RE: PH Easter Exige Extravaganza!

RE: PH Easter Exige Extravaganza!

Saturday 14th April 2018

PH Easter Exige Extravaganza!

This year was the Exiges.com 10th Easter track day at Anglesey - PH went along to join the party



Easter in an Exige - yes, we've done the 'Eggsige' jokes already - is a feature that we've been meaning to do for a while now. But with various issues around car availability, people availability and, to be frank, Easter only happening once a year, it has taken until 2018 for it to happen. Rest assured, though, it was most certainly worth the wait.

And not just for the obvious reasons, either, because we all know that driving the fastest Exige ever made across Wales to arguably Britain's best circuit beats spending the weekend eating chocolate with your Nan. As much as anything else, the point of the weekend was to experience a proper owner's club meet, to see why people want to be involved and understand the dedication that sees dozens come to Anglesey in their Lotuses every Easter. (The Exiges.com Easter track day has been running for 17 years, with this the 10th one at Anglesey.)


See, while PistonHeads has its foundations in quite specific brands, it has evolved into a very broad church for every type of enthusiast. We love that, and want to encourage it - but because PH is not a brand-specific owners forum (notwithstanding the many areas that do deal in specifics) we'll cheerfully concede that a proper owners club has its obvious advantages. And without wanting to sound like Louis Theroux on his way to meet a cult, your correspondent was looking forward to the experience; not least because a decent car has never sat on the driveway long enough to permit joining up anywhere previously.

Ben Phillips was my guide for the weekend, a long-term Exige owner and prominent figure in this owners club. Sadly with his Exige S1 still being worked on, Ben had his Seven R300 race car taken to Anglesey and arrived in his E63. You know, the 585hp rear-wheel drive one. You'd like Ben. Having spent all of 10 minutes with him, you get an insight into what makes owners clubs like Exiges.com so appealing: everybody knows Ben, Ben knows everybody, and they all have stories to share and conversations to catch up on.


Ben was at Anglesey with his mates, all in Sevens, all of whom have something to say about their adventures in Lotuses and, er, cars that were once called Lotuses. And that's the key: Lotus ownership, and membership of this club, has brought them together and continues to provide them with fantastic experiences on road and track. Which rather feels like the point.

You can certainly see it everywhere, fathers attending with sons, husbands attending with wives and so on. A 'family atmosphere' is about as hackneyed as cliches get, but there's a real sense of belonging here, and of helping each other out, yet they're incredibly welcoming too: it's an inclusive, friendly bunch of people, which again just makes you want to be part of it even more. Always helps if you've got a brand new and very fast version of the Lotus everybody else has, too...


Which brings us nicely to the cars, yet another reason why you should consider getting into an owners club, whatever you drive. Loitering in the windswept garages of Anglesey were some of the finest Exiges you've ever seen, from seemingly immaculate Toyota-engined S2s to bonkers engine-swapped S1s to another version of the S3 that even Lotus has probably forgotten about. That's in addition to a whole host of other Lotuses, including an Evora GTE - yes, there really is at least one in the UK!

Unsurprisingly the 430 proves popular, and being among its own kind makes it far easier to appreciate the changes from lesser S3 Exiges. Next to a 380 Sport you can really notice the higher wing, those gaping front intakes and all the extra carbon - it creates a much more assertive looking car, even if the spec sheet may not have entirely convinced you. Next to an original 350hp S3, it almost feels like the difference between 911 Carrera and GT3 RS - there's just so much more attitude.


That bears out on track, too, even if attitude is the last thing anybody is after when the Irish Sea is throwing a strop on the tarmac. Anglesey was treacherously slippery into the afternoon of Easter Monday, which wasn't ideal for anybody in attendance. To its credit the 430 Cup retained admirable poise and composure, the traction from slow corners being quite remarkable. And on the limited occasions that there were to stretch its legs, the Exige was hugely fast. Not as fast as one of those S1s with an Audi turbo engine, as it turns out, but apparently that's making more than 450hp...

