THREE CLASS PRIZES AT 6-HOURS OF SPA FOR PROMOTASPORT’S LOTUS CORTINAS
Hertfordshire based PromotaSPORT scouped up three class prizes at the “6 Hours of Spa” meeting in Spa, Belgium in September, 2009. Racing two Lotus Cortinas in two races, they stormed in with 1st in Class for the 6-Hour Endurance race as well as 3rd over all for Touring Car Class. Over in the Top Hat All-Comers they snatched 4th in Class.
[UKPRwire, Wed Nov 04 2009] Hertfordshire based PromotaSPORT scouped up three class prizes at the “6 Hours of Spa” meeting in Spa, Belgium in September, 2009. Racing two Lotus Cortinas in two races, they stormed in with 1st in Class for the 6-Hour Endurance race as well as 3rd over all for Touring Car Class. Over in the Top Hat All-Comers they snatched 4th in Class.
The “6 Hours of Spa” meeting is one of the largest and most popular European Historic race meetings on the calendar. Competitors travel from all over the world to the Circuit de Spa, Francorchamps, to attempt the gruelling endurance race, in all kinds of race machines; everything from AC Cobra’s, GT40’s and E Type’s to Mini’s and MGB’s. As well as the 6 hour race, there are also grids for F1 cars, World Sports Cars, GT’s and Vintage racing cars.
For 2009, the PromotaSPORT team were attempting to re-produce their succsess of 2008 with another class win in the six hour race with Grant Tromans’ Lotus Cortina, driven again by the same winning driver line-up, PromotaSPORT regulars Grant Tromans, Neil Cawthorn and Michael Caine. The second of Tromans’s Lotus Cortina’s entered in the Top Hat All Comers race, to be driven by Caine and Cawthorn.
Friday qualifying began with a frustrating session for the Top Hat Cortina. An alternator failure resulted in very little track time for Tromans and Cawthorn and left them qualified in 66th place on the grid for the race the next day.
The qualifying session for the 6 hour race was considerably more successful. The 1963 appendix K spec. mk1 Lotus Cortina ended the session with a fantastic time of 3:08.9 – fastest in its class and 57th overall for the race the following day.
Saturday began with the 60-minute Top Hat All-Comers Race. Tromans and Cawthorn had it all to do after the qualifying problems and knew they had to work their way up the field quickly. An aggressive stint from Cawthorn, picking his way through the pack left Tromans in with a chance of a respectable finish as the pit window opened. The driver change was smooth and Tromans carried on where Cawthorn left off, battling all the way to finish an excellent 33rd over all and 4th in class.
Next up was the 6-hour endurance race. Starting at four in the afternoon and racing into the darkness. The team had their strategy carefully planned out. The key was going to be maximising the running time and using as much of the fuel capacity as possible. The plan was x4 stints with Caine doing the 1st and 4th stints, to take advantage of his Le Mans 24 hour experience of night time racing, Cawthorn to go second and Tromans to bring the car into the evening as the light faded.
The race began and ‘Cainey’ kept out of trouble, lapping consistently to bring the car to the first scheduled pit stop. The team ran through their well practised routine of checks and Cawthorn was in the car and off to the fuel station. Another faultless stint followed and everything was going to plan. Cawthorn was signalled to pit and the team had to perform a rapid front brake pad change at the stop, before Tromans took over the driving as the daylight faded; now at the half way point of the race. Tromans drove brilliantly in the darkness. The circuit conditions deteriorated as various cars spilled oil and coolant around the track. Tension was building; the team were engaged in a battle for the class win with an Alfa. The Alfa’s pace was slower but they had a much larger fuel tank and could now run the remainder of the race with out another fuel stop. This meant Tromans had to keep lapping quickly and there was no room for error.
With just the last 90 minutes remaining, Tromans pitted and Caine was back in the car to bring it to the flag. Shortly into his stint, he caught and re-passed the Alfa who had jumped the PromotaSPORT Cortina during the pit stop and the team were again P1 in class.
Time passed slowly but the Lotus Cortina kept pounding round as others fell by the way side. Finally, the 6 long hours were over and Caine crossed the line in a fantastic 38th over all and 1st in class. The team celebrated and headed down to the podium to welcome ‘Cainey’ in with a cold beer. It was only when Tromans, Cawthorn and Caine were called up to the podium that the team realised they had not only won the under 1600cc class but finished an incredible 3rd overall in the touring car class! Quite an achievement for an appendix K specification Lotus Cortina … Cheap Champagne had never tasted so good!
Written by Pete Johnston, managing director, PromotaSPORT