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track-group Lead 2015 Lotus Cup UK Championships

 

Ken Savage runs a track-club built & run Lotus 2-Eleven and currently leads the Lotus Cup UK Championship.
Ken Savage runs a track-club built & run Lotus 2-Eleven and currently leads the Lotus Cup UK Championship.

track-club drivers are currently leading both the Lotus Cup UK Supersport Championship and Lotus Cup UK Production Championship in a strong year for the team.   track-club drivers have won the overall title twice with Steve Train in 2012 and Adam Knight in 2014 – the team aren’t taking anything for granted however and whilst they lead the championship in 2015 there are three races remaining and every championship to date has gone down to the last race – often the last few laps of the last race!!

After a stunning 1-2-3-4 at Spa Francorchamps headed by a race win for the 2014 Champion Adam Knight the championship lead remains with Ken Savage in the newly built for 2015 Lotus 2-eleven.  Knights victory is thesecond overall win for track-club drivers this year following the Donington victory for championship rival Alex Reed.

Adam Knights Lotus Exige V6 Cup R - the 2014 Champion
Adam Knights Lotus Exige V6 Cup R – the 2014 Champion

In the Production Championship track-clubs Stuart Ratcliff in his third season with the team leads along with co-driver Anthony Dunn in their Lotus Elise 111R.

Ratcliff & Dunn have had to fight hard for their points with a start from the pit lane enforced at Oulton Park and a fight through the field after contact early on at Spa where they were also compromised by the timing of the safety car.

Elise 111R of Stuart Ratcliff and Anthony Dunn
Elise 111R of Stuart Ratcliff and Anthony Dunn

With three 60 minute races remaining and a dropped score to be taken into account both championships are very tight.  The next round is at Brands Hatch on the Grand Prix circuit as part of the Lotus Festival on the 15th & 16th July.  Given that there is a British GT4 test for the Supersport Winner and a Lotus Cup Supersport Test for the Production winner all the competitors are highly motivated to maintain reliability and results.

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track-group to offer finance options on motorsport components

track-group Ltd has successfully achieved FCA compliance and teamed up with Pay4Later and Close Brothers to be able to offer retail finance on its range of motorsport parts.  We believe this is the first time that customers will be able to spread the cost of the race engine over the course of a season or even longer.engine4

Engines, electronics and safety equipment are getting ever more expensive even at club level and with high end video and data systems, engine control and other electronics representing a significant investment for competitors over several years of racing we think that this will be a significant benefit to customers who want to invest in quality.

track-group see many customers who understand that putting the right quality component on a car can have significant benefits in terms of both performance and reliability but often drivers are forced to compromise due to budget restrictions which in turn compromises performance an d reliability.  If we can help spread the costs of these items and low or sometimes non existent interest rates it will allow drivers with more modest budgets to compete on a more level playing field with the big spenders in a series.

track-group represent a number of premium motorsport brands and we focus on only supplying what we use on our own vehicles – these premium brands can be a difficult to justify luxury for some customers who compromise their reliability and performance according to budget.  track-group can help avoid those compromises.

As well as premium brands like Racelogic and ATL track-group will also offer their own engine and gearbox build services and even bespoke wiring loom and electronic systems design.Video VBOX Lite 2 camera option

Premium motorsport brands looking for quality and pro-active dealer support can also contact track-group MD Stephen Docherty via Stephen@track-group.com if they think their brand can benefit from an association with track-group.

www.track-group.com

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Track day tips #1 – Your first time on circuit.

Ralph Hosier is a professional chartered automotive engineer, many of your will be familiar with his writing from the likes of Evo and Octane magazines, Ralph has very kindly written an article for those of you who are thinking about getting out on track.

Exhilaration seeps from the track, the sounds, the smells and the spectacle all conspire to grab you by the heart. The fact is that you would have to go a long way to beat the sheer enjoyment of driving at full chat round one of our many splendid race circuits, so it is probably quite high up on your list of things to do. Track day veterans will tell you there are a few secrets to success, some of which might sound surprising if you are new the scene.

