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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

“Is the bomb hole flat?”

Halfway through the championship and team lotusbits heads to Snetterton for the next round of the Motorsport News Championship, Cathy and I were hoping for a good result here to get our season back on track(excuse the pun) after a poor start to the season.
Seeded 49th it wasn’t the best starting position but Snetterton has lots of space to overtake so wasn’t a big concern. We were both keen to get the first stage done and under our belts to settle the nerves and see what the car could do.
Now Cathy and I tend to measure how well we have done on each stage by how far behind the sister car we are of Mike and Martin we are, so can you imagine the surprise and excitement when we found that we were 3 seconds quicker! Unfortunately it was soon brought to our attention that Mike had been a little heavy right footed into a corner and had a spin. Regardless of that I can honestly say that is the smoothest and most committed first stage I have seen Cathy do for a long time.
12 seconds quicker on stage 2 compared to the same layout as stage 1, the day was getting better.
Where we could go quicker, brake a little later here, smoother here we thought but we reckoned the most time we could gain was through a corner called the ‘bomb hole’, a sweeping fast left hander , could it be taken flat?. So mid stage 3, I give the call 9 left onto track into FLAT sweeping left through bomb hole, we are defiantly going quicker on the approach, the line is good, yes here we go. Then there’s a slight lift and a comment of ‘ I can’t do it’ came back from Cathy. Never mind we still had carried more speed through and set another good stage time.
Stage 4 is the same layout as 3, bit of a tight twisty few corners to start then back onto track, but this time through the twisty bit I felt we are pushing on here, Cathy’s going for it , brilliant! I Thought, I gave the same calls as before, we are now entering the bomb hole , Line is good, speed is good, will she lift? Will she lift? Will she lift? Yes 3 times I said that to myself as we screamed through and out the other side................
......................Now if only they had made Snetterton track 2 foot wider, we ran out off track and onto the mud, Cathy controlled it well and got it back under control for the next corner and at this point I
realised why we had been going quicker as the MK1 escort came past us under braking for the corner. Even with our little excursion we went 1 second quicker than the stage before.
Unfortunately stage 5 was going to be our last stage of the day , not long after the start we heard a sound that to say the least wasn’t good, The differential had let go and was clattering around, Cathy backed off and the decision was made to finish the stage early and come back to service before any other damage was done to the car and see if the crew could do anything, but deep down we both knew the day was over. So Cathy and I decided the only right thing to do in situations like this we to go to the bar !.
Despite the result we had a great day and we weren’t disappointed with our pace running in the mid 20s before we retired.
Thanks to the crew :
Keith, Dave, James, Louise and Harriet

Oh and is the ‘bomb hole flat?’..........NO

Next round Donington March 5th

2017 Snetterton Stages Rally supported by G.& B. Finch Ltd, Hylton Gott and Rix Engineering

On Sunday a near full entry of 83 cars enjoyed the unseasonably good weather conditions at Snetterton race circuit just South of Norwich. This area having strong connections to team Lotusbits, due to the nearby Lotus factory at Hethel.
These events are very competitive and anyone chasing a good result cannot afford to be too cautious. Mike was pushing from the start of the very first stage, expecting rather more grip than was available in the first high speed corner on the main circuit. This meant the car spun off on to the grass , losing around 30 seconds and placing Mike and Martin a disappointing 33rd overall.
At a venue such as Snetterton, the organisers have to make sure that the competitors do not exceed the permitted 75 mph maximum average speed. Their method of achieving this was to build chicanes from old tyres, with three of these just on the Bentley Straight. The combination of frequent braking from high speed and the smooth surface encouraged Mike to change the damper settings, making the car more stable under braking. This and some determined driving saw the team recover to 11th overall going into the final pair of stages, which would run in darkness for the later competitors.
The pressure of rapid down changes proved too much for the gear linkage at the approach to the final chicane on stage 7, with this key component breaking and leaving the car stuck in first gear. Fortunately this was only a mile from the stage finish, but lost around another 30 seconds. It was also fortunate that some inspired work under pressure by the service crew meant that the car was completely fixed within the permitted service time. A competitive run through the final stage resulted in a final positon of 13th overall.
The team are looking forward to the next event in the MSVR championship at Donington in just under two weeks’ time.
                                       

MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Stages

MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Stages
In the depths of January, Team Lotusbits travelled to the famous Kent circuit for the fourth round of the MSVR Circuit Championship, hoping to make up for the disappointment of a rare non-finish before Christmas at Rockingham.
Chelmsford Motor Club made imaginative use of the rally stage and Indy circuit to construct some challenging stages. These incorporated some particularly unforgiving barriers, which caused the retirement of a number of front runners, but didn’t hinder Mike and Martin in their Lotus Sunbeam.
The freezing cold overnight conditions resulted in ice on parts of the circuit that never cleared from the rally stage section. Previous knowledge of the rally stage and the inspired choice of full wet tyres for the first three stages were put to good use. The pair finished fifth overall and picked up the award for first in class. Their best result yet at this level and just four seconds away from fourth.
The only problem of the day came when the hairpin at the end of the pit lane was taken just a little too tight whilst chasing a Citroen DS, who was fighting for a class award. This caused nothing worse than a dent to the co-driver’s door. May be we shouldn’t have told team mate Cathy earlier in the day that, “bunching isn’t a problem at the front of the field”.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Motorsport News circuit rally result   Brands hatch 21 January 2017 


colour matched gaff tape slippery conditions all day



Mike Taylor and Martin Hagget car 11
1st  in class 5th overall
















Cathy sewart and Colin stephens car 38
4th in class 28th overall

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

 LATE MODEL SE FOR SALE

 


9000 miles since complete rebuild of engine and all ancillaries   

 

upgrade of gearbox to UN ONE 028 late V8 spec with ltd slip diff please contact mike on main workshop number 019266 33211 for full details on this car


Lotusbits at autosport show 2017


Cathy,S car all setup at the show stand 6830 British Women drivers club

Cathy and mike will be attending the show at various times over the four days or you can call in at the workshop which will be open as usual on saturday




Tuesday, 7 June 2016

New Product | Lotus HC Oil Pump

Lotusbits Latest!
High capacity oil pump, suitable for Lotus 907, 910, 911 and 912 series engines. Developed, in extreme conditions, on Lotusbits rally cars!
Available now!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Jack Neal Memorial Rally 2016 | Blyton Park

During the winter months, Lotusbits entered both Lotus Sunbeams, supported by DTA in the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship.
The new series, in association with MSVR, has launched with an exciting eight round provisional calendar for its inaugural season.
Here's a few shots from the recent 2016 Jack Neal Memorial Rally, in which Mike and co-driver Louise Gilks finished 2nd in Class and 8th overall.
Cathy and co-driver Colin Stephens finished 4th in class and 21st overall - from an entry list of 66 competitors.




DTA designs and manufactures engine management systems for spark ignition engines intended for use in competition vehicles. All their systems are designed to be fitted to almost any engine and are easily mapped. They're very competitively priced too!
Engine management systems

Friday, 25 March 2016

A Jensen Gets the Excel Touch...

The Jensen GT was, alongside the Jensen Coupe, the last model that Jensen Motors built before the West Bromwich factory closed down in 1976.  The GT was a “shooting brake” version of the Jensen-Healey, carrying over the Lotus 907 engine, the Getrag 235/5 gearbox from the BMW2002tii, suspension / live axle from the Vauxhall Magnum, and the love-it-or-hate-it styling of the Healey, but with a more upmarket Interceptor-type interior.  511 GTs were made, of which over half went to the States, before Jensen went bust, leaving many unfulfilled customer orders.  Only 12 are left on the road in the UK today (Q1 2015 figure).
I bought my GT in May 2014.  It had just come to the end of a 20-year two-owner restoration.  Bodily it was in very good shape, and it seemed mechanically sound.  In the six months after buying the car, I sorted out some residual electrical issues and got everything working, changed all the weather seals, and replaced some worn suspension parts.  The car was fun to drive on winding roads, but very tiring on dual carriageways, because the 1:1 5th gear of the Getrag gearbox meant high revs at cruising speeds and a very noisy engine and exhaust.  I unsuccessfully investigated various options to drop the revs, including standalone overdrive units and finding a similar dogleg pattern gearbox with a proper overdrive 5th gear (the ZF S5-18 is the only one).

