Performance Driver Training at Millbrook

The first of our performance driver training days took place last week at Millbrook. Despite the weather taking a turn from the recent sunshine, a warm welcome was assured by Colin, Jo, and Paul at CAT Driver Training.

The Millbrook experience is unique, and starts as you pass through security and are escorted via part of the Alpine test track to CATs base hidden away in the middle of one of the test loops. CATs range of test and race cars welcome you and your Lotus, as well as Jo’s seemingly never-ending supply of tea and coffee!

The day starts with a short interactive briefing from Colin, to learn a little about everyone in the group, their experiences and ambitions for the day.  Colin then introduces the schedule for the day before getting straight down to business with learning about braking. Out onto the mile straight, which is what it says, and allows you to ensure your braking techniques are tuned, before moving onto to the going faster lessons.

The activities continue with a visit to the high-speed bowl, the opportunity to learn more about steering, and the handling circuit, to further add understand of weight transfer and grip.  A short respite for lunch, is followed with some theory on cornering and trail braking from Colin. Then it is out onto the alpine loop circuits, to put it all into practice with the added challenge of sharp gradients and heavily cambered, changing road surfaces.  After some grip limit tests, it is time to put it all together and have a little fun with the gymkhana, a short course against the clock, and your fellow attendees.

The day is finished off with a prize for the best performance in the gymkhana, and Colin and Pauls driver of the day accolade.

A safe, fun, and educational day was had by all, even the Hangar 111 support team.  But don’t just take our word for it, here’s some comments from the attendees…

“What a fantastic day, in superb facilities, with instructors who provided a structured and personalised approach.”

“I didn’t imagine it was possible for me to learn so much in one day, with the added bonus of Hangar 111 Lotus advice on tap all day.”

“Driving the Alpine Loop was one of the best experiences of my life!  I could happily drive round that circuit all day long…”

We hope to be able to run some more dates next year, starting in the spring – keep your eyes on our newsletters for dates and availability.


Gearbox Rebuilds

Here at Hangar 111 we are fully-equipped to rebuild all of the gearboxes found in the modern Lotus cars.

From the PG1 in the Rover K-series powered cars, through the C64 in Toyota 2ZZ, to the EA60 and EC60 in the current production models.  We have the specialist tools and experience of rebuilding many gearboxes both as standard, as well with uprated components such as stronger bearings, final drives, limited slip diffs, etc (all available in our online store!).

So if your ‘box is sounding tired, or you are looking to upgrade, why not give us a call – you may be surprised the improvement it will make to your driving experience!


Advisory/Warning: Motorsport Oil Coolers

This affects Elise S1 / Exige S1 / 340R and Rover K-Series models fitted with original equipment front-mounted oil cooler.

We have been carrying out numorous factory oil cooler recalls on Toyota 2ZZ-engined cars, where oil hoses are separating from the unions that are fitted to the oil coolers and sandwich plates.

More recently we have found the same situation on a much earlier Elise Sport 160 which features similar pressure-fitted swaged unions.  The main difference with the earlier cars is that the oil hose itself has been perished and found to be cracking.  This could of course lead to failure of the hose, with subsequent engine damage, and/or fire, or worse still – an accident.

Due to the use of the steel fittings on an aluminium cooler, often the fittings have seized due to corrosion over time. Since OEM parts are not always available, we have an alternative higher-capacity cooler radiator which fits in the original shroud under the crashbox.

We are compiling a kit of parts to replace the original hoses, oil cooler and unions which will allow a full refresh of the oil cooling circuit for these cars.


2016 Performance Driver ‘Track’ Days with CAT Driver Training

This year we are once again pairing up with our friends Colin and Jo Hoad at CAT driver training to arrange several unforgettable days of activities at Millbrook proving ground dedicated to you and your Lotus.

As those who attended the last events we held will tell you, there is no place quite like Millbrook and certainly no road and track driver coaching quite like CAT can provide at this unique venue.  We would like to host 2 events this year, giving drivers the opportunity to bring along their cars and benefit from learning new skill and improving their techniques.  Our team will be on hand at each event to provide technical support and to answer any questions you may have about what we can do for your Lotus.

The price for each day is £400 per person.  Attendees will require a Lotus and a valid driving license.  Helmets will be available for hire on the day but please bring your own if you have one.

Dates on offer are:

  • Saturday 17th September 2016 – 6 Places
  • Saturday 8th October 2016 – 6 Places
  • Sunday 9th October 2016 – 6 Places

Note on noise limits for Millbrook… “there is no limit unless you are a Le Mans Prototype or an F1 car”.  If anyone thinks they can compete at that level on noise, be sure to mention it when booking!

Full details of the event:

An action-packed day run by CAT Driver Training Ltd at Millbrook Proving Ground.

