Over the 4th to the 6th of November, 2016, Simply Sports Cars gathered up 16 Lotuses and their adventurous owners to run to the hills for Targa High Country.
The response to the event was absolutely awesome and we were thrilled to see such an impressive group get together to tackle it with Elise, Exige, Evora and Evora 400 all running in the event. From Ashton’s newly-completed Eleven to the debut & shakedown run for the Lotus Exige Sport 350 provided by Lotus Cars Australia & prepared by Simply Sports Cars the full breadth of the Lotus marque was well represented.
From all accounts it was a magic weekend, and everyone ran smoothly and was able to enjoy a social drive on some truly spectacular mountain roads. We had a chat with Paul D’Ambra to get Simply Sports Cars’ perspective on the weekend.
“It was an awesome weekend! It’s the first time that we’ve taken that many Lotus owners to an event of that kind – sixteen people ran and you couldn’t wipe the smiles off their faces. The energy, buzz & excitement was infectious to say the least.”
“Everyone was pleasantly surprised at the combination of preparation, food and assistance we were able to provide. I think people expected that they’d have a lot more work to do and have more to worry about in terms of getting ready for the rally, but we were happy to take those pressures off everyone, and allow them to focus on driving and enjoying the weekend.”
“Everyone loved the driving experience. The roads were amazing and most people I spoke with were just mind blown at the end of each of the stages.”
“We received lots of questions via email and social media about the event and I don’t think people realized how easy it was to come along. A standard daily driven vehicle could enter as could classic cars and of course track cars. There are so many classes to suit different needs”
“On the competitive side, the Lotus Exige Sport 350 driven by Grant Denyer and World Rally Championship navigator Dale Moscatt did extremely well and we were able to tweak & develop the car very well. Considering it was the car’s debut, to be making massive gains on the leaders by the second day was fantastic and is great news for us come Targa Tasmania.”
“We had top-five stage runs and a close second on a wet stage. This was on long, fast roads so we’re looking forward to the more twisty stuff in Tassie and Grant and Dale can’t wait to get back in the car”
“Jeffrey and Jarred scored a podium in their Lotus Elise. They brought home third place in the TSD Group. It was their first time ever doing a rally together and they finished it standing on the top steps and spraying champagne! It’s a tricky style of rally, in which you’re limited to 130km/h and need to achieve an average speed for each stage.”
“We had an amazing exclusive debrief with the group during which Dale and Grant shared stories, tips and hints, but also a walkthrough of their on-board video from the day, warts and all. Everyone was gobsmacked at the speeds they were doing and the insight from Dale was particularly valuable. People were able to put that knowledge into practice the very next day.”
“With 16 cars running around at high speed on really bumpy roads, we were extremely impressed at how smoothly things went. We drove through snow, rain and sun, there were no major issues, and every car drove home under its own steam.”
“We had three set service crews at different stages so that people could stop and get help if they needed it. I think that helped make people feel comfortable and to enjoy themselves.
“It’s what Lotus is all about. The cars suited it. The roads were perfect. It was like being in a big family group going for a run on spectacular roads. Quite a few people are already planning on returning next year, and a few are going to be jumping up to some of the faster or more competitive categories.”
“Our favourite comment was that it was like being in a family. Everyone got on well, participated well and helped each other out. Even simple things like cleaning the cars. The group went out to the pub together in the evenings to compare stories.”
“It showed me how strong the Lotus community is. It’s an unusually helpful, friendly and close community and that’s brilliant to see.”
Simply Sports Cars are taking expressions of interest for next year’s event, email [email protected]
Images thanks to Paul D’Ambra, Simply Sports Cars
Paul’s put together a mammoth and magnificent gallery of photos covering the weekend, and you can find them in his Google gallery right here. Please take a moment to enjoy them.