffing at LCU, serious changes in dealerships (for example: major dealerships changed hands in California, weaker dealerships (Florida, Texas) dropping Lotus, expanded networks and showroom presence
from Chicago to Canberra.)
Can Lotus pull it off ? Yes, they can, the Elan M100 engineering showcased what could be done with front wheel drive, and it proved that Lotus could build a car for the US that had the ability to go 100,000 plus miles with maintenance costs and aggravation that may not equal Honda or Toyota in complaints per unit, but were ahead of Ford, GM and Chrysler. And I expect the V-8 Esprit to prove out to be the same. With Lotus as a car
manufacturer making a profit, expansion of sales outlets, improvements in abilities to do work in house, Elise production not meeting demand in most markets, and the V-8 receiving rave reviews from racers like Paul Newman, the future of the marque looks great. This next generation stands an excellent chance of matching the original Elan in bringing revolution once again to the North American marketplace, but this time with a much more stable and profitable base to work from. Expect performance to remain outstanding, prices to be reasonable, and for those of us married, with children, something we can play with and still depend upon to get to work on
a daily basis in the second fifty years of Lotus !
So you really want/need to get rid of that leaking, balky, cranky 365 and put in a cheap R17 Gordini or Fuego Transaxle? (continued)
by Michael Schlicht
Well start off this installment by reprinting the last paragraph of the previous months article which was accidentally cut-off.
From the preceding discussion it would seem obvious that the smart thing to do would be to get two usable transaxles and build one good one. I recommend this, however I have never seen a used R17 transaxle that had any extreme wear except on the 5th gear thrust faces and the needle roller bearing interface. It is common for the 1st and 2nd gear synchro teeth to show some wear. I have seen catastrophic accident damage that was very obvious as in broken ring gear teeth (No Martha, they cant be welded back on). If you do decide to use parts from two transaxles be aware that you cannot mix up the ring and pinion from different transaxles unless they are new! It is permissible to mix gear sets but be certain that the gear tooth counts are the same and it came from the same gear location. I have seen the case where the gears came from different transaxle versions and where one tooth count different. The gears would go together but they would be noisy and probably fail if run together!
The shift linkage and rear cover mods:
As I stated before, most of the work involved in a 395 conversion revolves around the rear cover. The rear cover and shift linkage mod's should be done before the chassis mod's. This way the shift mechanism can be done correctly and not have to be worked around the rear chassis mod's! A brief description of how the linkage works will help with the understanding of what needs to be done. When you push the gear lever forward the front linkage tube (down in the chassis tunnel) moves backwards. This causes the rear linkage tube to move backwards and the shift lever arm (gearbox actuator) to pivot. The selector (internal shift lever) inside the rear cover then pushes the shift fork shaft forward to engage a gear (1st, 3rd or 5th). When you move the gear lever to the left (driver side) the linkage tubes rotate counter clockwise. At the rear of the transaxle there is a pivot which causes the shift lever arm to move to the right (refer to the drawings).
Unlike the stock rear shifter pivot setup I prefer to take all of the weight off of the shifter shaft (gearbox actuator) to eliminate bushing wear. The required pivot is then designed into the rear cover using one of the stock Lotus pivots and a rod end. This setup is very easy to disconnect and requires no adjustments. My setup also has the slight advantage of biasing the shift pattern such that it allows slightly more gear lever travel before contacting the sides of the ball joint that is mounted in the chassis under the gear lever (reverse and 5th gears in particular). This also translates into slightly less angular motion of the linkage tubes around the engine. It turns out that this reduction in angular motion is designed into the "stock 336 setup that uses the hole in the top of the transaxle case for the pivot point. In the end both systems work about the same with the stock setup being slightly simpler. The stock setup is a little sloppier due to the rubber bushings in the pivot (this can be redone by adding another rod end with a bracket on the transaxle). My setup has a sliding joint that will eventually get sloppy but in 18 years of use I have replaced the rod end only once.
