Tuesday, February 15, 2011

37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix Festivities Begin With C-300 Mixer

C-300 Redcoat membership display at the C-300 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach kick off mixer. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix Festivities Begin With C-300 Mixer

It's that time of year, again, where the city begins to think about welcoming over 100,000 visitors to watch several races and attend activities that officially start with the Long Beach Motorsports Walk Of Fame induction ceremony on the sidewalk in front of the Long Beach Convention Center and culminates with a two-hour IndyCar race on Sunday.

For 37 years (can you believe it?), open-wheel cars with very powerful engines have been competing and the sounds of high-revving engines have echoed off of the sides of the skyscrapers along the harbor shore in downtown Long Beach.

The kick-off event that signals the beginning of this grand motor culture activity to most of the community conscious folks in Long Beach and surrounding environments is the party put on by the Redcoats of the Committee of 300, or C-300.

The C-300 & Toyota Grand Prix Kick Off Party is scheduled to be held this Wednesday - February 16, 6-9pm, at the Hotel Maya, 700 Queensway, Long Beach.

The Redcoats of the Committee of 300 volunteer each year to manage the granstands and support the activities that make up the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Long Beach Mayor, Bob Foster welcomes and applauds the efforts of the Committe of 300 at last year's Toyota Grand Prix Kick Off Party. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2010)

More specifically, this Mission Statement excerpted and edited from the Committee of 300 -

To Promote, Support, Enrich and Direct the grandstand operations during race weekend.

To staff of the press room, photo towers, and TV carts during race weekend.

To provide a first rate hospitality area -the C300 Paddock Club- for our guests during race weekend.

To serve the community by providing volunteer support to such activities as the LA Auto Show, Christmas parades in the Long Beach area, decorating the Long Beach float for the Tournament of Roses Parade, and the Long Beach Marathon to name a few.

To promote the Grand Prix of Long Beach and its beautiful host city.

Reference Here>>

So, in about two months, and around tax filing due date time, the 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach - the third stop of the 2011 IndyCar Championship Series will be held with a host of motor culture events to absorb just about any fan.

Schedule Of Events - 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach


11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame Ceremony (Pine Ave. in front of Long Beach Convention Center)

6:00 – 10:00 p.m. Tecate Thunder Thursday on Pine Ave. (incl. Tecate Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Finals)


7:00 a.m. Gates Open

7:15 - 9:15 a.m. ALMS Practice

8:00 a.m. Lifestyle Expo Opens

9:35 - 9:55 a.m. Team Drifting Demonstration

10:00 - 11:15 a.m. IndyCar Practice

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Toyota Pro/Celebrity Practice

12:15 - 1:15 p.m. Firestone Indy Lights Practice

2:25 - 3:25 p.m. IndyCar Practice

3:40 - 4:10 p.m. Toyota Pro/Celebrity Qualifying

4:00 - 5:00 p.m. IndyCar All-Driver Autograph Session (IZOD IndyCar Series Paddock)

4:20 - 4:45 p.m. World Challenge Practice

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. ALMS Qualifying

6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Tecate Light Fiesta Friday Concert (Artist TBD)

7:00 p.m. Toyota Grand Prix Charity Ball at the Westin Long Beach


7:00 a.m. Gates Open

7:15 - 7:45 a.m. World Challenge Practice

8:00 - 8:45 a.m. Firestone Indy Lights Practice

8:55 - 9:20 a.m. Team Drifting Demonstration

10:25 - 11:25 a.m. IndyCar Practice – Split Groups

11:40 a.m. - 12:40 p.m. Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race
12:55 - 1:55 p.m. Firestone Indy Lights Qualifying 2:30 - 3:50 p.m. IndyCar Qualifying & Firestone Fast 6

4:30 - 6:30 p.m. TEQUILA PATRĂ“N AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES RACE (120 minutes)

6:00 p.m. Lifestyle Expo Closes

6:30 p.m. Tecate Light Rock-N-Roar Concert (Artist TBD)

