Before this season Charlotte hadn’t raced for just over a year after a road accident damaged her back. This season she and Mackenzie have been entering selected Lotus races in their Lotus Elise as she continues her recovery and gets back up to speed in racing. Their car is one of the older Elises in the production class and is down on power compared with many of it’s rivals but Charlotte and Mackenzie’s driving can usually drag it higher up the field than it should be able to! The higher class cars are obviously much faster and will lap the production class cars during the race so the aim is just to beat the other production class cars.
They managed to get sixth in class in qualifying and were hoping to move up the field in the race as several potential improvements had been identified on the setup to make them faster. In the championship you can either share races and do a driver swap or have one driver do the whole race. Charlotte and Mackenzie had decided to do one of the two races each, Mackenzie would do the one on Saturday afternoon and Charlotte would drive the Sunday morning race.
Mackenzie had a good start and was initially racing with the Production class front running back but as the faster class cars came through to lap the slower classes, he found himself separated from the pack. As the flag fell he was fifth in class, one place higher than qualifying. Charlotte would now benefit from Mackenzie’s experience in this race and hopefully any improvements they could make would boost her up the field.
As the race got underway, Charlotte got a really good start and found herself racing in a pack with the other Mk1 production Elises. For lap after lap the small pack had a great battle. She then came up behind one of the European drivers, Cederholm, who proved to be a particularly difficult opponent. Despite Charlotte being faster, his defensive driving was meaning it was very hard to find her way past. Paddock hill bend seemed to be her best bet and for several laps running she drew alongside him there but couldn’t quite edge ahead. But it seemed a case of when and not if she would pass. But about eight laps from the end, Charlotte’s car suddenly slowed dramatically. She was still driving the same way but her lap times dropped over considerably as if she was down on power. Charlotte continued as if she pitted for the team to look into the problem she’d be out of contention anyway. She circulated for the last few laps but most of her rivals passed her and drove off into the distance. She eventually finished towards the back of the field and eighth in class.
It was a disappointing end to what had looked like being a great race for Charlotte.
“I don’t know what happened,” She said afterwards “The car suddenly lost performance suddenly. I’m not sure what caused it. I’m gutted.”
The team examined the car afterwards but it was not immediately obvious what was wrong so they’d have to make further examinations back at base.
Charlotte and Mackenzie plan to have further outings this season before hopefully upgrading to the top modified class next season. By Marc Waller