Our team spent the last few weeks (after a less than ideal weekend at Thunderhill last month) busy preparing for Round 3 of the 2019 Super Touring Championship season at Sonoma Raceway by making some significant improvements to “Heidi.”
As a Lotus mechanic for the last 9 years and recently becoming a first-time owner, we were able to attend one of the days of the annual West Coast Lotus Meet this year! On Thursday, May 16, 2019, We participated in the trackday portion of the event, which was held at Thunderhill West, and hosted by Golden Gate Lotus Club.
“Heidi” left for Round 2 of NorCal Super Touring Championship a day earlier than usual because Tom was in Japan - which meant that Graham assumed driving duties for this particular race weekend. We were excited because Jon had rebuilt the engine with brand new rod bearings, a new oil pump, and added an accusump system to help mitigate the low oil pressure issues we ran into at Sonoma in March. Shout-out to Jim from MMI Vehicle Systems and West Coast Ravenol for the fresh parts and fluids! On Thursday evening, Liam and Graham stopped by the shop to pick up the car and then they were off to Thunderhill.
It’s no secret that Reverie makes high quality (wind tunnel tested) aero parts for the Eliges and I’ve always liked their front splitter design. Although Reverie’s mounting solution works great and is solid, I decided to attach the splitter directly to the chassis, and not to the front clam. My reason for this is so that I can easily remove the front clam without having to remove the splitter first. This did require cutting the front lower portion of it so that it could just rest on top of the splitter…
After our successful test day at Sonoma on Friday March 1st, Graham and I brought “Heidi” down to SS Customs in Redwood City, CA that very same evening for the installation of this year’s livery. I was thrilled to once again partner with Adam and Scott from Skepple on the design, and my longtime friend, Shareef, from SSC on the print/install. The plan was that they would finish the car in time for the season opener, and boy...did they deliver!
Following my crash at Sonoma last October I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to continue racing with NASA in Super Touring because the ST4 class is growing steadily and we have great camaraderie amongst the competitors in the field. For a brief moment, I actually considered building another S2000 but realized after 9 years with the platform that it was time to move on and do something new. As such, in November we began tearing down what was left of “Irene” and selling any remaining/usable parts.
When we first acquired the Exige, Victoria and I had multiple conversations about what we wanted to do with it. Our original plan was to keep it street-legal, and just use it for canyon driving and the occasional HPDE events. I knew that it would have a much higher resale value if it was kept street-legal. Plus, being that this is our first Lotus, we liked the idea of being able to take it out every now and then. We also wanted to take it on long road trips and enjoy some of the fun back roads we have here in California. …Well, that idea didn’t last too long.
My first encounter with Lotus cars was when I was 18 years old and I signed up first my autocross in my 1996 Acura Integra with the Golden Gate Lotus Club (GGLC). I always thought they were “cool” looking and after going on a couple ride-alongs, I could already tell how fun it would be to drive one. ...
This event marked our second attempt at the Sonoma 4-hour enduro, part of the NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship series (also known as WERC). Last year, we attempted to run this race with 2 cars (my ST4 Honda S2000 and Liam’s ST4 Honda Civic). Unfortunately, both cars had to retire early because of parts failures. I broke two differentials (my main and my spare) and Liam lost a gearbox.