GT cars ( Donington GT )
'the Simon Allaway Lotus Esprit'
BUILT : 1995
CLASSIFICATION : Donington GT type-car
ENGINE : 4 used in all, lastly Chevy 5.5 V8
BHP : 575
RACED BY : Simon Allaway ( 1995-14 )
CURRENTLY : recently rebuilt, alive and well in the UK.
Simon Allaway began racing in 1985 with a spaceframe Imp and always admired the Esprits that raced in Donington GTs at the time. By 1995 Simon had built up his own and kept the Esprit flag flying as the old cars he`d admired all but disappeared by then. He started a long run in the BARC-NW Sports/saloon championship initially using a Rover 3.6 V8, then in 1997 a 400bhp Wildcat version. In 2001 that was replaced by a 430 bhp 6032cc Chevy V8 unit as the car got faster and more developed. The current engine was fitted in 2009 and this was a 575 bhp 5.5 Chevy V8 from a Daytona Prototype used in Grand-Am. Engine details on Simon`s website www.espritv8.net
In 2011 Simon was invited to the CSCC Special saloon + Modsport revival and indeed won the inaugural series race in 2012 at Silverstone. All the years of toil were rewarded with outright victory in the 2013 BARC-NW championship. His car had simply shattering performance winning twice at Donington in CSCC which is where I first met Simon and helped push the hot car down the pit lane after doing the post race garland presentation photos. Having set fastest series laps at Donington and Silverstone and one of the very top cars in the series the car had to be retired 'Sadly on inspecting the car in preparation for the 2014 season I discovered severe fatigue cracks in the spaceframe and had to scrap the car. I am currently building a new spaceframe and hope the car will be ready during the 2020 season' said Simon on his website.
The difficult task of a spaceframe replacement was done with all the panels and mechanicals switched over effectively making this chassis #2 though the car should almost identical to the one pictured.
The car and driver returned to the race tracks in 2021 in version 2 making 4 races including the CSCC Silverstone GP race.
'the Chris Crawford Lotus Esprit'
BUILT : 1980 by Colin Bennett Racing
CLASSIFICATION : Donington GT / Silhouette GT
ENGINE : Alloy block Chevy 7.2 V8
BHP : 650 as quoted in 1982 advert
RACED BY : George 'Welly' Potter ( 1981-83 ),
Phil Barak ( 1984-85 ), Chris Crawford ( 1986-92 )
CURRENTLY : alive and well in the north-east
NOTES : Monster Esprit clone built by Colin Bennett racing for George 'Welly' Potter using Ensign F1 parts and big block Chevy V8. Originally red with sponsorship from Swinton Insurance George from Derbyshire raced in Donington GT and the BRSCC GT series 1981 to 1983. Perhaps best remembered for 'a nasty crash at Aintree which he was lucky to emerge unscathed' in May 1982 when the driveshaft broke and he crashed backwards into the fencing at Valentines. This incident was one of the factors in Aintree banning further motor racing from that season. Repaired and advertised for £10k it sold a year later to Geordie Phil Barak who had just sold Baby Bertha and repainted her blue. He had to overcome a paddock fire at Brands Hatch but did start to fulfill the car's potential winning the class in the 1984 BRSCC GTs.
Then Oil Rig specialist Chris Crawford bought her for 1986 for the last Donington GT years and the expanding BARC-NW series. Wins finally came in late 1987 for the now white car with a record lap at Oulton Park.
It looks like the car was rebuilt during 1989 with a new dark green wide-body featuring purposefull frontal aero. Racing in BARC-NW and Churchill GTs it was the 1991 class runner-up in the former to Pete Edwards with 3 outright race wins. Oulton programe article writer Ray Sumner wrote 'getting closer year by year is the beautiful chevy engined Esprit of Chris Crawford. I think this car easily draws the largest crowd in the paddock'. The car had 4 more race wins with BARC-NW in 1992 and many close battles with the Skodas of Tony Sugden and Tony Burch in particular.
The car was retired thereafter when Chris had to retire from racing due to a health issue though another Esprit had been built by him to join it in his impressive stable. He still has the car today.
BUILT : 1979/80
CLASSIFICATION : UK Modsports
ENGINE : Ford twin-cam 1800cc
RACED BY : Rob Cox ( 1980 ), Mike Gidden ( 1981 ), Mike Yarney ( 1982-83 ), Sam Hill/Nick Carr ( 1984-86 )
CURRENTLY : rebuilt around 2011, alive and well in Germany.
Rob Cox had raced successfully in the late 60s in a Triumph Spitfire before focusing on his design fireplaces business in Kent. When he returned to the tracks in 1980 he used a Caterham Super 7 for the BARC STP Modsport season. Dubbed 'the black brick' due to initial lack of top end speed it was built up by Geoff Rumble at Dastel Engineering using remaining parts of the Dave Bettinson modsport car. It featured more aero parts and Chevron suspension. The aero package would evolve during the season and on subsequent black brick cars.
Cox was a consistent high finisher and at Thruxton in May broke the outright Modsport lap record ( 1m 22.9 ) even though he didnt win. He did return to win outright in the september round and went on to finish 2nd in the 2000cc class behind Nicky Ellis and 6th overall.
Car sold to Mike Gidden who raced it in white and then on to Mike Varney who raced it mainly at Lydden. It eventually ended up in Germany and was restored around 2011 by its owner Thomas Bobbel.
Later Black Brick 2 ( 1981 ) which was scrapped after a crash, Black Brick 3 ( 1983 ) and finally Super Brick ( 1984/85 ) is now in the USA.