Today we all got involved at our home circuit Brands Hatch at the Lotus F1 team filming day. The track was open to the general public, Ben is still here till Friday when he flies to Barcelona so it was a family affair, we took both our girls with us too!
Brands Hatch to me is the home of the British Grand Prix so to have some bona fide F1 cars driving around it again was something I was not prepared to miss out on. It’s also a 10 minute drive from where we lived until 18 months ago and during the 7 years I spent in the Wrotham area it was pretty regular that weekends were spent at Brands. Since moving further out and having the baby I’ve hardly been, so it was a great excuse to all go for the day together for one of the final times till the European season is over in September.
We’d planned to meet up with a few people, our friend Mark who lives close by and Simon the editor in chief of ThePitCrewOnline and Nigel who we’ve met through twitter, great to have people to converse with inbetween car outings and great to meet up with likeminded people and maybe see a few faces recognisable from Twitter, and so onto the day…
We set up camp on the grassy bank opposite the pit garages so we could see the nose of the Lotus E23 sticking out of the garage waiting patiently to blast round the Indy circuit as the team and film crew worked together to set up the shots they needed. Then with the loud sound of the starter probe the car was fired up and a lap or two was completed with a custom made Mercedes ML500 AMG fitted with a roof top boom camera did its best to keep up and get those dynamic shots we come to expect from modern film making. Although Romain Grosjean was driving the E23 was crawling round, playing with the ML like a lion with a mouse. It was a great demonstration of the power, speed and acceleration an F1 car is capable of. On normal roads a ML AMG would have the ability to disappear from view in seconds but against the E23 its speed was just enough to get the F1 car out of 2nd gear! Having completed several runs like that the car then went out with a fixed camera fitted to the top of the air box. This gave Romain a chance to drive a little faster but the E23 was not going flat out.
Lunch time called for the pit lane walkabout and the team laid out the E23 and a 1970’s Lotus 72 side by side for a photo opportunity with the complete Lotus F1 driver line up along side.
After lunch we were lucky enough to see the circuit from a different view as we were kindly invited to have a coffee in one of the hospitality suites. (To be covered in another post). Romain took a Lotus Europa round the circuit giving people a hot lap and then came a very special moment. The Lotus 72 was fired up and driven round. It was in 1986 that Brands Hatch last held a championship F1 race and seeing a car from that era driving around evoked the imagination and made me and many others wish we were there 40 years earlier watching a complete field of cars like that. A little later on both the E23 and the 72 went around together. This was another special moment and probably the only time i will see 2 different generations of Lotus F1 car together on track.
So to conclude, the day was a very unique and special opportunity and i would like to thank the Lotus F1 team and Brands Hatch for putting together the day. One day in my lifetime i may get to attend an F1 race at Brands Hatch but for the time being this was a day that will keep me happy for many a year.