7:00 a.m. Gates Open

8:00 a.m. Lifestyle Expo Open

8:00 - 8:15 a.m. Firestone Indy Lights Practice

8:25 - 8:55 a.m. World Challenge Qualifying

9:15 - 9:45 a.m. IndyCar Practice

10:00 a.m. Grid Firestone Indy Lights Cars/Indy Lights Pre-Race

10:25 - 11:30 a.m. Firestone Indy Lights Race

12:30 p.m. IZOD IndyCar Series Pre-Race Ceremonies

1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Race number 3 of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series) 3:40 - 3:55 p.m. Team Drifting Challenge 4:15 - 5:15 p.m. SCCA Pro World Challenge Championships Race

5:30 p.m. Lifestyle Expo Closes

Tickets for the 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach found HERE>>

Come and enjoy an evening of camaraderie with the internationally renowned volunteer C-300 citizens of the greater Long Beach community and you too can become a Redcoat and be a part of a tradition of service wrapped in motor culture and good nature.

Again, The C-300 & Toyota Grand Prix Kick Off Party is scheduled to be held this Wednesday - February 16, 6-9pm, at the Hotel Maya, 700 Queensway, Long Beach.

Be there ... and become ... a C-300 Redcoat!

... notes from The EDJE

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lotus Evora - Queen of Curves

Evora at Zuma Beach. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

Lotus Evora - Queen of Curves

Curves have a decided double meaning when speaking of Evora. In one manner Evora’s curves are about pure beauty and in another it’s how rapidly and safe Evora powers through corners. Considering the magnificent shapes Evora embodies, I am suggesting that the Lotus design studio had Victoria Secret catalogues around for inspiration. The design gods got their creation right. You will see different sensual lines every time you take her out; dating should be so rewarding.

Appreciate a tailored look? Direct your attention to the narrow waistline of Evora. Imagine the figure of Scarlet Johansson on the Red Carpet. With this figure were Evora dressed in red or yellow, she could easily be mistaken for one of the Italian competitors. Only Evora’s modest price-per-performance dollar would give it away as not one of the $150,000 Italians.

Evora with the Malibu pier in the background. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

Evora’s lines are purposeful rather than for mere beauty. The rear integrates a floating rear wing providing downforce while contributing to the low 0.33 drag coefficient. The design is so efficient that it eliminates the need for a weight-adding electro-mechanical wing that rises at speed, like in some Porsches. This is in keeping with the practical philosophy of Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman of “Performance through Lightweight”.

Evora from the tail at Latigo beach on a Pacific coast day. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

Atop her sensuous curves there is Evora’s unusual roofline. The bodywork joining the rear quarter and glass to the roofline appears as two points of connecting rectangles. Think of it as the Geometric Abstraction style of Piet Mondrian’s paintings or a Giulio Lazzotti table. Perhaps these too were part of the Evora inspiration.

Evora design curves in Laser Blue. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

This is the world’s only mid-engine 2+2 on the market. For the purest, the standard 2+0 is equipped with a shelf area rather than the small rear seats. Once inside, Evora’s cockpit is unusually open, unlike the cramped even claustrophobic feel common in many sports cars. The A-pillars on modern cars are thick and often block side vision while cornering. Lotus, renowned for its superior handling, would have none of these restrictions.

In contrast to the norm, Lotus designed the Evora’s windshield so that the “A” is pulled rearward and to the side. Envision a jet fighter canopy, this may have been the designer’s muse. This functional design contributes to the driving pleasure by providing a spaceship panoramic view. Evora is designed to be much wider inside than her perceived dimensions, giving driver and passenger additional personal space.

Evora interior sweep in black. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

The layout of the interior and controls is elegant and simple with one exception. The ignition switch is hard to see and reach on the steering column. Complicating things is the engine immobilizer on the key that gives you 40 seconds to start the car once you enter. This is not very practical for a Le Mans start, or everyday use. Drawing from Lotus’ racing, a simple and appropriate fix would be a red starter button.