To modify the shift linkage you only need to replace the rear linkage tube but it is a good idea to remove the whole system from the car as you will probably find that it needs to be rebuilt anyway (this ill require removing the engine). I made my linkage tubes (both front and rear) from 1.25" diameter (.125" wall) 6061-T6 Alum. This saved about 12lb of weight! Thinwall .75" diameter Chrome-molly tubing can also be used to save weight. It is a little more expensive and will need to be painted or plated. The tubes will need to be bent to snake through the chassis and around the engine. I found that the stock bends where not optimum so spend a little time here and get it right. Don't be surprised if you need to do the front tube twice, I did! Have a shop with a real mandrel tubing bender do it (one that will not kink the tubing)! Do not use a cheap exhaust pipe bender as it will collapse the inside of the bend and weaken the tubing. A bend in the Aluminum tubing can be redone slightly if you don't get it quite right but the Chrome-molly tubing usually cannot as it work hardens to much (you can always bend it someplace else). The stock U-joint that is part of the central pivot (mounted on the side of the bell-housing) has a tendency to fail. I replaced it with an aircraft one (1.25" diam) that comes with a rubber boot. These can now be found at most racing shops. Threaded ends (1/2" diam right and left hand) will have to be made for this. Don't be tempted to use anything smaller than 1" diameter. I have seen several "high tech" small diameter (3/4") ones quickly fail on Europas.
The work on the rear cover breaks down as follows:
Moving the shifter from the right side to the left side: This is best done by making a new shifter shaft with a welded on shift lever arm (see drawing 1). The funny looking slots on the shaft (3) are for the circlip that is part of the spring bias setup. The circlip must be able to slide on the shaft. If this looks complex there is a good reason. I found out the hard way that the stock setup with a deep machined groove creates a stress riser and the shaft will eventually break. I had the embarrassing experience of driving a Lotus that was accused of having a unfair advantage, shedding parts on the race track! The shaft broke in half and promptly fell off the car just as I shifted into 2nd. Notice the selector held on the shifter shaft by two grove pins. The holes in the shaft need to be made as specified if you don't want the pins to fall out in use. I have found that most transaxles have the holes centered in the shaft but some don't. If you are careful you can use the selector as a guide for drilling the holes but be careful that you don't inadvertently ream out the hole in the selector (I Locktite the fork onto the shaft, then I drill using a drill press). They are easy to put in and a real pain to take out! Use Locktite when putting the pins in. The angle orientation between the grove pin holes and the circlip grooves is important, don't change it! Do not weld the lever in place! This should be the absolute last thing you do! If the lever is a light press fit on the shaft, it will be easy to align the shift linkages to get the gear lever centered correctly. Once you are happy with the alignment then mark the shaft and lever and have them tack welded together (I did this by carefully removing the rear cover and taking it to a welder). Contrary to popular belief the gear lever should not be straight up and down. It should be slightly biased to the rear and to the right. Put the cover back on the transaxle and play with the gear lever and make sure that you can get all of the gears. Then completely welded on both sides of the lever. You will need to do something about the air-lock created between the shaft and the shaft end cover. I bored a hole in the end of the shaft and then drilled 2 small holes in the side of the shaft. Next I drilled 3 1/16" holes through the cover next to the shaft bushing, but such that they will not be covered up when the shaft cover is pressed on. This allows a controlled bleed and dampens the side motion of the shifter a little. An easier way is to just machine a 0.035" deep flat on the last 1.5" of the shaft. The 395 comes with a nice rubber cover (boot) for the shift fork shaft to keep dirt out of the bushing. You will need to put a 0.5" hole in the end (so the new shaft will slide through it) and pop it back on the cover. A leather hole punch works nicely. The shifter shaft cover should be a light press fit. Use RTV to seal it as it will be below the oil line. For racing where you dont have a speedometer the drawings show a plug you can use. This uses an O-ring to seal it. You cn use the standard locking bolt or if the O-ring is a slightly to tight interference fit, the plug will not come out by itself.
Making the fore/aft pivot mount: There are many ways to do this. This design locates the pivot such that there is about 10 degrees of rearward angle when the transaxle is in neutral. This also provides clearance for the speedometer cable. I recommend having the mount machined out of one piece of 6061 Alum. This is then welded on the rear cover as shown.
The vertical link: The vertical link is made from a 1/2" diameter piece of 314 Stainless steel rod. This is a hard tuff material that won't rust. Do not be tempted to use non-Stainless Steel! There are several other Stainless alloys that will work but watch out, some are relatively soft and will bend with time. It is possible to weld the 5/8" bolt directly to the Stainless steel rod, depending on the alloy but the sleeve is a better way to distribute the load so that the junction between the bolt and rod won't fail. A 1/16" roll pin is used to attach the sleeve to the rod. There is another roll pin just above the rod-end to keep it in place.
