Driver Comments - John Markey
"Give a dog...
"Appropos your recent article on the Lotus 30, there is a lot in the old saying "Give a dog a bad name..." for the 30 has undoubtedly been saddled with a far worse reputation than it deserves.
" I did in fact run a 30 myself in the late sixties/early seventies and found it to be one of the most exhilarating and drivable cars that I have raced. The car that I drove was owned by Paul Gresham and prepared by Bob Dove and was the original Willment car, driven by Brian Muir when new, and it had apparently had minor but important alterations to the suspension settings.
"Originally we raced with a 4.7-litre lump with TJ fuel injection but exchanged that for a Gurney Weslake engine from Stuart Matheson at Mathwall. As a clubbie racer it was extremely competitive on both fast and tight circuits - 50.2 at Brands and 58.2 at Silverstone Club were reasonable times in 70/71.
"Handling was extremely predictable up to a point, the car beautifully steerable on the throttle with power oversteer and controllable power off understeer on medium and slow corners, but on quick ones like Hawthorn's or Maggots -- and Maggots was definitely a corner in the 30 -- there was no room for error -- you got it right or went off!
"Brakes were good, they were GT40 as far as I remember but certainly there was a weakness in the rear uprights -- perhaps age or perhaps too light but I had three fail, the first two resulting in adrenaline pumping high speed but the third ending backwards into the marshal's post on the outside of the Esses at Mallory with damage both physical and mechanical!
"Nose lift was only ever a problem off the line, when the front wheels lost contact with the track but at high speeds, for instance on the old Snetterton straight which had to be the fastest place consistently used for clubbies then, the car was extremely quick and very stable and FVAs and FVCs for breakfast up to the hairpin.
"Wet weather handling I could not comment on for we could never afford spare wheels and wets but on the lightly patterned semi-slicks it was, shall we say, interesting and best forgotten.
"In retrospect one tends to remember only the good things -- minor matters like confidence giving seatbelts with mountings in wafer thin fibreglass are glossed over -- but I do remember my old Pink Stamps Lotus 30 with genuine affection and sincerely hope that it is still around somewhere waiting to make a triumphant return.
Site Editors Note: Well, John, the car is back!
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Thoroughbred & Classic Cars, p. 134, Nov. 1985.
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