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Hi All:

Just pulled this off the ALMS web site about "Team Elite" at Sebring for the 12 Hour this weekend. Maybe it's not BS.

Feff

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Team Elite mixes youth with experience at the Sebring 12 Hours

Team Elite, which is bringing the Lotus name back to international motorsport, heads into its debut race at Sebring on March 20 with a driver line-up that blends youth with experience. Seasoned sportscar campaigner Jay Cochran, who scored a debut victory for the Ferrari 333SP in 1994, heads up Elite's driving strength. He will be joined in the team's Lotus Elise GTP by Ireland's Damien Faulkner, a former Indy Lights and Dallara Nissan World Series racer who is now forging a career in long-distance racing. A third driver will be announced in the run-up to the race.

Team Elite principal Keith Smout said: "We wanted a combination of talents in the car for our debut at Sebring. We believe that Jay and Damien fulfil our requirements. Everyone knows Jay's sportscar pedigree and we've chosen him to help develop the Elise GTP. His experience will be invaluable for what we are viewing as a public shakedown for the car. Damien is a young talent who can bring a lot to our programme. I believe he has a big future in sportscar racing."

Jay Cochran, 41, said: "I've raced for Ferrari and Jaguar, so it is great to now say that I'm a Lotus driver. I'm very excited about this project and the chance to go back to Sebring."

Damien Faulkner, 28, said: "This is a great opportunity for me to establish myself in sportscars. Team Elite are an ambitious team with big long-term goals, so I'm happy to forge this alliance with them early in their programme."

Team Elite is joining up with Dunlop for its 2004 sportscar programme. The LM-GTP class Elise will run on Dunlop tyres throughout the season.

Smout said: "This is a major bonus for Team Elite. Dunlop has extensive experience of the LM-GTP category from its years with Bentley at Le Mans in 2001-02 and will be working closely with us during the year."

The V8-engined Elise GTP will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Team Lotus, the name under which the historic marque won 13 Formula 1 World Championships between 1962 and 1979. The car will run anniversary decals incorporating the famous green-and-yellow Team Lotus roundel at Sebring.

Team Elite has also announced a tie-up with a new, state-of-the-art motorsport facility in British Columbia, Canada. The Active Mountain Raceway, 120 miles east of Vancouver, will be used during the Elise GTP's test and development programme.

Team Elite's headquarters are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, while its technical base is in Tavares, Florida.
 

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Looks like qualifying has posted. Elise was 35th overall and 12th (last) in class, 20 seconds down. However, 5 cars had their qualifying disallowed. I don't know if they will not get to race or just start from the back.

Greg
 

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SIGH!!!

In the night practice for Sebring the GT1 was dead last and some 6 seconds behond the next slowest car.

I know the car is out dated per ALMS rules, but holy cow dead last and it's from the fastest (LMP1P) class. None the less, lets hope it lasts alll 12 hours.

Mark
 

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Feffman said:
SIGH!!!

In the night practice for Sebring the GT1 was dead last and some 6 seconds behond the next slowest car.

I know the car is out dated per ALMS rules, but holy cow dead last and it's from the fastest (LMP1P) class. None the less, lets hope it lasts alll 12 hours.

Mark

Wonder if its due to the car or to the drivers?
 

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Dunno,
Jay Cochran's a pretty good driver.

But really how competitive can the GT1 be, it was never fully develped by Lotus and it was done in the late 90s, going against brand new designs and state of the art stuff.

But the press release I read, makes it sound like they want long term to compete, perhaps they'll develop a car around exige or some sort, this is perhaps just a first step?? I suspect they hope to get lots of sponsorship with Lotus' new presence in the US.
Chris
 

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apkom said:
Looks like it only completed 7 laps of the race due to transmission problem.
It was pretty interesting seeing the Morgan Aero 8 and the TVR running. The Morgan sounded really good. I got there at about 1pm, so the Elise was long since retired.
 

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Hi all... Sorry for not writing sooner, but I didn't realise this thread existed!!!

I work with Team Elite, and felt it a good idea to give you some insight.... I will reply using your initial quote...

"The third round practice results for Team Elite Elise GT1 at Sebring. Not too pretty 25 seconds off the pace."

We had major problems in qualifying... Dunlop supplied the wrong set of front tyres for the car and as a result, it was lifting dangerously, precluding the driver putting the foot down... However, as soon as we got the right sets on, the car turned itself around.

"I know the car is out dated per ALMS rules, but holy cow dead last and it's from the fastest (LMP1P) class. None the less, lets hope it lasts alll 12 hours. "

The car has been re-homolgated as GTP classification, and as such, is an unknown quantity. Regretabbly, we did not last the 12 hours, retiring after only seven laps due to gearbox failure... This seems to have been connected with the hugely unreliable Chevrolet LT5/ZR1 engine fited in the back... We have plans to replace this with a beter, more refined powerplant.

"But really how competitive can the GT1 be, it was never fully develped by Lotus and it was done in the late 90s, going against brand new designs and state of the art stuff. "

We feel it can be prety competitive, and we are not about to make claims that we can win race straight away.... We assessed the Elise GT1's laptimes around Sebring (Circa 1997) and compared it with the current Audi R8's times, and found that they were very close... We are very much aware that Lotus didn't develop the car fully, as the FIA rule changes precluded the cars true competitiveness... However, consider this... The car only ran for a few laps in qualifying due to the wrong tyre situation, and then, when the car came in, the engine had started to leak oil, preventing any further running in the session... The lack of track time left the team to run the car in the race with 'virgin setings', so the car had little or no fetling in terms of ride-height, damper settings, gear ratios etc.... BUT, was still able to post fifth fastest in a straight line.... We hope that with the new engine programme and proper setup that the car will give a true showing at it's next outing..... I will add that this is a case of "HOPEFULLY"
 

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If memory serves me correctly, back in the day the factory Elise GT1's ran the ZR1 motor (developed by Lotus) and the private teams ran the Twin Turbo V8 from the Esprit. All of the ZR1 cars failed to finish but all of the TTV8's finished the race. Why would you continue with a motor that wasn't proven effective in the GT1 back in the day?

Please feel free to correct me if my information is incorrect, it's been, oh.... six years ago. :)
 

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Thanks for the post ah746

I'll venture a guess that everyone appreciates your communication as much and I. It would be fantastic to see Lotus mount a long term effort and garner some wins to recall previous decades.

Here is to better luck next time.
 

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"If memory serves me correctly, back in the day the factory Elise GT1's ran the ZR1 motor (developed by Lotus) and the private teams ran the Twin Turbo V8 from the Esprit. All of the ZR1 cars failed to finish but all of the TTV8's finished the race. Why would you continue with a motor that wasn't proven effective in the GT1 back in the day? "

We ran the ZR1 as it was only meant as a stop-gap engine... We didn't get the car until late January, which didn't give us enough time to perform a true engine change. Sure, we could have done a quick change, but there would have been incalculable problems with thermal efficiency, transmission, COG, weight distribution etc.... At least for the first race the car was already configured for the ZR1.

"Please feel free to correct me if my information is incorrect, it's been, oh.... six years ago. "

Yeah, we all suffer a little metal fatigue!!! :)

"Thanks for the post ah746 "

No problem.

"I'll venture a guess that everyone appreciates your communication as much and I. It would be fantastic to see Lotus mount a long term effort and garner some wins to recall previous decades. "

We have decided to make Team Elite as accessible as possible, and if a question is aked that I simply don't know the answer to, the team principals have said that they will answer the question for me, on the sole provisal that it doesn't infringe on any 'difficult issue', shall we say.

"Here is to better luck next time."

73 days and counting
 
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