Our First Formula Junior Season Is Go, Snetterton Race Report, UPDATED with Pro Pics!



Hi All,

So here we go, our first season in our 1961 Lotus Formula Junior, this has certainly been quite a while coming as we bought the car around 3 years ago now but its restoration was much more involved than I could have ever imagined but that is all behind us now and we can look forward to seasons of amazing racing ahead of us.

We did a couple of events at Silverstone towards the end of last year to really just shake the car down which it passed with flying colours so now it is time to get stuck in and see what we can achieve in this amazing little single seater, it still blows my mind that it has been racing for over 60 years, this car really has seen time change through the decades.

Friday Testing


So our first event of 2024 is at Snetterton in Norfolk, the home of Lotus, so a home race for our 20/22, I have to say I have never been a big fan of Snetterton, it always seems to be wet and cold there, in fact I first went to Snett to test the Radical SR1 we had just got in 2018 and the day was snowed off and it hasn’t got much better over the years to be honest.

I was certainly keen to get back in the groove asap on Friday though, our first run was around 10am and as soon as I sat in the car it started to pour with rain, with the afternoon and Saturday race day looking dry I decided to sit out the 2 morning session as I felt I wasn’t going to learn much and didn’t want to damage the car in anyway.

So I had lunch and by the afternoon it was dry and the sun way out but it was still really cold and windy but I jumped in our Lotus and drove down the pit lane for my first test session of 2024. Now to my surprise I really didn’t enjoy this session at all, it was like I’d forgotten how to drive, this really surprised me as I was pretty happy with my pace for the Silverstone races but here I really felt like a duck out of water, all I could put it down to is that I have only driven a van for the last few months so it was a bit of a shock to be sat in a lightweight, super responsive and fast race car , another contributing factor was the really strong winds, with gust up to 80kph the car felt like it was about to take off, it only weight 400kg’s so when a gust of wind hits it you really feel it and it was at its worst down the back straight where you are going the fastest, it was so scary I was afraid to take my hands of the steering wheel to change gear as the car was darting left and right when the wind hit it, not a pleasurable experience at all, I was so glad when I saw the chequered flag and the session was over.

So I came in after the 1st session really disappointed in myself and my severe lack of pace, I was even wondering if it was time to hang up my helmet, had I lost it, you do hear about it being like a switch and you know when that time comes, but I gave myself a good talking too in-between sessions and went out again for the last session of the day, what a transformation, the wind had died down slightly and I knew to expect it which helped a little, in the end I went 15 secs a lap quicker than the session before and started to feel comfortable in the car again, maybe there is still life in the old dog yet.


Saturday Qualifying and Race Day!

So today was predicted to be dry and less windy and even though when driving to the circuit it was pouring down once there it did remain dry all day which was a real bonus. So now it was time to qualify, my best time yesterday was a 1 min 35 second lap so in my head I wanted to get down to a 1:33 or so, in the end my very last lap was a 1:31.369 which put me 11th on the grid out of 22 cars, so bang in the middle of the pack but I was delighted with that time, the funny thing is the faster you go doesn’t feel any harder than when going 5 seconds a lap slower, all very strange.

Fastest Lap of the weekend

Please find my last Qualy lap below and fastest lap of the weekend, it still amazes me how slow it looks on camera, in the car it really does feel much faster, watching it back I’m thinking to myself what are you doing, looks like you can walk faster.


The Race


So after sitting around for 4 hours it is time to jump in the car and perform, now I was a bit worried about getting of the line as we have standing starts and that is not something you can really practice so we took our positions up on the grid and I sat and waited for the red lights to come on, I then upped the revs to 5000, the lights went out out and I lifted the clutch and we were off, so job one was complete, I didn’t stall, then I realised it was actually a rubbish start and I dropped from 11th to 14th by the 1st corner but I fought back to 10th but I stupidly let the car behind me through towards the end thinking it was the leader lapping me but it wasn’t and I could get back passed him, I was so annoyed with myself as I felt 10th was were I deserved to finish but if someone had told me at the start of the weekend I would finish 11th I really would have taken that, especially after the awful start on Friday.

So that was weekend 1 complete and I felt it was a great success as still so much to learn with this car, it is such a different animal to anything I have driven before but when you are in the groove it really is an amazing experience, so responsive and you are just a few CM’s off the ground to the sense of speed is great, such an intense experience, I really love it and can see me racing Formula Juniors for years to come, especially as everyone in the FJ paddock are so lovely and friendly, historic racing really is very special.

Next race is a Cadwell Park in a months time, that should be a brilliant track for these cars as very tight and twisty, can’t wait.







Professional Pics taken by Charlie Wooding –


Comments are closed.