The great thing about track days is that they are not a race. In fact racing is strictly prohibited, the idea is that everyone can go as fast as they feel happy with and enjoy the day. Corners are where the fun happens, you are entitled to handle the corner in any way you can without being hassled by faster cars. So overtaking is only allowed on the straights, it is quite common for faster cars to hold back on the straight to give themselves some space in front so they can then take the corner flat out without risk of encountering a slower car.

Many people worry that they are in some way ‘not good enough’ or that their car isn’t ‘fast enough’, this is normal and nothing to worry about. Because there is no minimum speed, no racing, nothing to compete against except your own fear, you could turn up in a bog standard diesel family hatchback and still have a great day.

Of course one excellent way of removing car performance anxiety is to hire a ready prepared track day car from track-group; these are great cars that are properly prepared for reliability and exhilaration in equal measure. Hiring a car removes most of the worry and leaves you free to concentrate on developing your driving, or just simply having fun. Of course track-group can also prepare, deliver and support your own track or race car but we’ll continue as if you are driving your own pride and joy!!

The big day.

As the nerves build before your first track day you might find that you get bombarded with conflicting advice, so just to add to the confusion here is some more:

  1. You will need to feel comfortable, so wear comfy cloths. Shoes are very important pieces of equipment, ideally they should have soft soles so you can feel the pedals, but the most important thing is that they must be tight enough to give you accurate control but not so tight that they hurt after an hour or so. Thick soles such as trainers should be avoided.
  2. You do NOT need a stop watch, you will not be taking lap times, this is not a competition and racing against the clock leads to accidents and a level of self-imposed stress that can ruin a fun day.
  3. If you are using your own car then service it before hand, belts (including cam belt where fitted), oil, coolant, gearbox and diff oil as well as brake fluid should all be fresh and at the right level. Depending on the car it may be best to run the oil level towards the low mark on the dip stick to prevent oil pull over, or towards the top end if the engine is prone to surge where the oil in the sump sloshes away from the pick-up pipe. Again check for advice on your particular model. Either way check the oil level after each run, consumption will be higher than for normal road use, take spare oil. Obviously if you are hiring a car from someone like track-group then a support technician will take care of this for you.
  4. Keep an eye on the temp gauge and if it starts creeping up then ease off and investigate the cause in the pits. But only look at the gauges when safe to do so on the straights. Don’t look at the speedo, it won’t help. Do look at the rev counter and avoid the red line, preserve the engine.
  5. It is vital to do a cool down lap before coming in (High gear, low speed and don’t touch the brakes) to lose the stored heat in the engine, exhaust and brakes. Never put the hand brake on, once the brakes are hot it warps the disc and can bond on quite resolutely.
  6. After a run has been completed open the bonnet and let the heat out, all the metalwork will be hot and will soak into fuel lines and electrics whilst parked up. Whilst there check everything is still attached and not leaking.
  7. Keep checking your tyre pressures, you will be pushing your tyres harder than you ever could on the road so the right pressure is vital.
  8. Don’t take loads of spare parts, whatever spares you take you won’t need, whatever spares you need you won’t have. Best not worry about it. But do take fluids.
  9. Take drink, a hat and sun glasses, tracks are strangely drying places, keep hydrated otherwise your concentration will fade faster than your brakes.
  10. The first few laps will be a bit bewildering, most people feel lost. This is normal and nothing to worry about. Your first few laps should be used to get familiar with the layout of the circuit. Just take it easy and build your speed gradually, you have all day and after lunch you will be much faster.
  11. Chat with the other participants, find someone with a bit more experience and get them to sit in. But bear in mind that anyone who says they are experienced are often deluded; the best guides are the quiet ones who don’t boast. Better still pay for some proper tuition, again track-group can help here.
  12. After lunch pick someone who has a car that should in theory be as fast as yours, follow them and try to keep up, don’t worry if you can’t.
  13. Keep a safe distance from other cars, particularly braking for corners. Build a bit of space by hanging back on the straights so you can safely go flat out through the corners, where the fun is located.
  14. When you spin off, stay calm. Stop for a few seconds and collect your thoughts. Follow the marshal’s directions, check all around for other traffic and indicate when you re-join the track. Your tyres will be full of mud so don’t go too fast and stay off the racing line until they clear, it will sound like a hail storm as the grit is thrown into your wheel arches but don’t let this concern you.
  15. Take pictures. Lots of pictures. Take friends who are good with cameras. Video is even better but you must get permission from the circuit and also from the event organizers first.
  16. Enjoy yourself. Don t push too hard, there will be other track days and the chances are on the first outing you will find niggling faults on the car anyway, preserve the car and yourself. Remember this is not a race, it is not a test, and it is not a test of your honour.
  17. When packing up to go home take a few moments to make sure you have everything you came with. Check the car is safe for the road if you are driving it home, check the tyres for damage and make sure the tyre pressures are right. Check the fluids again and if you taped up your lights remember to take it off!
  18. On the way home keep your speed down, nothing you learn on the track is appropriate for road use! You will have become accustomed to going very fast, your road speed may creep up on you without you realizing.

