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Motorsport Retro takes first win in Lotus Exige

Submitted by on November 5, 2015


Team Motorsport Retro enjoyed a thrilling weekend at the recent NSW Prod Sports round at Sydney Motorsport Park. MSR founder Rich Fowler teamed up with Craig Drury to drive his wonderful Lotus Exige to a class victory and surprising fourth place outright.

Friday: Practice – Finding a sweet set up.

After getting a little lost at the previous round in August, where we finished second in class, we arrived at Sydney Motorsport Park with a back to basics set up. Craig and I found the car to be better straight away, but it was still understeering in the quick stuff and bit oversteery in the slower corners. We made some tyre pressure changes, a small roll bar change and played with some ride height over the course of the day, and by the end felt the car was both quicker and more confidence inspiring. Things we looking good as we were both consistently in the 1min 41 bracket. We were having fun too.


Craig keeping the flying Lotus on track

Saturday: Qualifying and Sprint races – Off to a flyer

After risking one more set up tweak on the car, Craig and I were ready for each of our qualifying sessions.

My session was first and we bolted a brand new set of Hankook slicks on the yellow machine. I felt that the change to the car was better and really tried to push for a few quick laps. My first flying lap was as quick as the car had been all weekend and the next lap was quicker still at 1:38.9, so I came into the pits to chillax, as I didn’t think I could go any faster! The time put us ahead of the other Lotus’ and the adrenalin rush nearly blew my head off.

Video – Rich qualifying

Craig was flying in his session too, reporting that the car was like he remembered it “when it was running on Michelins” meaning it was well balanced, confidence inspiring and capable of delivering a lap time in the low 1 minute 40s.


Sports cars everywhere – Porsche, Lotus, Porsche, Ginetta, Ford GT 40 all feature in Prod Spots racing

In my sprint race, I lined up 7th, got a good start, snuck up the inside of a Porsche at turn 2 and managed to keep some of the quicker Lotus cars behind me to arrive 8th at the flag.


….shame about the P Plate. My hiatus from racing means I’m still a few races away from getting my full license back

Craig also had a cracker sprint race, rocketing off the line and finishing ninth after some hard racing with the slower class A cars and the other class B boys.

Sunday: One hour Enduro – Better than we expected

Car owner Craig started the race from 12th on the grid, got a blinder and set up our class victory with a furious first few laps on cold tyres that included some uncompromising passing moves. He then drove like a man possessed setting our teams fastest race lap and then bringing the Lotus safely into the pits just before the halfway mark on lap 15.


Rich in open space during the 1 hour Enduro

Our pitstop was an absolute shocker. We got the belts twisted, so needed to unbuckle and start again, eventually getting away in around 8th place.


Craig extends the gap of the Magaitis/Levis Lotus Exige

I was feeling really at home in the Lotus, with the glorious music from it’s 220HP 2.0 litre Honda buzzing behind my head, I pinned my ears back and attacked.

One by one I started picking cars off and along with some attrition from the class A and GT cars at one point (I subsequently discovered) we were actually running third on the road!

With the temperatures of car and driver running hot and the tyres going away I crossed the line thrilled that we had achieved a great effort on track, but worried our poor pitstop had cost us a class win.

Once back in the pits I was greeted by a grinning Craig and our family crew. We were then congratulated by good sport and fellow Lotus racer Justin Levis, who informed us that we had taken the class win!

We were thrilled.

Video: One Hour Enduro highlights

It was a truly magic weekend. One that reminded my why I love racing. The camaraderie and spirit of our very small team and fellow competitors, the joy of working to make the car go faster, the desire to compete and push your own personal limits and just the sheer fun of being wide open in a great car on a good track.

I cant wait to be back behind the wheel.


Team selfie – Calvin, Uli, Ray, Rich and Craig

Special Thanks:

Thanks to Penrite Oil for the fantastic lubricants and to Derek at European Autotech for some good advice. If you would like to be involved in our racing adventures email rich@motorsportretro.com

Images: Action shots by Rob Annesley at shotbyrob.com.au

Race Results

Via Natsoft




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