HRC Historic Race Team report

The Huntingdonshire Regional College race team returned from Donington Park frustrated with its recent race performance but thankful they still had an undamaged car.

The Lotus Europa owner and driver Howard Payne underlined the potential of the car, tended by the student-crewed team, by securing sixth place on the Historic Sports Car Clubs 70’s Roadsports grid, just one second off the quickest Lotus time.

“I’m really pleased with that performance” said Payne. “We know that the others have full race engines which are 15 to 20bhp up on ours and can rev much freer.”

Sector times and speed trap figures confirmed Payne was one of the quickest drivers through the technical section but was several mph down on the all-important main straight compared to his rivals.

However, all was not well with the Europa as the engine bay was covered in oil and water, which the team put down to an engine breathing issue.

“Had we been able to get any meaningful running at a recent test session this problem would have materialised and we could have address it.” explained Lewis Beales, Motorsport Course Leader at HRC.

The student crewed team worked tirelessly between qualifying and the race to clean up the car and instigate an improvement to the breathing system to allow Payne to take up his grid position.

Sadly, all of their hard work was undone when Payne headed back to the pits after just a few racing laps complaining of fuel starvation which was traced to a loose fuel pipe.

“It was very disappointing but at least the car didn’t catch fire which was a real possibility” reflected a frustrated Payne.

The HRC race team would like to thank its sponsors: Kwik Fit, EBC Brakes, Borney Signs, Huntingdon Coachworks, SP Films, and the Historic Sports Car Club.