After your first track day you will probably be hooked, ideas for improvement to both yourself and the car will start pouring in and you will find it impossible to talk about anything else.

You’ll see signs about the track saying ‘motorsport is dangerous’, but what they don’t warn you about is that it is also highly addictive. If you start down this route the chances are your life will never be the same again. Go on, book a session right now!

Good luck.

Ralph.

Ralph Hosier is a professional chartered automotive engineer; he works with major car companies developing experimental and prototype performance cars. He builds and races his own cars in a variety of disciplines. Ralph has written for a number of magazines and web sites including Evo, Octane, Racing & Waiting, PPC, Full Throttle, Max Power, Practical Classics and Land Rover Monthly. He is a member of the Institute of the Motor Industry, the Institute of Engineering and Technology and the Guild of Motoring Writers. So he really should know better, if you spot any errors bother him and not us at his web site www.rhel.co.uk

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track-club win the 2012 Lotus Cup UK Supersport Championship

Steve Train running a track-club motorsport prepared and run Lotus 2-Eleven took the Overall Lotus Cup UK Championship with a stunning drive at Snetterton overcoming being pushed off the track and into the wall by another driver. At one point Steve was last on the road after being pushed off but a determined (and perhaps a little angry) drive combined with excellent pit work saw him fight back into the class lead.

The race topped of an outstanding season where Steve was one of only two drivers who’s car completed every race but the dropped score championship rules meant that whilst other drivers dropped zero scores Steve would have to ‘throw away’ 21 points.

 

Championship rival Simon Deacon retired with gearbox failure early in the race leaving the title straight fight between Steve, Tom Chatterway and Glen Sherwood.

Steve’s race engineer Simon Wilkins kept the championship positions from Steve during the race and gave him minimal information over the radio despite the team knowing the actual positions as the race unfolded. In very slippery conditions Steve lapped consistently faster than the other 2-Elevens benefiting from a set up day the week prior to the championship decider.

track-group Director Stephen Docherty said that “Steve deserved the title, he’s worked hard on his driving both on and off track, Simon has done a great job making sure the car was competitive and reliable and the team have been fantastic all season.”

Steve himself thanked all of the track-club team acknowledging that it was a real team effort to take the title and emphasised that he will be back to defend his title in 2013.

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August 2012 – ATL Dry Break Refuelling for Lotus

track-group release new ATL Dry break refuelling systems for Lotus Elise, Exige and Lotus 2-Eleven.

In conjunction with Aero Tec Laboratories Ltd (ATL) track-group have developed a bespoke ‘plug & play’ system that is an easy fit for the popular Lotus track day and race cars. ATL’s record speaks for itself being a supplier of safety fuel bladder tanks to the motorsport market for over 40 years. Having exclusively supplied the entire Formula One grid for nearly two decades, ATL is now firmly established as the market leader and their systems are on every Formula 1, DTM and BTCC race cars.