I had read Mike’s “Improving your Lotus” presentation on the website, and Lotusbits’ work had been recommended by a fellow GT owner.  After my son told me that my GT “made a lot of noise when I put my foot down but didn’t actually go any faster”, I called Mike to ask him to price up an engine upgrade to Lotus spec 5.  Mike suggested it would be better to go for a fuller upgrade to spec 10, and also suggested I get the Toyota W58 gearbox installed.  I agreed to the spec 10 upgrade and the Lotusbits large bore exhaust system, but reserved judgement on the gearbox swap.  The mandate was fairly straightforward – more power, less noise, and keep the car looking as original as possible.

In early February 2015, I drove the GT up the Fosse Way to Lotusbits.  The pre-upgrade dyno run confirmed that my GT was down on power – 119bhp peak (and 116 lb-ft of torque) compared to 140bhp (130 lb-ft) for a Jensen spec 907 engine in good condition.  Mike also found that the clutch had not been properly installed, and that the gearbox input shaft had been damaged as a result.  Given the lack of Getrag specialists in the UK and the likely cost of repair, I agreed with Mike that the Toyota gearbox upgrade was the way to go.  Mike also noted the car’s lean to the driver’s side, which he thought might be a bent chassis.  At this stage, my heart was really sinking.
Engine Bay Before and After – The Lotus Excel Airbox Setup which Unleashes the Horses
There then followed what seemed like an interminable wait for the engine to come back from Mike’s engine builder.  Actually, the hold-up was partly my fault – I had insisted on keeping the original cam carriers and cam covers (the ones that leak oil) and it took ages for the cam covers to come back from the powder coaters.  We also found that the car had been fitted with three 9.5:1 CR pistons, and one 8.0:1 CR piston.  Potentially an expensive disaster waiting to happen.  Towards the end of April, the engine finally came back to Lotusbits, and Mike told me progress would speed up.  Neither of us had, however, counted upon the time and effort to resolve a previous poor repair of one of the chassis rail suspension mountings, or to fettle the gear lever to fit the transmission tunnel.  It’s always the smaller jobs that take the longest.
Retaining the Original Jensen Look – The Lotusbits Large Bore Exhaust System is on the right
Finally, at the end of July 2015, with the GT MOT’d and works nearly completed, it went back to Northampton Motorsport for its post upgrade dyno run.  Mike called me at work, rather sheepishly, to tell me that peak power was now 155bhp, or 174bhp without any airbox and filter.  This was pretty disappointing, as both of us had been expecting somewhere north of 180bhp.  Mike suggested fitting the airbox setup from the earlier Lotus Excel.  I agreed, on the basis that something similar had been fitted to the last GTs (actually the Elite / Eclat airbox went into the last Stromberg carb T75 Jensen GTs).

A few days later, and another dyno run gave the figures we were both expecting – 184bhp peak and 167 lb-ft, a 50% increase over the pre-upgrade figures.  A week later, Mike dropped off the car and I drove it for the first time in 6 months.  It was transformed – much quieter at lower revs, but when I put my foot down it pulled like a train and gave off a pleasingly throaty 4-cylinder rasp.  It now cruises comfortably at 70mph and 2,900 rpm as well.  
Dyno Run Comparison – Before Upgrade in Black, After Upgrade in Red
A few days after getting the car back, I took it to the UK’s resident Jensen GT expert, and he confirmed what I already knew – I now have the nicest driving GT around.  Perhaps, if Jensen had managed to stay solvent, the GT would have benefited from Lotus’ development of the 907 engine through to 912 HC spec, and it would have ended up like mine.  We’ll never know.  I just like to think that my GT is now the “baby Interceptor” that Jensen always meant it to be, courtesy of Mike and the Lotusbits team.
© Kindly written by: Nigel Kieser - proud owner of NUY 903P 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Crash structure ply panels | Lotus Elite, Eclat and Excel

Front end crash structure ply panels for Lotus Elite, Lotus Eclat and Lotus Excel- £25 each - by popular demand!



 
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