While the weather inevitably made a track day involving Lotuses trickier than it really should have, the infectious and undiluted enthusiasm of the Exiges.com guys and girls proved impossible to ignore. They clearly love the brand and love their cars - understandable when you see the vehicles in question - but they also love sharing their cars with people who have the same passion as they do. Whatever you drive, indeed whatever your passion is, don't we all love doing that? That's why there were so many people at Anglesey, why projects will continue to be worked on, why Lotuses will be kept and, even if the Lotuses go, why these people will continue to be part of Exiges.com. Because it's the people that have become more important, and the friendships made, rather than simply owning the car.


To conclude, therefore, some simple advice in order of importance from lowest to highest: get on a track day if you haven't already (BookaTrack run excellent days, even when it's lashing down), get to Anglesey if you haven't been (because it's superb), drive a Lotus (and realise how synthetic a lot of 'sports cars' really are) and, most importantly, join the owners club for your car. Not only will you learn a lot, I guarantee you'll make some new friends and have great experiences, too. Even in the rain. Of course you'll most likely be aware of this already, but just in case you aren't it can't come recommended highly enough. And maybe, just maybe, the weather might pick up soon and proper car meets with owners clubs and everyone else can actually happen outside again...


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Huge thanks to Exiges.com and BookaTrack for having us along - see the full list of BaT track days here. Off track Exige 430 pics from Will Aron.

Author
Discussion

Adam3441

Original Poster:

76 posts

86 months

Saturday 14th April 2018
quotequote all
It’s the wettest track day I’ve ever done. Even so, it was hugely enjoyable and I’m already looking forward to next years event.

That Exige 430 Cup is very impressive car. Perfect for track use no matter what the weather.

fakenews

437 posts

23 months

Saturday 14th April 2018
quotequote all
Would love a S2.

C1RVY

2,296 posts

209 months

Saturday 14th April 2018
quotequote all
Adam3441 said:
That Exige 430 Cup is very impressive car. Perfect for track use no matter what the weather.
It’s not though is it, it’s too loud for just about all tracks in the UK

I love the car ( and I was there on the day ) but I don’t understand these new track toys that are effectively too fast for the road - whilst being too loud for the track!!

Or am I missing something?

661

1 posts

47 months

Saturday 14th April 2018
quotequote all
It would have been a '10' but you didn't picture my car!
Thanks for the ride out in the 430 , even if it was shortened by a red flag. ( Those damn ferrets kept leaving the tarmac).

Adam3441

Original Poster:

76 posts

86 months

Saturday 14th April 2018
quotequote all
C1RVY said:
It’s not though is it, it’s too loud for just about all tracks in the UK

I love the car ( and I was there on the day ) but I don’t understand these new track toys that are effectively too fast for the road - whilst being too loud for the track!!

Or am I missing something?
Granted, the noise issue is a massive own goal by Lotus. For the money I’d be livid if I had to spend another grand or so on an aftermarket exhaust just so I could track it.

Noise aside, I think the car is brilliant and I’d love one.

kambites

57,429 posts

167 months

Saturday 14th April 2018
quotequote all
It's a curious problem that an awful lot of "track focussed" cars have... rightly or wrongly most sporty cars in the UK wont pass the noise regulations at most tracks, so manufacturers have a choice between making their sportiest cars quieter than their more mainstream ones, or not qualifying for track days without modifications.

Ultimatley I suppose you can see why they make the decision they do... I'd imagine the majority of Exiges will never be driven on track by their original owners and for people who do want to track them, the cost of an exhaust is probably fairly trivial compared to the cost of consumables. Still they should (IMO) at least offer the option of a track- (and neighbour-) friendly exhaust.

Adam3441

Original Poster:

76 posts

86 months

Saturday 14th April 2018
quotequote all
C1RVY said:
It’s not though is it, it’s too loud for just about all tracks in the UK

I love the car ( and I was there on the day ) but I don’t understand these new track toys that are effectively too fast for the road - whilst being too loud for the track!!