The Lotus system is modular and can include a complete system comprising of ATL 70 litre safety cell, car mounted female dry break fitting and Staubli vent valve and a 28 litre refuelling bottle capable of dropping fuel into the car at over 4 litres per second.

The system can be used in conjunction with a normal filler system as well for those who want to refuel normally on some occasions.

This race proven system has already helped a number of drivers to impressive results in Lotus Cup UK including victories in the Lotus 2-Eleven class for Marcus Jewell and Steve Train.

The 2-Eleven system comprises of the same Staubli vent system with a bespoke aluminium panel supporting a 2” female dry break valve replacing the standard filler next with a one piece specially manufactured fluorosilicone lined hose.

Systems start from just £895 and they are available from track-group Ltd and Eliseparts.com.

 


 

track-group are the leading track and race car hire organisation in the UK, their track-club motorsport arm and track-powertrain engine division bringing professional motorsport capability to the club and semi-professional race market. track-group specialise in Lotus and Aston Martin track and race preparation and they are proven race winners in every category of racing they have entered. track-group also represent a number of key motorsport brands including Performance Friction, Motul Oils, ATL refuelling equipment and HKS Performance parts as well as proving engine build and test services to the highest levels of motorsport. For information on track day or race car hire, engine and engine electronics services or track and race preparation and support visit www.track-group.com or e-mail your enquiry to info@track-group.com

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July 2012 – First Aston Martin GT4 win for track-club at Brands Hatch

Bolaji Odunsi took a great if unexpected victory in the track-club run Aston martin Vantage GT4 at a very wet Brands Hatch GP Circuit. A great qualifying performance in the dry put Bolaji P3 on the grid and looking forward to the 60 minute race the following day.

By the time the race came around the day had been mainly wet and despite a drying line in the preceding Formula 3 race the team opted to play safe and stick to wets for the start of the race with the knowledge that the pit window opened after 15 minutes.

This decision was justified by a downpour on the green flag lap and as the race started Bolaji slipped to P4 behind a car that he was clearly able to lap faster than but just couldn’t find a way past. This allowed the leader to open up a significant gap and Olivier Bouche in the lead #22 car did just that.

With Bolaji losing time to the leaders the team elected for an earlier stop that scheduled in the race plan which with the benefit of a timely safety car and problems for the second place car allowed Bolaji out into clear track just in front of the #7 car that he had previously been stuck behind. Now with a clear track Bolaji eased away and set about catching the not quick so quick Mantello who had taken over from Olivier Bouche in the Stratton #22 machine.

In a nail-biting race to the end Bolaji got within 0.5s of Mantello at the chequered flag but the Stratton Motorsport driver was cruelly stripped of the win by the stewards for an infringement when he made contact with another car when re-joining the track after a spin resulting in the race being awarded to Bolaji – not the way he wanted to win his first Aston Martin race but well deserved after an excellent drive!


track-group are the leading track and race car hire organisation in the UK, their track-club motorsport arm and track-powertrain engine division bringing professional motorsport capability to the club and semi-professional race market. track-group specialise in Lotus and Aston Martin track and race preparation and they are proven race winners in every category of racing they have entered. track-group also represent a number of key motorsport brands including Performance Friction, Motul Oils, ATL refuelling equipment and HKS Performance parts as well as proving engine build and test services to the highest levels of motorsport. For information on track day or race car hire, engine and engine electronics services or track and race preparation and support visit www.track-group.com or e-mail your enquiry to info@track-group.com

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Donington Park – Savage Maintains Lead in Lotus Cup UK Championship

Ken Savage drove an excellent race at Donington holding off spirited opposition from a number of drivers and capitalising on a smooth well timed pit stop to maintain his lead in the UK based series for Lotus cars.

