quarta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2009

A entrevista!

Com a devida autorização do autor da entrevista, John Tipler e da Club Lotus International, fica aqui a entrevista que o nosso estimado Presidente, Pedro Aroso, concedeu à revista do club por altura do GP Histórico da Boavista, um dos momentos altos do ano para o nosso clube. Esta entrevista está publicada na edição Autumn da Revista Lotus.

Port in a storm
Johnny Tipler meets Pedro Aroso, founder of Lotus Club Portugal. The Portuguese Lotus Club was founded in 1989 by Pedro Aroso, and he invited us to take part in the parade at the 2009 Porto Historic Grand Prix meeting. Pedro's had six classic Lotuses and currently runs a Europa S2 and an Esprit. 'I'm a Lotus fanatic', he laughs. 'When I had five Lotuses, Stirling Moss once told me: "You are not a fanatic, you are a masochist!"

Pedro goes back a long way. He remembers the 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix, staged on Porto's Boavista seaside circuit. 'I was seven years old and I remember perfectly well that they were very noisy/ he smiles, 'I was watching practise and I saw a green car do a big spin and it was Jim Clark, the marshals arrived and put the car back on the track and I was very impressed because I thought they must be very strong when they could just lift it up like that. John Surtees was in pole position with the Lotus 18, Jack Brabham won the race, Bruce McLaren was 2nd and Jim Clark was 3rd in that Lotus with the taped up nosecone, and it was his first ever podium in Formula 1. Since then Lotus has always had that magic for me. A few months later someone gave me a Solido model of a Lotus 18 and I slept with that Lotus under my pillow; I liked it so much it was always in my pocket. Since then I buy every Lotus I find. When I became an adult I started buying Lotuses, and I’ve had an Elan S3 (1967), an Elan +25 (1970), an Elan Sprint (1971), a Europa S2 (1972), a Europa Twin-Cam Special (1974) and an Esprit Turbo (1990). That was my dream car. I saw it in '88 during the Paris salon.'

Until 1989 there was no Lotus Club in Portugal. Then Pedro decided to go to Donington racetrack to the meeting organised by the independent Club Lotus, ‘I wrote to them saying Club Lotus Portugal will be present, though there was only one member which was me, but I arrived there and everybody was very nice to me, and after that I started asking Lotus owners in Portugal to belong to the club,”

The Internet provided the quantum leap, 'I created a website and since then the club has been growing almost every day, and now we have 150 members all over the country. There are more in Porto because the Lotus dealer has always been here.' Having staged the Portuguese Grand Prix in 1958 and 1960 as well as a host of international events in the 1950s, Porto has a big racing tradition so members are upbeat. 'Since the Elise the cars are reliable, so everybody wants to organise meetings,' says Pedro. 'We have a mix of 50/50 classic and new Lotuses. and there is lots of young blood in the club, so I am very proud because it started as a one member club, and today we've had 30 or 40 cars in the parade.'

The club holds five meetings a year; two in Porto, two in Lisbon and one in the centre of the country. 'lt is easy to co-ordinate that with the new cars, but it is always difficult with the classics because people are afraid of breaking down a long way from home. 'Several members have more than one Lotus; in fact almost all of them have one Elan, one Europa, and one Elise: it's like a religion!’ 'We always tie in a race at a kart track because the Elise owners want to test their cars and their skills. lt's prohibitively expensive to hire a circuit so we go to a karting circuit, which is not very dangerous and we have a lot of fun.' Closest to Porto is Viana do Castelo. 'This year we had a track day in Braga and it was a big success with about 50 Lotuses. There were about 170 cars there from other clubs, including several Ferraris and Porsches, but there were more Lotuses than any other marque!'

Members also qualify for cheap car insurance. ‘They gave us a special price of 40 Euros per yean which is very good for classic cars. Pedro is always spreading the gospel. ‘Every time we see a Lotus we try to speak with the owner and ask him to sign up. Club Lotus Portugal has something very peculiar because you don’t have to pay anything to become a member. No subscription, just your name, car model, car plate, and that's enough

At 60,000 Euros - much more than France or Spain because of import taxes in Portugal - a Lotus Elise is not an everyday car, 'The Portuguese Lotus dealer is doing a fine job supporting our club so I have every good reason to believe that sales will go up next year,' says Pedro. 'And that means more members.' It’s great that the marque is so highly cherished in Portugal, and small wonder when their roads are so right for exploiting Lotus handling and performance.

1 comentário:

Fernando Aguiar disse...

Boa meu Caro!
Embora nesta curiosa fase da vida Lusitana possa parecer algo estranho dizê-lo, nada como ter bons contactos!