Top Gear Festival – 8+9 March 2014

March 24, 2014 10:43 pm

The insanely popular Top Gear circus rolled into Sydney town for its second annual two-day festival of petrol head nirvana at Sydney Motorsport Park.

We were part of the Club Lotus of Australia display, showing the blue Exige 240 Cup amongst a sea of Lotus covering almost all models from the 1960s to the current Exige S brought along by the Sydney dealer, SSC Lotus.

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Arriving early before the general public gates opened meant we were free to browse the club displays in golden morning sunlight and without the distraction of crowds. Near to us were the HSV club and Porsche club, showing models from all generations, with the Cobra club just up the hill.

This Bimmer 2002 was clean as:

The current popularity of early model 911s was evident in the number of them on display and the attention they seemed to garner from a wide cross-section of attendees.

It wasn’t just 911s in the Porsche line-up:

From the club section we perused some trade displays behind the grandstand, including the the NSW Highway Patrol who were displaying an original Mini Cooper S complete with blue and white livery.

It was nearing 9am, when the on-track action was scheduled to start, so after securing complimentary grandstand upgrade tickets from the friendly entry staff we nestled into some seats and awaited the first squeal of distressed tyres.

The track schedule was jam-packed and varied in content, starting with a “hot lap” by the white-helmeted wonder in the new Lotus Exige S Roadster. This was followed by some clinically insane motocross riders jumping several stories in the air and executing perfect flips, while their counterparts performed wheelies, burnouts and general two-wheeled tomfoolery to the delight of the crowd.

Next were a series of races, with an E63 V8 Supercar taking on a SLS AMG GT3 race car in a short track battle and paired drifting displays of various Japanese turbo coupes, who managed to fish-tail the entire length of the straight at very high speeds.

After a couple of hours in the stands, we decided to head to the pit area to check out the scene over there. There was an impressive trade display covering all manner of automotive equipment and technology:

This replica HDT Brock special was pretty cool:

Deus ex Machina had a display of some of their unique machinery, including this race-prepped Corvette, complete with vintage US number plate:

The Super d’elegance display showcased a mixture of exotica, with the pick being the yellow Pagani Zonda Roadster and this white Audi R8 V10:

Equally impressive was Queen Street Customs’ black Koenigsegg CCX:

On the skid pan, instructors were offering joyrides in a bunch of Toyota 86s and a Holden SS ute, while on the Subaru figure-8 the new WRX was being put through its paces with four passengers on board!

Heading back to the pits, we were able to stick our head into the garages and watch the prep of the Porsche GT3 Cup racers, whose first races of the season were due to take place throughout the weekend. We also spied Daniel Riccardo’s F1 car getting set to head out and try to break Mark Webber’s lap record from 2013.

We decided to return to the grandstand for a better vantage point for the remaining track action, and arrived just in time to watch Riccardo’s lap record attempt. After only a few laps, he had managed to beat Webber’s PB with a time of 1:11.2330.

This was followed by a race of the GT3 Cup cars, which was a tight tussle right throughout. It was fascinating to see the different braking points and lines, including an overtaking manoeuvre under brakes into turn one! 

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During the scheduled track closure over lunch, we cruised back to the CLA display and talked all things Lotus with many members of the public who were pouring over the display. Of particular interest was an immaculate red Elan R26R, which is used in historic racing despite being in far too perfect condition!

This rare TVR Tuscan drew many admiring looks:

The track action started back up again around 2pm, with a few hot laps by members of the Supercar d’elegance display and the E63 V8 Supercar chasing down an original rally-prepped ’90s Toyota Corolla driven by Neal Bates.

This was followed by a series of drag runs on the main straight, in the reverse direction. The top-fuel drag car was “blink and you’ll miss it” quick and deafeningly loud but the highlight was Victor Bray in his 1963 Corvette drag car, performing a burnout the entire length of the straight and apparently claiming the Guiness World Record for longest continuous burnout.

Some highlights from the paddock, included this clean R34 GT-R:

This Cobra was menacing from the front:

A neat and tidy WRX, with minimal but tasty track-focused mods – tune, coilovers, sway bars, half-cage and upgraded wheels + tyres:

All in all, it was an entertaining day with many interesting cars on display and exciting events on the track. The sheer variance in automotive content and cultures was great to witness and it was great to be apart of the Club Lotus of Australia display, as the best and most complete group!

For the full album, please visit our Flickr page

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