The center pivot (bell-housing): The stock pivot mount is just fine. They do have a tendency to get a groove worn into the bottom bracket. If this is more than half way through, replace the mount. If there is any groove at all it means that the pivot has collapsed and the innards are junk. I recommend fixing it by replacing the old rubber with RTV with the pivot ends molded in place. Not only is this cheaper than buying a new one but it provides much better engine vibration damping! I will show this in more detail in the next article.
The linkage tubes: There is a pivot joint at the bottom of the gear lever. This has a tendency to wear and allow a lot of slop in the rotation of the linkage tubes. I made a new one out of Steel with a Teflon "Hat" type bushing. The stock setup has a shoulder bolt that limits the amount of clamping force (travel) which means that when the pivot gets sloppy you usually can't adjust it! I retained the shoulder bolt but designed it with a shim under it so that the pivot can be adjusted by thinning the shim. You can also adjust it by adding shims to the "Hat". Since the front linkage tube is made from Alum the pivot end is held in place with 3 screws. The rear of the front linkage tube has a welded on threaded Alum end. The rear linkage tube has welded on threaded Alum ends on both ends. Be aware that the center U-joint has a left and a right hand threaded shaft that must thread into the linkage tubes. Don't get them mixed up. As far as the tubing bends go one thing to watch out for is adequate clearance between the rear linkage tube and the driveshaft when the rear wheel is as high as it will go, in all gears!
Other stuff: The 395 comes with several position sensor switches. These where used to tell which gear the transaxle is in, which is useless on the Lotus. They can be left in place or removed, but the holes must be plugged. I modified them by cutting the ends off and welding a washer on the end so that they can still be threaded on but dont stick out much. I also retained the internal ball and spring which adds a little bit more "detent" to the transaxle. I have tried to obtain bolts that will fit but this is a Metric electrical thread which is not standard. If anybody has a source for this size bolt, PLEASE let me know! There are two sensors on the transaxle rear cover. I cut the mount for the lower sensor (for neutral) off and welded a small plate over the hole. The linkage tubes are assembled (locked in place) using 3/16" roll pins. There are 5 roll pins used, 4 on the center pivot and 1 on the rear linkage tub end (rear shifter tube assembly). First Locktite the linkage tubes onto the threaded shafts, then when you are satisfied that they are correct, drill holes for the roll pins. I have a lock-nut on the rear shifter tube assembly which makes the initial adjustment much easier, but this is not adequate for the long term. Put a roll pin in it as shown.
Prepare for Lotus Track Day
The WCLM Lotus Track Day is just around the corner. To ensure that you have an enjoyable day you need to begin by preparing your car for the rigors of the track. Here's a quick check list of things to change, check or do before you arrive at Thunderhill on May 16th.
ENGINE & ENGINE COMPARTMENT
1. Change Oil
2. Change oil filter
3. Change air cleaner
4. New points & condenser
5. New cap & rotor
6. Check condition of ignition wires
7. Check coil mounting & wiring
8. Check ignition timing
9. Renew spark plugs & check gap
10. Check battery fluid level
11. Check battery mounts (use metal mounting) - Bad/loose mounts will keep you OFF the track!
12. Check fan belts
13. Check all wiring, hoses, hose clamps & fuel lines
14. Replace the fuel filter
15. Check throttle cable
16. Renew coolant
17. Check radiator cap
18. Mount catch tank for coolant & engine breather
19. Check engine mounts for cracks or failure
GEARBOX, CLUTCH & DRIVETRAIN
1. Check oil in gearbox and differential, top or renew
2. Check for gearbox & diff leaks
3. Adjust clutch pedal play
4. Check clutch cable/hose
5. Check clutch cylinders for leakage
6. Bleed clutch hydraulics
7. Check U-joints (especially Europa half-shafts)
8. Check donuts (Elans), replace if cracked
9. Check diff strut bars (Elans) & diff mounts
INTERIOR & TRUNK
Having a great day at the race track is combination of car and driver preparation.
The WCLM Lotus Track Day at Thunderhill will be divided into groups. Each group will rotate being given at least 3 possibly 4 20-25 minutes sessions. I would expect a good driver to get in about 6-7 laps of Thunderhill during a session (lap timing is discouraged). This doesn't sound like much, but when on the track you'll be amazed how tired you'll get by the end of the session. Driver fatigue has a direct correlation to mishaps, something we all wish to avoid!
Monitor yourself closely during the day. If you tire during a session it is okay to come off the track early. If you get thirsty during a session it is okay to pull into the pits and get something to drink. These are track sessions. The goal is to enjoy your car. It is NOT a race or session to prove that you have the biggest balls! Such behavior will either land you in trouble or in the paddock.