Or am I missing something?
Granted, the noise issue is a massive own goal by Lotus. For the money I’d be livid if I had to spend another grand or so on an aftermarket exhaust just so I could track it.

Noise aside, I think the car is brilliant and I’d love one.

hondansx

3,517 posts

171 months

Saturday 14th April 2018
quotequote all
C1RVY said:
It’s not though is it, it’s too loud for just about all tracks in the UK

I love the car ( and I was there on the day ) but I don’t understand these new track toys that are effectively too fast for the road - whilst being too loud for the track!!

Or am I missing something?
Yes, you are.

Even for a site like Pistonheads, the majority of members haven't and won't ever do a track day - despite being into cars.

And so, people would rather feel like they are driving a sporty car in a sporty manner. The knowledge of being in and owning a capable track car is satisfaction enough. You can't blame Lotus here; it's Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and others that have led the pack and Lotus have simply followed to what they believe buyers now want these days.

A loud (and hopefully sonorous) exhaust note is what turns heads, enhances the experience and induces a grin. Whatever your individual thoughts, the amount of YouTube and Instagram car videos focused purely on noise show how important it is to sell the appeal of a sports or supercar.

Anyway, your dismay is misdirected. It's the people who live around tracks who are the problem.

Benja_Exige

175 posts

204 months

Sunday 15th April 2018
quotequote all
Great article Matt! In the very short time you spent with us you managed to discern exactly what it's all about; a shared passion that has fostered genuine friendship, community and camaraderie.

Perhaps because of the motorsport roots of the original Exige, exiges.com has always been a forum where trackdays/motorsport have been in the foreground. If you've ever driven an Exige S1, you'd too conclude that it would be illogical to put up with such a compromised on-road ying, without sampling the on-track optimised yang. Trouble is, the yang becomes addictive and the tolerance for ever-increasing levels of ying-compromise sets in. Exiges.com has been the place to share that journey, egged-on by a knowledgable and enthusiastic community.

I'd really hope that it's not true that the majority of new Exiges sold never see a circuit, but acknowledge that it's almost certainly true. As such, the bias needle moves towards on-road where the aural characteristics are a vital part of the experience for most Sportscar buyers. For me an Exige Cup 430 deserves to see a circuit, you simply cannot fully understand its capabilities on the road. Yes, it's a shame to have to invest further to quieten down a trackcar for track-use, but owners communities help find the most cost-effective way or find events where it's less of an issue. Put it this way, there's more than one reason exiges.com have ended up at Anglesey for x10 years on the trot..

Anyways, thanks for coming Matt it was great to have you along!

Leggy

863 posts

168 months

Sunday 15th April 2018
quotequote all
Trying to sign up to join exiges site but the capture bit isn’t working.........

Benja_Exige

175 posts

204 months

Sunday 15th April 2018
quotequote all
Leggy said:
Trying to sign up to join exiges site but the capture bit isn’t working.........
Send an email to :

exigesdotcom@gmail.com

In the E-mail state your username and that you want your account approving.

Any probs post here and I'll keep an eye out...


Leggy

863 posts

168 months

Sunday 15th April 2018
quotequote all
Benja_Exige said:
Send an email to :

exigesdotcom@gmail.com

In the E-mail state your username and that you want your account approving.

Any probs post here and I'll keep an eye out...
Done thanks

SpudLink

2,619 posts

138 months

Sunday 15th April 2018
quotequote all
I agree that the real problem is people who move next to a race circuit, and then complain about the noise.

The market for modern sports cars does seem to demand something that ‘sounds right’. Making the Exige compliant with UK trackday noise regulations would probably loose more sales than it gains. However, Lotus really should offer a quieter option, rather than having to look for an aftermarket solution.

By the way, I see Bookatrack are running an ‘unsilenced’ day at Donington in June. A chance to get the car out on track without falling foul of the regs.