CAT Driver Training is run by Colin and Jo Hoad. Colin used to work for a leading motor manufacturer in the UK as a Vehicle Evaluator and Driver Trainer and has gained extensive experience and qualifications in driver instruction. This includes being certificated to instruct at Millbrook. His life has been spent working with his passion: motor cars – from racing minis to the race preparation of performance cars. He has much experience of vehicles on both road and track and brings a very different approach to driver enjoyment.

The day is a fast moving experience for 6 owners and their cars to introduce the secrets of performance driving. It is designed to be informative, exciting and fun. The group size is purposefully kept small so that the maximum can be obtained from the day in a highly personalised environment.

There is access to the 5 unique circuits at the renowned Millbrook Proving Ground, a venue that is not normally accessible for ‘track days’ and the general public.

Activities designed for the different circuits are:

  • Learn threshold braking from high speed on the Mile Straight
  • High speed driving, potentially to the maximum of your car, on the banked circuit of the High Speed Circuit
  • Drive the demanding Alpine Route circuit with its hills, and variety of corners from hairpins to long and sweeping
  • Take on the tight, twisty and challenging Handling Circuit
  • Put a car through its paces on the open spaces of the Steering Pad/Mile Straight Apron

An instructor will accompany you on all the circuits, and the objective is to teach you how to get the best from your car and develop your performance driving skills in a controlled environment and at a pace you are comfortable with.

Short presentations in vehicle dynamics will help you to understand the relationship between driver input and vehicle balance and control. From this comes the appreciation of how to safely drive your vehicle at grip limit within the controlled confines of a track environment.

At the end of the day, your new found skills can be put to the test in a timed shoot out around a gymkhana-style course laid out on the Steering Pad/Mile Straight Apron.

Included in the day are:

  • Professional in car tuition
  • Access to 5 unique circuits at Millbrook Proving Ground
  • Lunch and refreshments during the day
  • Timed end of day shoot out
  • Full emergency services on hand all day
  • 1 hour 40 minutes driving time with your personal instructor

The format for the day is as follows:

  • 08:30-09:15 Coffee, Introduction, Licence Check, Scrutineering, Safety Briefing & Objectives of the Day
  • 09:30-09:35 Drive to Circuits
  • 09:30-11:00 Mile Straight
  • 11:00-11:50 High Speed Circuit
  • 11:50-13:15 Handling Circuit
  • 13:15-14:00 Lunch
  • 14:00-15:00 Alpine Route
  • 15:00-15:45 Understeer/Oversteer
  • 15:45-16:45 Gymkhana timed Shoot Out on the Steering Pad/Mile Straight Apron
  • 16:55 Presentation & Debrief

Timings & Circuit order may be subject to change on the day depending on circuit activity




Little and Large Lotus

We were fortunate to have two extremely different Lotus at the workshop this week.

Firstly, an Evora GTE, one of just 20 cars that were built for the road by Lotus Motorsport, based on the original GTE race/concept cars.  With it’s 100mm wider track and body styling, this car features the ‘GP Edition’ livery, inspired by the Lotus Renault F1 cars of 2011, so it has some serious presence.  The car was with us for an EV430 power upgrade, so now it has a performance boost to match it’s appearance.

At the other end of the scale, the Elan S3 FHC built in 1966, is compact in its dimensions, but by no means less purposeful. This particular car has been developed for speed events, so it’s performance punches way above its size might suggest – thanks in part to its relatively feather weight, but also the tuned Lotus Twin Cam engine is delivering around 50% more power than standard.



Creaking Hard Tops

If your Lotus hardtop is making creaking or squeaking noises, or vibrating, there are a few things you can do to help resolve this situation…


Carefully remove the roof, then clean and spray all surfaces that touch the rubbers with a thin coat of  a dry teflon lubricant (available from many places – including bike shops etc.).  This stuff doesn’t run when it gets hot and won’t penetrate the rubbers causing splitting later on.  There are a few types out there and they work really well on window channels too.

Make sure all the seals are correctly positioned, and the roof is pushed home, before tightening all the fasteners to the Lotus torque specification.


Avoid using vaseline, white grease, multi-purpose grease, lard (yes – we have seen this done), surf wax, olive oil, other wet  ‘lubes’. Do not use a wet silicone lubricant – as it will find it’s way out of the joint and you will be wiping it up forever!

Don’t be tempted to keep cranking away at tightening the bolts –  they will eventually strip the threads or even crack the hardtop!

Don’t spray directly onto the rubbers – you will end up with it on your interior.  Spray the contact points on the roof itself with it upturned on a carpet or protective mat.  Let the spray dry before upturning the roof and re-fitting.

Final step, enjoy your creak-free hardtop!

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