Thunderhill weather should be warm, bring shade, wear a hat and light loose clothing. Legs and arms must be covered while on track. Jeans and cotton shirts are typically the most comfortable. We are planning to have refreshments at the track, but do plan on bringing water and keep yourself hydrated. It's okay to rest during the day between sessions. If you find yourself getting sleepy a quick 5 minute nap will do wonders to refresh you.
Remember a great track day is one where you go home with a smile on your face. SAFETY ALWAYS comes FIRST. COURTESY to other drivers is the rule. Everyone will be a winner if you come with an attitude that reflects courtesy and safety.
Driving is often said to be 80% mental, 10% skill/practice and 10% physical fitness. We all grumble at other drivers on the street, complain about their "lack" of skills and lack of courtesy. Why do they drive that way? Poor training? Why do they make mistakes? Lack of skill? Possibly but the majority of driving errors and accidents are caused by a breakdown in concentration. A perfect example of a breakdown in concentration is the occasion of following a driver who is using their cell phone and writing a note! They're weaving, changing speeds and getting in everyone's way. All from a general lack of concentration of the task at hand, driving!
It is possible on the street to drive at 50% concentration because we are only using about 10% of the car's capabilities. However, when on the track you may be using as much as 90 to 95% of the car's capability and this WILL require ALL your attention! (Please don't drive at 101% of you car's ability. We DON'T want to have to pull you out of your wrecked car!)
The better shape you are in the better you concentration stamina will be. Mental concentration takes a lot of energy. If you're out of shape your concentration may start to wander toward the end of a session. If you find yourself tired get off the track and rest. A few minutes of missing track time is a lot better than missing the rest of your life!
I like to use mental imagery or visualization. I memorize the track and the feelings of the forces that act upon my body. I can "feel" the car's weight transfer to the outside rear as I accelerate out of a corner. It's like mental movie that I can rehearse each lap. This mental movie is produced by practice.
To be a "good" driver you have to practice. Driving is a behavior and like any sport it requires practice. It doesn't matter if you're in your street car or not. You can still practice (not at speed) the precision needed to drive well. Pick your braking points, turn in points, apexes and turn out points and hit them. Be smooth - brake smoothly, turn seamlessly, shift without getting the nose of you car to bob excessively. Practice these skills every time you get behind the wheel. You don't have to be driving flat out to do them.
By the end of 20 minutes of hard driving the driver is not the only thing to get tired. The systems in the car are being taxed as well. So, a thorough end to end check is needed before venturing on the track. Use the above check list to guide yourself.
Starting at the front, jack up the car and grab each wheel first at top and bottom and wiggle. Check for looseness. If you find looseness it likely due to: a) loose wheel bearings; b) worn/loose lower trunion or upper ball joint; c) loose or worn A-arm bushings at pick-up points. Next grab the wheel at the sides (9 and 3) and wiggle. If looseness is found check: a) loose wheel bearings; b) loose/worn tie rod; c) loose/worn steering rack mount(s).
Remove the wheel and check your brake pads for wear. Check around the caliper and brake lines for leakage. This is good time to bleed the brakes. Any moisture in your brake fluid will (may) lead to brake fade. I bleed brakes before every race, even if the last race was only a week before! If you have steel wheels check carefully for cracks and damage. Elan and Europa steel wheels are especially prone to cracking.
At the rear, do a similar check. Grab and shake each wheel. Europa and early Esprit owners in particular watch for loose rear wheel bearings. Additionally for Europa, Esprit cars with loaded half shafts (half shafts that carry a suspension load), check them closely. Pull in and out on the wheel, if you find movement check the U-joints closely! I recommend renewing the bearing rather than just tightening the hub nut. Elan owners check the rotoflex donuts. Replace if cracked at all. Check brakes for pad/shoe wear, leaks around hoses and caliper/cylinders and bleed.
The engine should get all fluids replaced, checked for leaks and tuned with new spark plugs, cap and rotor, etc.
Finally, if you do replace brake pads/shoes be sure to bed them before going on track. If you're on new brakes and they are not bedded you are sure to get green fade. This is where the volatile elements of the braking lining melts and you end up with a hot liquid/gas between brake lining and disk/drum. You'll have soft spongy brake pedal and you'll take forever to stop! To bed brakes find a vacant road, accelerate to 50-60 mph then hit the brakes at about 75%, do this 4-6 times or until you experience the first signs of green fade. Then do an all out anchors out stop (you should experience lots of green fade, so make sure you have lots of room to stop!). Allow the brakes to cool, resting 20-30 minutes. Then do the routine again and then again. By the end of the 3rd session you'll find little or no green fade.
