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Lotus Slays Giants at GT Championships - (Global)
July 16th, 2008
Lucas claims first Lotus outright GT Championship victory and lap record
A Lotus Elise defeated the motor racing giants at last weekend’s round of the GT Championship at Eastern Creek Raceway with the marque’s maiden outright race win.
Peter Lucas took his Lotus Elise Motorsport 200 to victory in race one of the three-race round, beating the 17-car field which included Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche.
After qualifying on the front row just 0.6 seconds off the Aston Martin DBRS9 of John Kaias, Lucas quickly moved into the lead.
Holding off the V12 Aston for the early laps, a slight driving error by Kaias allowed his Aston Martin teammate Peter Hackett to mount his attack on the Urban Arrangement Lotus.
Lucas responded with nine incredibly consistent set laps within half a second of each other. With Hackett closing, Lucas pushed harder to find another entire second in his lap times to maintain his margin and win the 12 lap race by 0.9 seconds over Hackett, Kaias, and two Lamborghini Gallardo GT3s.
In doing so, Lucas reset the four-year old lap record for the category held by Paul Stokell in a Lamborghini Diablo GTR. Lucas now holds the new record of 1min:33.45s, a fantastic result for a car with a fraction of the power, and size, of its rivals.
Lucas backed it up in race two with a slick getaway, going on to finish a clear second place behind Kaias.
In race three, the rolling start didn’t favour Lucas as it had done in the earlier races and he dropped to fourth behind the Aston Martin of Kaias, the Lamborghini of Mark Eddy and the similar Lotus Elise Motorsport 200 of Scott Bargwanna.
Within two laps, Bargwanna found a gap past Eddy into turn four, and Lucas followed right on his diffuser. A lap later Lucas repassed Bargwanna and held position to take another second place.
Being at the front was new territory for Lucas who was met by scores of fans congratulating him in the pits: “I’ve never even been on the podium; my previous best here was fourth. But it feels brilliant to take my first race win.”
On points, Lucas finished the round in second place, a personal best, holds the lap record and establishes the first outright win ever for a Lotus in the GT Championship. And all just one week after his outright win at the Yokohama Superlap competition held at Oran Park Raceway.
Scott Bargwanna got faster as the weekend progressed. Following a sixth and fifth in races one and two, Scott was third in race three until the final lap when a minor hiccup lost him 10 seconds and he dropped to sixth.
Angelo Lazaris revised the bodywork on his 2007 Exige GT3 and though development time was minimal, the car performed exceptionally well all weekend. He finished all three races in strong positions after qualifying in 12th, and he progressed through the field to place 8th, 9th in the first two races and 14th in the final.
Further development of car and driver is planned over the coming months to bring a barrage of fast Lotus cars to the head of the GT Championship field.
Another Lotus ran in the newly formed GT Production category, and Tim Poulton’s supercharged Lotus Exige took three unchallenged race victories.
The Lotus racers’ efforts are made all the more impressive given their results come after the restructuring of the GT championship which has resulted in the largest field of the season and two extra classes.
GT Championship racing resumes at Phillip Island Raceway on August 9-10.