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Experieces in Racing an Europa

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Hi everyone,

I want to start a thread about racing with Europas. Is there anyone in this forum, who is has some experiece in racing these cars? I would love to read about it.

I will start with a little piece of my first experiences (we started racing our S2 in 2011):

Since 2008 my father, my brother and my uncle were racing my uncle's 1969 Porsche 911 T at vintage racing cups. In 2009 my father bought our 1969 S2 as his "weekend-car", but he was allready dreaming about his next own race car. He started racing in 1970 and was driving a few race cars on different competitions since that time. After he bought the S2 it was only a question of time until this car will come on track.

In Winter 2010 we decided to race the Europa. My father, my two older brothers and me would be the drivers.
We talked to some Lotus-"Experts", which said that the Europa is in standard configuration already quiet fit for racing. So we installed the safety measures, semi-slicks and went to Spa-Francorchamps to race.

But after the first qualifying it was obvious that the Europa is not fit for racing...
My father's short conclusion: "No brakes and no power."

In the paddock we were able to improve the brakes by using endurance-racing brake-pads and racing braking fluid. The engine could not be done there. In the race, we did not finish, because the fan wheel collapsed and killed the water cooler.
And after this weekend, we saw another problem. The frame was cracked on some positions.

We had to do "something":
- restore the frame by welding it
- reduce weight
- improve the engine

The frame is completely restored now. It is welded on all cracked positions  :welder: and painted in grey.
We reduced the weight from about 740 kg to 680 kg by using light-weight parts (for example the new water-cooler and fan wheel) or removing superfluid parts like the leather-interior, the heater and so on. We also replaced the original door windows with electric lift by lexan-windows.

And the greatest succes was the engine. At the first race it had maybe 100 HP (little tuned 1565cc engine).
Now the engine is "really fit for racing". Racing parts like pistons, rods, crank shaft and cam shaft are used. And also the cylinder head was completely conditioned for racing. Now it has about 150 HP.
It's running great. I still remember a situation from a race on the Hockenheim-Ring:
A 2,0 Porsche 911 is in front of me, both of us are accelerating out of a corner and I overtake him like it would be nothing. This Porsche had no problem and it is a quiet fast 2,0 911. A great feeling :-)

But still the braking is not like we would wish it. It seems like the rear brakes are not working good enough... We have to brake until 70 metres earlier at the hairpin in Hockenheim than some other cars (for example: a Porsche 911 can brake at about 120 metres and I needed to brake around 190 metres before the corner).

Everything else on this car works great now. We replaced the original (soft) coils and dampers by racing parts. We also reduced the cars height until 7 centimetres. When we learned about setting the car up, we could be able to reach top ten positions in our competition. In Hockenheim we reached position 27 of 50 cars and P3 in class.

Our last race in Spa (one year after the very first) ended as early as one year ago: after seven laps the head-gasket blew. But nothing else was destroyed :-)

If you are interested, you can have a look at my website (in the profile and the signature).

I'm looking forward to reading from you!

Best regards


P.S.:  :ttiwwp:

Wow, by a strange coincidence I was just looking at your website earlier today.   I love the look of your car.  I just autocross my Europa and I'm not happy with the brakes either.  When I started the back brakes did nothing.  New pads, cylinders, and steel braided flexible brake lines have made a BIG difference, but if you test drive an Elise you'll know how good brakes can be and my S2 is a long way off from there. 

Another guy I know who races a 300+ hp Europa with a turbo charged rotary engine is running bigger drums on the back.  And he's got enough rear braking that if his proportioning valve isn't set right, the rear brakes will cause the car to spin.  So you can go that route.   Or install disc brakes back there.   I wish I knew what he was running on the front wheels.


Ok guys, first thing is that I don't (and never will) race cars but as I've said previously, I like to look at the engineering behind the conversions. 

So brakes ? Rear brake width was increased slightly from the S2 to the Special, I forget the exact numbers but same diameter with an extra 1/4" width comes to mind ?  As you probably both know there are rear disc conversions around, plus I've also read about using Triumph TR7 back plates and drums which are larger diameter IIRC for those who don't want rear discs.

For front brakes there are the 4-pot caliper conversions which again I'm sure you know of. Another option is for the larger discs & calipers off the Triumph GT6 & Vitesse using 16P calipers. I've done this on my road-going Elan and it seems to be a common mod for people doing track days over here because it's relatively cheap. The discs and calipers are more or less the same price as the 14xx caliper & discs but the mounting brackets are only available s/h. (I paid £25 for mine last year).

Having said that, my personal experience on the road is that the most notable difference was in the pad material which varies from "oh sh....ugar, this isn't going to stop" to "wow".

Hi guys,

we already installed a two-circle-braking system with steel-flex brake lines and a master brake cylinder of the Porsche 911 without brake booster. The front brakes seem to work well. It is possible to get the front wheels standing while braking. In rain the front wheels are standing almost at the moment you start braking... The car has not enough weight on the front wheels. Because of that it has not enough grip in rain. But we are not able to put more parts from rear to front. When it is rainy, we put about 15 kg of lead into the front boot. Not the perfect solution, but better than doing nothing...

The problem is that on our vintage racing events we have to use the parts, which were originally used on the same car in racing until 1971. -> We have to keep our brakes. Maybe better rear brake shoes can help. We need brake shoes which are specific for racing.

A Lotus 47 would be a dream :-) A car, which is constructed as race car. Front and rear disc brakes and a twin cam engine (which today can have up to 190 HP). That's a winner's car :-P

You think you could slip n some GT6 brakes in there without anyone noticing?  They'd be period correct and there's always the notion that you're not really compeating in racing until you're borderline cheating.   ^-^

Not that I'm advocating cheating, but pushing the rules to their limits.  Though some say it's not cheating unless you get caught.   Thankfully I'm nowhere near a good enough driver to have to worry about these moral dilemmas.


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