Paul Stokell Driving Events Track Day
Story and photos by Steve Lennox.
I’ve been considering doing one of these days for a couple of years now, mainly because the DTC doesn’t really give the Europa the opportunity to open right up. So, this year when my boys asked, “What do you want for your birthday Dad?” I was prepared with “sign me up to one of these track days.”
Before getting to the track I got the expertise of club members and a professional set up of the suspension geometry. This made a massive difference to the ‘road manners’ of the Europa. Further I spent a day before the event bleeding out brake fluid and thoroughly checking over the car.
Friday 24th July rolls around and it’s WET, I’m feeling nervous about the day. Anyway, get to the track do the paperwork, grab a great complimentary coffee and sit in on the drivers briefing. Paul (Stokell) is the absolute professional and runs us through the days event, he is very reassuring about driving in the wet and lets us loose.
I head onto the track quite nervous and in the green group (this is for the old and slow, if it were a wildlife documentary, we would be the most likely to be eaten group). Get a couple of laps under the belt and start pushing the Europa along, going fine until I have a spin on one of the tight corners, just let go mid-corner and before I knew it I got an up close look at the rest of the group driving past. Not a problem, get started and push on again, several laps later same thing happens again.
Our session is over I head in and talk to Paul, he suggests that I get one of the driver trainers in the passenger seat, I reply “probably be better if someone skilled actually drove the car”, Paul responded “I’ve never driven one of these let me get my helmet.” Well ….. how fast is the Europa, a lot faster than I ever thought, we just shot by all manner of cars and we were out with the red fast-group. Finally got onto the tail of Michael Blessas in his very well set up Elise for a couple of laps. We pull in and Paul liked the car and the handling plus he made special comment on how he did enjoy the turbo boost.
So, I ask what about the spins, Paul says too much pressure in the rear tyres, thanks Paul but according to the experts at Yokohama they advise ‘blah blah blah’ on their website. Paul shows me the tyres and says you aren’t using the outside of the tyre so too much pressure. So, I drop a couple of PSI out of the rears and head out on the second session, a completely different car!! Handling and behaving very predicably, and therein is the reason why these days are so worthwhile and FUN. No more spins all day.
I had many more runs through the day getting faster and more confident as the day went on, mainly because the rain stopped, and the track dried out. I know I was braking a long way before I should and not pushing the car as much as it could take, but I enjoy the car and don’t want to break anything, as parts for these Europas are impossible to source …
Paul through his business Driving Events runs a great day, worth every cent. The day went without a hitch and was well catered with lunch, drinks and coffees all included. He has great clientele with some of the worlds best cars running. We had an array of Porsches including the very new and exclusive GT2 RS, plus McLarens, American Muscle, BMWs etc. and of course Lotus. Walking up and down the pit bays was part of the attraction, then to see these cars at full noise on the track just made it so much better than the static cars and coffee events.
Paul also has Lotus Cars Queensland attending these events with a couple of their mechanics/technicians and all their tools to support the Lotus enthusiast on these days.
There are a lot of businesses running driver training and track days at present. Based on my experience, all I can say is “Club members, spend the money come along to one of the best track days”. It really is worthwhile and the support for the Lotus brand is First Class, plus we support one of our club member’s business.
I will finish by saying “Win win, no more spins”