Steve Quicks Toyota powered S2 was always likely to have the advantage on the fast flowing Donington circuit and this proved to be the case with the Norwich driver not putting a foot wrong in the 60 minutes on circuit.

Donington Park - Savage Maintains Lead in Lotus Cup UK Championship

Savage was told over the radio to hold second place and not to risk the car or a points finish and he drove well holding off Andy Napier and John Lamaster to take a podium and hold on to the championship lead.

Notes:
Ken Savage runs a track-powertrain build Rover k Series to Elise Trophy regulations with Performance Friction brakes and Quantum dampers. For more information on racing the Elise Trophy series, Lotus Cup UK or Europe or simply trying out an Elise Trophy car please contact Stephen at track-group via info@track-group.com or call 01480 860 707.

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track-club driver wins Lotus Cup UK at Brands Hatch

track-club race team member Ken Savage extended his lead in the Lotus Cup UK Championship with a dominant victory in the Brands Hatch GP event in July. After a disappointing end to the Lotus Elise Trophy race where he was “punted” out of the lead with a few laps to go Ken drover superbly in the feature race to extend his lead in the championship.

track-club driver wins Lotus Cup UK at Brands Hatch

Two other track-club drivers made up the podium with Dan Plant taking a well deserved second followed by Nigel Ayres taking the final podium slot.

Notes:
Ken Savage runs a track-powertrain build Rover k Series to Elise Trophy regulations with Performance Friction brakes and Quantum dampers. For more information on racing the Elise Trophy series, Lotus Cup UK or Europe or simply trying out an Elise Trophy car please contact Stephen at track-group via info@track-group.com or call 01480 860 707.

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Victory in Brands Hatch 1000km race

1988 was the last time a 1000km race was held at Brands Hatch, a race won by Martin Brundle and Andy Wallace in a Jaguar XJR-9. This race perhaps wasn’t quite the glorious Group C level but Paul Golding’s brave decision to resurrect a 1000km race for the Lotus Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup Europe race series was a gamble that at times looked crazy but turned out a spectacular success. The 519 lap 9 hour marathon was absolutely nail biting from start to finish with no team comfortable at any point until the chequered flag.

The track-club Elise R with Marcus Jewell, Greg Noble and Ramon Piñeiro on board took a giant killing overall podium and a class win against 18 other production class cars (a field of 28 Production Class cars and Lotus Cup Europe cars started). With the track-club run Perrys team taking fourth overall and second in class it was a spectacular result for the team in their third season of Lotus racing. Indeed were it not for an off in the first hour then overall victory would have been achieved. Each and every track-club prepared car took the chequered flag an achievement itself regardless of the spectacular race result.

Congratulations to all of the track-club run drivers – Marcus Jewell, Greb Noble, Remon Pinerio, Ken Savage, Martin Roberts, Eugene O’Brien, Simon Jones, Nigel Ayres and Paul Chase Gardener who all completed the 1000km

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New Elise R race car and Audi RS4 for track-club

Despite the busy track day and race season track-club haven’t been letting things slip with regards to fleet development. Planned additions for 2011 are a new race prepared Elise R and a DTM lookalike Audi RS4. track-club Managing Director Stephen Docherty commented that with more and more drivers looking to make the transition from track days to club level sprint and endurance racing the fleet will gradually evolve with more cars available for race hire as well as track day use. The first of these additions will be an Elise R prepared to the same specification as the track-club prepared Elise R raced by Marcus Jewell in the Elise Trophy series in 2010.

 

The Audi RS4 will replacing the popular but ageing BMW E36 M3. track-club will always try and keep at least one ‘super saloon’ and one ‘hot hatch’ on the hire fleet in order to give customers a variety of options. These will always include the ever popular Lotus fleet we will always try and ensure something different is available for those who want something other than a Caterham or Lotus. The awesome Palmer JP1 will remain on the fleet as will the Lotus 2-Eleven which is having a back to bare tub rebuild over the winter months. Ths will also involve the fitting of a full FIA GT4 spec roll cage and a power hike to 270bhp.