See ya at the track!
1996 Lotus Esprit S4S, some scratches in paint, 35k mi,. Will trade for very nice Europa S2 plus $8,000 Cash, or $25K outright. Need to move immediately due to IRS. Email email@example.com
1960 Lotus 18 Formula Jr , restoration in 1996 with less than 20 hours, log book, VARA, HMSA, and SCCA, All sorts of new parts and spare magnesium wheels, includes custom trailer with tie downs and fuel bottles. E. Moles (408) 268-3239
74 Europa Special, 38k miles, original, tired, not running, 99% assembled, all smog equipment, too many cars, $7K. Tom Minnich (562) 697-0547
Europa Parts for Sale Adjustable lower links for TC, chrome, exlt cond - $125; aluminum fuel tanks for S2 - $300/pair with sender; 8 x 13 Revolution wheels to fit flared Europa - $50 each; 7 x 13 Monocoque 3-piece race wheels, very light, almost new - $400/pr; instrument binnacle, new, thick ABS - $25, full set of instruments and switches, poor to fair cond., - almost free; header for Renault motor - $200; brake booster good cond. -$50; set of hubcaps and trim rings, beautiful new chrome -$200. Call John (650) 368-9105 firstname.lastname@example.org
1980-87 Esprit parts, turbo wastegate rebuild kit, new -$100, starter, new $100; Goodyear NCT 195-60-15 tires, new, (2) - $150; (2) front rims with Goodyear NCT 195-60x15, tires in good condition -$250; rear bumper, minor damage, repairable $75. All prices include shipping. David Condrack (707) 252-9298
1990 Porsche 944 S2. Red with a bone and black in. Carefully maintained, only 52,000 mi. $15,500, Rod (916) 773-6452
1966 Lotus Elan S2 #26/5611. Fast, reliable well
sorted racecar, owned since 79, body-off conversion to race car,
chassis gusseted & strengthened, racing
springs, Konis, oversized F. swaybar, dual brk. sys., larger TR-6 wheel stubs, Autopower roll bar, fuel foam in cell, close ratio trans., 3.77.1 LSD, hardened axle stubs, 3-tube rad., metal fuel & brk. lines, blueprinted Eng. bored .020" over, oil cooler, baffled pan, straight 2" tuned exhaust w/ SuperTrap muffler, plus more, vintage raced 9 yr. $12,500 inc. parts, race equip., single axle trailer. Bill, Elancpe@aol.com, (925) 943-6194 (CA).
Europa Twin Cam body (2009R, VERY early twin cam) The body is in pretty good shape, the rear fenders are flared, but not butchered. Hood and trunk lid, front and rear glass, window clips and frames are all there. Along with a very well made square tube rolling cart. I paid about $500.00 for it, and am willing to sell for same. (I have sent in the non-op '72 status to d.m.v. meaning anyone with a potentially non-compliant later Europa could use the body to do a swap have a legal car.) Jon Rosner 510.923.0738
1966 Lotus Elan 52 Roadster. Serial number 26/5611 disassembled for Chassis up conversion to racecar. All pieces inspected, rebuilt or replaced. Chassis gusseted and reinforced. Late model racing springs. Swaybar. Cortina Dual brake system. Autopower roll bar ('SC'CA approved). Fuel tank filled with foam. Close ratio Gearbox. Saulsbury limited slip 3.77:1 ratio . Tempeied inner axle stubs. TR-6 Wheel studs. Engine blueprinted, Bored 0.020 over, Balanced, Head cc'd with SE cams. Intake and exhaust manifold sanded (not polished) to gasket opening, Pan baffled. Straight through 2", tuned, exhaust with "Super Trap" muffler. Raced in 1982 to present in ICSCC, SCCA, HMSA and CSRG. Car has ICSCC and SCCA Vintage Logbook.
Won the 1982 to 1987 ICSCC 'C Production" Championship in the Pacific Northwest. Invited to the West Coast runoffs in GT3. Car kept basically stock and can be converted to street legal car with much work. All parts still available. Asking US $12,500 for complete car, parts and licensed single axle trailer. Bill Root - 1054 Camino Verde Circle, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925/943-6194) or e-mail: ElanCpe@aol.com