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Racing car legends to star at seafront festival

Classic Team Lotus

Historic racing cars that put Norfolk at the front of the Formula 1 grid are heading to Great Yarmouth seafront.

Famous fast and furious machines from the Classic Team Lotus collection are the stars in the town’s Wheels Festival on the weekend of September 3rd and 4th.

Among them is a Type 79 in John Player Special livery, driven in 1978 by Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson to first and second place in the drivers’ championship and securing Lotus’ seventh constructors title.

It took F1 by storm by using “ground effect” through a shaped underside and sliding skirts to increase down force.

Also on display from the team’s Hethel-based collection will be:

• A Camel-liveried Type 99T driven to victory at Monaco and Detroit by Ayrton Senna in the 1987 season. The Monaco triumph was the first for the car’s pioneering “active suspension” system which saw Team Lotus’ ground-breaking technology replace traditional springs and dampers with computer controlled hydraulics.

• A one-off 1965 Type 32B in which Jim Clark won the Tasman championship in Australia, in a stunning year during which the Scot won his second F1 drivers title, and the Indianapolis 500.

They will be among five Classic Team Lotus cars in a marquee at Anchor Plaza on Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile, where there will also be archive film footage of the cars and team.

The team’s events coordinator Sapphire Nichols said: “The cars give an insight into the history of Team Lotus and their accomplishments throughout the years: 74 wins, seven world constructor championships and six world driver championships - all from a small team based in Norfolk. It is something to be very proud of.

The Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival, in its second year, will also feature Lotus sports cars – such as the Esprit, Europa and Elise – owned by members of the East Anglia Lotus Club at Britannia Pier Plaza.

And club member Owen Wright’s Go Go Dragon sculpture painted in tribute to double world champion Jim Clark will also make a reappearance.

Visitors can try their hand at Formula 1 track action and pit crew skills with a F1 driving simulator and wheel changing have-a-go challenge.

Other attractions are: American low-rider and muscle cars; Lotus Carltons and other big Vauxhall Opel makes from the Autobahn Stormers Club; a Ford GT40; Jaguar XK8 and XKR cars; and an Austin truck.

There is also wheels action in the Market Place, with BMX bike jumps, choreographed routines and a mountain bike trail show from the Extreme Wheels Roadshow’s Pro Action Sports team.

And people travelling between the town and seafront display areas can do so in vintage style on board a classic 1959 Spratts coach.

The Wheels Festival is part funded by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business
Improvement District which is using a pot of levy payers money to organise and support events to attract more visitors to the area, to boost the local economy. There is also support from Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Joyland Diner

BID chairman Gareth Brown said: “The Wheels Festival is a chance to see these history-making Lotus cars, which have been driven by some of the world’s F1 legends, as well as a host of other special vehicles that will appeal to everyone from car enthusiasts to families wanting a day out with a difference.”