2016 Track & Driver Training Day

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Lotus Brisbane with the Willims Motor Group invited LCCQ to fill four spots at their exclusive 2016 Track and Training Day partnered with Paul Stokell Driving Events.

By Alex Molocznyk. Photos by Shane Murphy.

Five Lotus turned up including myself although the other four were not club members one potentially is.

  • Naresh – Exige S
  • Dave – Elise S
  • Andy – Elise (no Traction Control)
  • Richard – Elise (with Traction Control)
  • Alex – Elise (No TC or ABS)

The format for the day was training in braking, slalom handling and racing lines then group track time under the tuition of Paul’s experienced team of instructors made up of current drivers from various racing categories. All attendees had their own cars and were split into groups determined by the marques: Lotus, Bentley, Audi, Lamborghini and a sole Maserati. The Lambos stood out aurally with an unmistakeable growl and visually in that they were all dazzling white; looking more like a wedding procession. The instructors mentioned they had difficulty identifying which one was which because they all looked the same.

The braking practice involved braking to the limit before ABS kicked in. Mine (being the only old school car without ABS) kept locking up the front passenger wheel. The instructor’s diagnosis was incorrect corner weight distribution and he recommended the balance be checked with corner scales. They were too professional to mention that it may have been an excess of lard on the driver’s side.

The slalom motorkhana-type course was what the Lotus is made for and everyone easily dispatched it with grins on their faces. We heard it was a bit of a handful for the Bentleys. The racing lines using the Clubman circuit was a follow-the-instructor procession using cones laid out as reference points for braking, apex and acceleration.

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The first track session with an instructor as passenger was followed by a superb buffet lunch. There was a lot to take in and trying to adopt the morning’s training produced some ragged performances that slowly improved with each lap. My instructor offered to drive my car to show me its capabilities after lunch. After a lap to familiarise himself with the car and its locking brake he went into the first turn at the fastest speed the car had ever been and proceeded in the same manner around the rest of the course. While I was bracing against the g forces that pushed me either into the passenger door or against the driver depending on the direction of the corner he maintained a smooth consistent high speed. His complete control of the car was absolutely astonishing. The cool, calm mastery and domination over the car while explaining what he was doing at the same time was amazing and showed what sets the professional driver apart from the rest of us.

The demonstration gave me the confidence to drive that much faster with each track session. By the end of the day we all agreed that we were driving faster and much better than in the morning. One of the highlights of the later afternoon session was the Loti easily keeping up with the Lambos through all the corners despite the huge power difference that became evident on the straights. Same as switching on DRS.

Responses by our Lotus team members on what they learned on the day:

“How sh*t I am”
“Room for improvement”
“Um spinning out 360. Don’t do it again” (following three 360 spins on the day)
“A whole lap with the instructor”
“Nailing turn 6”

It was a great way to spend a working day and our thanks to Willims and Lotus Brisbane for putting on a great event and to Paul Stokell and his team for turning us into faster drivers.