Classic Team Lotus is situated in the original workshop buildings at Hethel just to the right as you approach the main gate. Our party of 11 is joined by 5 others.
We are given an introductory talk by Clive Chapman on the goal of Team Lotus. Basically, they maintain and run the formula cars to preserve the heritage. They receive no financial support from Lotus Cars so they rely on money from race meets, shows and patrons who would like to drive their cars.
They've currently got 8 cars in the workshop in various states of repair and build. We're taken through and shown a short video featuring some of their historic wins. This is like a "proper" workshop. Even smells like one. We have to step over car parts and crowd round a JPS F1 car to watch the presentation. The tour's a bit haphazard but it all adds to the charm.
There's a lot of history here. In the archive room they have blueprints for all the cars and every lap test that was recorded at test, qualifying and race sessions. If you are lucky enough to own one of the race cars they've provide you with all these details so you can have a record of every mile it's ever driven.
In the back workshop there's a Type 72(?) that had been driven by Mansell. No surprises that the only major incident it had had in it's life was having the chassis written off by Takuma Sato a few years ago. Is there anything that man hasn't crashed?
I won't go into the detail of all the cars they had here as they're bringing a few to Donington in 2 weeks and you really should get down to see for yourself.
However, if you like you can sit in Nigel Mansell's F1 car (be warned - if you are over 5ft 7" you'll have real issues getting out) and we got to do a wheel change on the car. A bit of fun but it's good to get so close to the cars.
Again, at the end a chance to spend some readies but it's good to know it goes to help them continue their work.