Lotus Elan

elans should be driven in the wet they say...

PostPost by: nmauduit » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:04 am

I've heard that the first 90% of elan drivability are easy to reach, not so the last 10%, so in search of the limits of my 1968 Federal S4se I jumped on the opportunity to try a wet track day at the Michelin Ladoux facility early October.
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Michelin Ladoux Canard

As part of their various test tracks near the Michelin headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand is a track nicknamed the Duck (le Canard) for its shape, which is continuously maintained wet via water diffusers located at the curb of the track. The thickness of the water film can be set up to 3mm I understand, it was set between 1 and 2 for us that day. That setup makes it quite confortable to drive, as the vision is very clear unless following closely an other car. They mentioned this system is rather unique in Europe, most wet tracks using sprinklers which makes the air foggy.
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Wet track day

The drill was to get beyond the limit, like when drifting, and recovering as smoothly as possible: practicing would help making the recovery automatic, which in turn would free brain resources for watching the track and driving.

I did not get a proper camera installed, but at the last minute turned on my telephone attached to the dashboard with an app I recently got (Harry's Laptimer) - unfortunately, the dash apparently vibrates at some revs around 3k-4k, which results in a wavy video then (be cautious if you're sensitive to sea sickness) :


I found this wet driving rather useful to practice in a safe environment, and would gladly return for more if they open such an opportunity again.
That track day was organized by a french association of enthusiasts of classic cars built up to the seventies, the SCCT https://blog.scct.fr/ for Seventies Classics Club Trophy (though SCCT apparently will raise the car production year limit for participating to 1983 as of next season), a bunch of friendly people, very considerate on the track and most of them building and maintaining their cars themselves.
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up to Seventies Classics Cars Trophy club

Lotus manufactured before 1983 would be welcome to join, and interested parties may check the future track days as they're being scheduled https://blog.scct.fr/category/evenements/ to see if a Michelin Ladoux wet track day is opened for 2020 (no need to join the club to participate, details would be provided on the website).
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Lotus elan welcomed

I understand this would mostly concern people residing in France considering the amount of driving to reach Clermont-Ferrand, so I'll translate this post below

____________ en français

On dit que la conduite d'une élan est facile pour les 90 premiers pourcents, mais moins pour les derniers 10%, aussi dans une quête des limites de ma S4se Fédérale de 1968 j'ai sauté sur l'opportunité d'essayer la piste humide de Michelin Ladoux début octobre.

Faisant partie de diverses pistes d'essai du siège de Michelin à Clermont-Ferrand l'une des pistes est surnommée le Canard pour sa forme, piste maintenue continuellement humide grâce à des diffuseurs d'eau situés sur sur le bord. L'épaisseur du film d'eau peut être réglée jusqu'à 3mm si j'ai bien compris, et elle était réglée entre 1mm et 2mm pour nous ce jour là. Ce système rend la conduite très confortable, car la vision reste très claire à moins que l'on ne suive de près une autre voiture. Ils ont indiqué que ce système est probablement unique en Europe, la plupart des pistes humides utilisant des sprinklers ce qui tend à créer un brouillard.

L'exercice était de pousser au delà de la limite, façon drift, et de récupérer aussi souplement que possible: la pratique aidant la récupération à devenir un réflexe automatique, afin d'en décharger l'attention pour se concentrer sur le suivi de la piste et la conduite.

Je n'ai pas installé de véritable caméra, mais au dernier moment j'ai allumé mon téléphone fixé au tableau de bord avec une application que je venais d'installer (Harry's Laptimer) - malheureusement le tableau de bord vibre semble-t-il autour de 3k-4k, ce qui entraine des vagues sur la vidéo (attention si vous êtes sujet au
mal de mer):

J'ai trouvé la conduite sur piste humide très instructive, permettant de s'entrainer dans un environnement sans risque, et y retournerais volontiers si l'opportunité se présente de nouveau.
Cette journée de roulage était organisée par une association française d'amateurs d'anciennes jusqu'au années 70, le SCCT https://blog.scct.fr/ pour Seventies Classics Club Trophy (même si apparemment le SCCT va augmenter la limite des années de production autorisées à participer jusqu’à 1983 à partir de la saison prochaine), un groupe de passionnés très amical et attentionnés aux autres sur la piste, pour la plupart construisant en entretenant leurs autos eux-mêmes.

Les Lotus produites avant 1983 y sont bienvenues, si vous êtes intéressés vous pouvez regarder leur site pour suivre la programmation éventuelle d'une sortie à Michelin Ladoux en 2020 sur la piste humide https://blog.scct.fr/category/evenements/ (il n'est pas nécessaire d'être membre du club pour participer à une journée de roulage, les détails seront sur leur site)

Cela bien sur concerne principalement les résidents de France étant donné la distance à parcourir pour atteindre Clermont-Ferrand, aussi je traduirai ce message plus bas
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PostPost by: Bits » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:08 pm

Oulton Park has a small tarmac rally course that they wet with a bowser ( liquid muck spreader) towed by a tractor.
I think the tarmac finish has been treated so it is smooth, to lower adhesion.
I went (tried :oops: ) to go round in a BMW 850i, fantastic fun. :D
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Sat Oct 19, 2019 2:19 pm

Great video and useful write up.

Thank you Nicolas!
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PostPost by: derek uk » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:56 am

That was great, nice to see that you were trying. It would be interesting to know what tyres you were running and what percentage of wear you think they had. Wobbly video is what I think they call "rolling shutter".

Going round in that Isetta would have been a hoot!!
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:27 pm

derek uk wrote:It would be interesting to know what tyres you were running and what percentage of wear you think they had. Wobbly video is what I think they call "rolling shutter".

I was on Yokohama A048 (175x60 R13), quite worn out I must say (more than half, esp. the front which were at the rear previously), initially left a pressure for the dry (~1.9 hot all round), then increased the rear to 2.6 as getting into oversteer was quite difficult and I could not get to practice the drill.

The Isetta did not go on the track.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:47 pm

Rolling shutter, same effect if different mechanism. The true rolling shutter was mechanical and part of how some ancient cameras worked, and resulted in pictures taken during automobile races looking like this:


This effect was lampooned years ago in a cartoon in Road & Track magazine in which an Edwardian-era racer is putting a new set of 'racing ovals' onto his car. :lol:
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:13 am

i would've asked: but my question regarding the isetta was already answered. my punk and i will go for a ride in about 4hrs: gotta pick up my new front wheels (new a539s) - top is already up and will stay so until next spring (i never go for wet rides) sandy
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