by Colin Smith, Chair LDC
As more severners in the UK join the Lotus Drivers Club, one of the clubs in the International 7 Network , Colin Smith the chair and I7N network treasurer tells the story of this successful and unique club that brings together Lotus and Caterham drivers. The Lotus Drivers Club (LDC) was formed in 1977 by a small group of Lotus enthusiasts in the Midlands area of the UK. We continue to welcome all Lotus cars or any derivatives including Sevens (of course!), saloons and replicas, and enjoy a healthy mix at all our events.
It grew from a handful of members into around 500 by the year 2000 and was very focussed on motorsport events, encouraging members to obtain competition licences and go racing and sprinting. It became clear that relatively few members wanted to go through this process, especially with the cost required to keep their car preparation updated to the ever-changing motorsport regulations. Nowadays, most members who want some track action attend trackdays, where we partner with the excellent “Lotus On Track” organisers or, through their Area Organiser, have a group booking with another registered track day provider. (Good driving standards and mutual respect for other cars = a good days driving and less red flagged sessions!).
Seeing so few of the membership holding a competition licence, the Club sought ways to encourage members to drive their cars to or at more social events. The Club driving tours (UK and EU) have become very popular, giving a great mix of driving and social banter. To keep an interest in track driving, our informal “Introduction to Sprinting” event, where we hire Curborough Sprint Course in Lichfield for a day, is specifically aimed at novices to track driving and offers a chance of drives and passenger rides in other members cars. This has become an annual fully subscribed event. Road driver coaching is being planned for next year when CoVid restrictions are lifted fully.
We have an ever-expanding calendar of social events, where members drive out to places of interest for a day to meet up with friends, old and new alike. Some meet ups are at race meetings, often ones with a Lotus race series, so members can get their “fix” of watching track action at events such as Silverstone Classic, Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup Europe events. In the Winter months we run indoor meetings such as our Scalextric GP for a bit of fun
and our annual Christmas Dinner, as well as attending shows like the Classic Car Show at Birmingham’s NEC.
In addition to national events, we have expanded our area meetings around the UK to 16 areas spread from Scotland to Cornwall - these groups enjoy locally organised meetings and events, totalling around 200 per year. These meeting are in some areas in partnership with other likeminded clubs such as Kent Se7ens, South West Se7ens, Northern Se7ens and other Lotus clubs.
The club membership has grown steadily to its current level of circa 1,000 primary members who enjoy 3 professional glossy magazines a year , CHICANE, (to become 4 per year from 2022) monthly newsletter OILY RAG , a vibrant website, forum and social media community. The growth has not resulted in the Club retaining any paid services – like the International 7 Network, everything we do is purely voluntary from the editing of our publications to membership admin and running events. So, all membership fees go directly into membership activities and services
All of this, along with free technical expertise, serves to help our members in the ownership and enjoyment of their cars with the key objective of getting as many members driving to or at as many events as possible – the clue is in our name!
Our participation in the International 7 Network has proved both enjoyable and productive and I look forward to increasing cooperation and to welcoming more Seveners to our events.
The Club’s philosophy is embedded in our name – to get members and enthusiasts out and driving their Lotus and Sevens at every opportunity. So, whether you want to make new friends, create amazing memories or just get advice on how to get the most out of your car, then the Lotus Drivers Club could be just the club for you. www.lotusdriversclub.org.uk