Evora’s interior is a cross between stylish modern Italian and functional Swedish. Features include a dash and center-shift console of aluminum, leather Recaro high back seats and a flat-bottomed magnesium steering wheel. An interesting option is the reversing camera accessible via the touch screen. Those not used to the tiny rear window or relying on the excellent side mirrors will appreciate this option.

This test car was a striking Laser Blue with black interior, and was a hit by all that saw her. Would you rather be seen around town in Chrome Orange, Storm Titanium or Phantom Black? Done, the color pallet for Lotus looks like a Dunn Edwards store and features twenty choices. Considering how exclusive these cars are you may be the only one in your market driving a Graphite Grey Evora with a Paprika interior.

Evora with a Paprika leather interior. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

A trip from Malibu to the central coast wine country allowed for participation in a rally during this five hundred mile drive. My lady passenger commented on how the comfortable seats held her in place on the twisty roads and the secure feeling at speed Evora gave her. Part of this secure feeling comes from what Lotus refers to as Versatile Vehicle Architecture. This design won the Dewar Trophy for Technical Excellence with a chassis weighing only 440 lbs. yet provides outstanding rigidity.

1925 Rolls Royce. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

A rest stop during the day's drive. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

Arriving at the vinyeard. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

Similar to Lotus racecars the Evora’s nose channels massive airflow through the radiators creating downforce at speed and lowering the drag coefficient. The result of all this downforce and its light weight can best be felt in the curves. Lean and roll are absent and the suspension does not beat up the occupants at speed, even on slippery country roads. Contributing factors to superior handling comes from a weight distribution of 39% front and 61% rear and her lean weight of 3,047 lbs. As a result Evora was never challenged beyond her outstanding abilities.

Evora's cooling system. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

The brakes are immense and provide confident stopping power. Adhesion comes from (225/40ZR18) tires up front and (255/35 ZR19) on the rear. The only annoyance was noise on deeply grooved freeways coming from the low profile tires. This is nothing unusual from other similar wheel and tire setups, once on smooth pavement everything is again quiet.

Evora has a range of wheels to choose from. Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

The steering is noteworthy in its precise feel and lack of effort. There is no play in its geometry; when you turn the wheel the car responds immediately. Lotus’ World Champion drivers Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti would have demanded nothing less.

Overall, Evora’s inherent qualities sharpen ones skill level. You develop into a more competent and safe driver effortlessly. Got any cars like that in your garage?

Beautiful? Yes, Handling? Incredible. So how does she perform power wise? The power is seamless with Evora’s dual overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder. The engine gets its linear feel from the Lotus (VVT-i) intelligent variable value timing. This allows the 3.5-liter to rev rapidly and not be short of breath at higher rpm. All of this accented with a wonderful growl from the exhaust that is absolutely addictive.

Overnight cases welcome! Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

In its current state of tune Evora turns a 0-60 mph in a scant 4.9 seconds. Evora’s power comes from its mid-engine Toyota sourced 3.5 liter V-6, producing 276 hp @ 6,400 rpm to the rear wheels. Due to its superb power-to-weight and final drive of 3.23 she reaches162 mph.

Lotus engineers developed the electronic engine controls along with the clutch and six-speed gearbox to suit their requirements. The clutch is light and the shifting is easy and precise with the floor mounted six-speed manual. A sports ratio 6-speed is optional. Gearing is nicely matched with reverse up to the far left.

If you require more power, it’s coming. By mid-year Lotus will be delivering a Supercharged “S” model. The “S” delivers 345 hp and reaches 172 mph for those track day aficionados. The 0-60 mph drops to 4.6 seconds with the “S”. While Evora is not short on power some drivers just enjoy the feel and instant respond superchargers deliver.

Taking the upmost interest in Evora during the rally was the driver of a Porsche Cayman S. He appreciated the Lotus pedigree and recognized value. Evora is serious competition for Porsche 911 and Cayman S models.

