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F1 demo thrills Brands Hatch fans at MSVR Media Day

Tuesday, February 14 2012

Brands Hatch reverberated to the sound of Formula One once more at today's MSVR Media Day. With most of the F1 world playing a guessing game as pre-season testing continues, spectators at the Kent circuit got a taste of the days of 3.5 litre, straight-nosed cars.

The 1989 Lotus 101 ran in three sessions, as a preview of August's Lotus Festival, one of the key events in MSVR's 2012 race calendar. It's also one of three events this year when F1 cars are expected to grace the circuit - the Masters Festival in May and HSCC Superprix in July being the other two.

The 101, which was once raced by Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima, was one of Team Lotus' final designs before the outfit was sold. The Norfolk manufacturer has recently returned to F1 and August's festival will celebrate the marque's illustrious motorsport history. There will also be racing from MSVR's Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup UK Championships, as well as a race celebrating 50 years of the Elan sportscar.

Steve Griffiths, owner and driver of the 101, said: "The great thing with running at this time of year is that every time you're shifting it, it's great fun. Today, it's seriously greasy out there, I can't believe how greasy it is, and it's like ice! With 640 horsepower and 16 inches of rubber it was a matter of having to come in before an accident happened - but good fun!

Whilst the car resembles modern F1 machinery, there the similarity ends. "There's a lot of behind the scenes work that people don't see," he continued. "However it's a mechanical car, not an electronic one - there's still computers on it, we run data logging on it but you don't need a computer to start it, we just need a starter motor which we broke this morning so we had to push start it! It's more technical than it looks but for someone like me to run it, it's mechanical so it's nice."

Griffiths is looking forward to the Lotus Festival, returning to Brands Hatch after three years at Snetterton. "Oh Brands Hatch is one of my favourite circuits, without doubt," he remarked. "It's a brilliant place to drive. I love the Indy circuit and that at the Lotus Festival is going to be so much fun! And hopefully it will be a bit warmer then too!"

Tickets are on sale for the Lotus Festival on 18-19 August from £13 for adults, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or click here. Tickets are also on sale for the Masters Historic Festival on 26-27 May, click here for more information. To buy tickets for the Brands Hatch Historic Superprix on 30 June - 1 July, click here.