At Thruxton’s recent Motorsport Celebration we spent some time with Formula Junior racer Adrian Russell, who talk about life with his Formula Junior Lotus 22 (gallery of pictures of the lovely Lotus above):
“This is now is my second year of Formula Junior. I raced Caterhams for maybe twelve of fifteen years in all, and enjoyed that, but I have always loved Lotuses and I have always been attracted to this era of cars.
“Formula Juniors have always been an attractive option but the cars can be expensive, and now I have less money to spend on other things I can throw more at racing and managed to pick up a Lotus 22 from someone who had had it on ice for 15 or 20 years.
“The purists will say these cars are very different to what I had been racing with Caterhams, but in some ways the cars are very similar in agility and power to weight ratio. The Lotus is a beautifully balanced car, it is uncompromised and designed to do exactly what it does. You sit in the middle of the car and it is so well balanced that if something goes wrong it is usually your fault.
“James Denty of Peter Denty Racing prepares the car for me, I just have to walk round it and make sure everything is tight and look for an oil leaks! This car is much more of an engineering challenge, you just can’t go to a local dealer and buy parts as everything is made specially and you tend to really think that the people making the parts know what they are doing and you trust your preparer.
“The car stays very solid, previous cars I have raced you check the set-up after every race and find it has all changed, but this car is strong and things don’t really seem to move much. You set it up and everything stays where it is, I am fed up of putting all the gauges on to check tracking, camber etc., only to find out it is exactly the same as last time. Of course, the one time I don’t bother to check it…
“Thruxton is all about balance and high-speed, and if you are going into one of those corners fully committed speeds are up o 130-140mph and you really need to get the line right. If you don’t, you have no room to adjust mid-corner, you have to commit to your turning points and the Lotus is really exciting to drive round here, but it would be scary to get it wrong.
“After here I am doing all the UK rounds of Formula Junior, a lot of the guys are going to Europe to do the Lurani Trophy rounds which is one of the attractions of the category. YOU get a great mix of people racing these cars from all sorts of countries and background, and everyone has a great love of the cars.
“I’m retired now and would like to take on the Lurani Trophy at some point, and I am also rebuilding a 1964 Lotus Elan that we are rebuilding and I am hoping my son will race that – but the Lotus is a car I can race for many more seasons yet!”