Some considering the outstanding Audi R8 4.2 for $114,200 or 5.2 at $149,000 may ask themselves the following question. Other than the 4.2 being a half second faster than the standard Evora, just what do you get for those extra dollars, that I am not getting with the Evora?

There is a mileage bonus over competitors too. The EPA ratings are 18-city and 27-mpg highway; 30 mpg plus on the highway is being reported. With its 15.6-gallon tankthis makes for an extended driving range.

Evora is not about ultimate quarter mile times or reaching speeds three times the limit. In a word, Evora is about “balance”. Evora performs exceptionally in all meaningful categories while turning heads with her beauty. Bottom line; don’t wait for weekends to enjoy Evora, this car is designed to make every day more exciting.

Gentlemen prefer not to be surprised publicly or discuss price. However, the best surprise is a happy one. The base price of the Lotus Evora 2+0 (rear jump seat delete) is $64,000 plus delivery and options. Brilliant!

Evora! Sound like a lady you would like to get to know? ... Search/LotusCars.com

Lotus History and DNA

Image Credit: James Groth (2011)

Lotus Founder Colin Chapman was green before the term acquired its new meaning. He pioneered efficient performance from the use of lightweight materials and demonstrated it by winning on the track. This is the DNA of Lotus. Anyone interested in the extensive 60-year Lotus history should spend time at LotusCars.com.

Evora’s tagline is “True Character” and hers is derived from 79 Grand Prix victories, 7 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championships and 6 Drivers’ Championships in the most challenging and contested forms of automotive racing.

Certainly Mr. Chapman’s philosophy of “Performance through Lightweight ” was ahead of the industry. It’s even more pertinent in these times of preserving natural resources. Parent company Proton is investing a billion-dollars in the immediate and long-term future of Lotus while their new management team is rapidly advancing the Lotus DNA for a new century.

Anyone attending this years LA or Paris Auto Shows saw Lotus shock the automotive world by introducing five completely new models. Effectively Lotus covered the competition from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin and upped the ante.

The new CEO Dany Bahar instigated this bold move. He was the successful Senior Vice President at Ferrari heading up global car sales, F1 Marketing, and the Brand to mention just a few of his responsibilities. His goal: “return Lotus to premium brand status and profitability”.

Actress Sharon Stone and Paul Stanley of the group Kiss unveiled two of the five new models at the LA Auto Show evidenced Lotus is not going to be a one hit wonder with the Evora. Anyone attending the press preview saw how Mr. Bahar’s philosophy translated into five new models, demonstrating his ability to return Lotus to profitability. After seeing the new models his goal of restoring Lotus to its premium brand status appears very achievable.

January 2010, Mr. Bahar tasked designer Donato Coco to design five new models using none of the existing cars or chassis. Mr. Bahar wanted them done in nine months time, ready for the Pairs Auto Show. Oh, but Coco you only have five months time before having to show them to management for approval. This simply has not been done before. Yet, Donato Coco and his team did it and got it right, to the mass approval of the public and press at these important shows.

This management team is looking unparalleled. The key managers recently came from the top European bands and know how to succeed. The only somewhat comparable in terms of PR helping return a car company to profitability would be Chrysler. In the early 80’s Chrysler showed the press and Wall Street its advanced styling with concept cars, when it had nothing but the mundane “K” car to sell. Chrysler sold the future and in that era it worked. This type of PR would not work in today’s market without the spectacular, mostly finished five new models Lotus put on display.

In conclusion, while Lotus is showing five years of the future they are also ready to challenge the sports car market today with Evora, a serious and superior car for the dollar.

Contribution By:
James Groth
Miles Ahead Communications
Malibu, CA

TAGS: Lotus Evora, James Groth, Donato Coco, Lotus, Colin Chapman, Versatile Vehicle Architecture, Performance through Lightweight, Miles Ahead Communications

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lotus Cup Comes To North America

Lotus Motorsport’s IndyCar driver Takuma Sato and 1996 Champ Car winner, Jimmy Vasser have also given extensive feedback having driven the Evora Cup/GT4 at the legendary Laguna Seca race circuit in early August 2010, giving Lotus’ newest race car a most diverse and comprehensive pedigree. Image Credit: Lotus Motorsport

Lotus Cup Comes To North America
Popular Lotus Cup Race Series gets a global makeover

Over the years, the Lotus Cup Race Series has developed into one of the most successful enthusiasts race series brands in the world. Races feature capacity grids of Elise, Exige, 2-Eleven and Europa race cars racing and jostling for position. Previously operated exclusively from several countries in Europe and Japan, the Lotus Cup has now expanded considerably to include the USA, UK and Eastern Europe.

For 2011, not only has the Lotus Cup grown in size, the organization of the series has been consolidated. For the first time this year, drivers will now race to one set of rules, regulations and formats in championships around the world including:

• Lotus Cup UK
• Lotus Cup Europe
• Lotus Cup Italy
• Lotus Cup USA (West Coast) • Lotus Cup USA (East Coast)
• Lotus Cup Eastern Europe
• Lotus Cup Japan
(new for 2011 in BOLD)

Director of Lotus Motorsport Claudio Berro said: “Lotus sports car racing is one of the most popular forms of accessible motorsport in the world, both at a spectator and participant level. Now is the time to bring these championships under the Lotus umbrella, to ensure consistent look and feel to the competition. This will have obvious benefits to the current drivers and encourage new racers, ensuring that the cars and components remain good value and the competition retains its accessibility.”

Lotus will provide increased support and investment for these race series and will also ensure that the new Cup Championships retain the community feel and friendliness that an enthusiast based race series needs.

The Lotus Cup Championships will receive a new identity, logos, branding, website and Corporate Identity which are aligned closely to Lotus’ new motorsport strategy and initiatives announced over the last few months and consolidated at the Autosport show last weekend.

The excitement and race heritage design of Lotus will be zipping by at a North American track in 2011 at the following venues!

Lotus Cup USA 2011 - West Coast Schedule
(subject to change)

5th -6th March
Willow Springs Raceway, Rosamond , CA

9th – 10th April
Firebird International Raceway, Pheonix, AZ

28th – 29th May
Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA

25th – 29th June
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA

27th – 28th August
Miller Motorsports Park , Salt Lake City, UT

24th – 25th September
Buttonwillow Raceway, Buttonwillow, CA

15th – 16th October
Spring Mountain Raceway, Pahrump, NV

5th – 6th November
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas , NV


Lotus Cup USA 2011 - East Coast Schedule

9th – 10th May
Watkins Glen International Raceway, Watkins Glen, NY

11th – 12th July
Virginia International Raceway, Alton, VA

24th – 25th September
Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham . AL

The only schedule conflict for the inaugural 2011 North American campaign participant would happen on September 24th - 25th. If one wanted to race "bi-coastal", the campaigner would have to choose between Buttonwillow Raceway, Buttonwillow, California about a two hour drive North on the 5 artery into the central valley from Los Angeles, or the latest rising star dedicated road racing track on the North American racing scene (which hosts the IZOD IndyCar Series - April 10, 2011), Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama.

The series rules may exclude a "bi-coastal" desire to race in all scheduled inaugural Lotus Cup Series races in North America ... but this does present an interesting proposition for the first time Lotus Cup Race Series participant.

For further information regarding the Lotus Cup, please contact Lotus Motorsport: motorsport@lotuscars.com

... notes from The EDJE

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You must have these letters in your Team Name

Image Credit: Dicken Wear (2011)

Image Credit: Dicken Wear (2011)

You must have these letters in your Team Name ...

To Win the Grand-Am Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, it seems you must have the letters T R G in the name of your Team. Target, TELMEX, and TRG have the letters T, R, or G in their name.