Just over two weeks ago a great opportunity arose for the 2010 Lotus Cup Europe driver of the season, Greg Rasse to take part in the Vallelunga 6 hour endurance race in a top class 2 Eleven GT4 being run by Scuderia Giudici / Lotus Sport Italy.

Unfortunately Greg had other commitments so the drive was offered to brother John who was runner up in the overall driver of the season selections. John gladly took up the offer, managed to get the last seat on a flight from his home country of Belgium and headed to Italy for what was arguably the best race experience of his life so far.

John normally races an Exige Cup in Cup Europe and never shown much interest in racing a 2 Eleven so this would be a real test for him as well as an eye opener.

Alongside the 2 Eleven GT4 Lotus Sport Italy had fielded a strong team in this year's race entering two Evora Cup GT4s, featuring the new 2011 production Xtrac gearbox installation.

Evora car 21, driven by Gianni Giudici and Johnny Mowlem, stormed to a class win in the FIA GT4 class, also taking 10th overall in the GT Gold Cup and demonstrating both performance and reliability in a challenging race. Evora car 38′ driven by James Rossiter and Ollie Hancock could not capitalize on their excellent twelfth overall qualifying position, retiring mid way through the race as a result of accident damage and denying the team a likely top 10 finish.

Gianni Giudici quote "The car felt very strong and the Xtrac gearbox was perfect, the wet conditions made it an interesting race, I'm very happy – grazie".

John Rasse was joined by European GT4 Supersport regular Marco Fumagalli and fellow Italian Andrea Perlini in the European GT4 Supersport championship winning Lotus 2 Eleven GT4.

The wet conditions were extremely challenging for the only open topped car in the field of 54 cars entered for the race. Despite qualifying 42nd for Sunday's race, each of the three drivers' drove a superb two hour stint consistently putting in impressive lap times, which yielded a fantastic class win and a climb up the leader board to 24th overall.

Commenting on his two hours behind the wheel John stated, "There was so much traffic out there, it was incredible and the two hour stint was physically demanding, especially on the neck muscles – but really really enjoyable."

John's only problem on race day was how to get his race helmet, winner's trophy and race bag back onto his Ryan Air flight home!

Feedback from Lotus has been very positive both on John who Lotus thought "very professional, fitted in well with his adopted team and had a great race" and with regards to making more connections between the Lotus Cup series and championships throughout the World and the top class Motorsport that Lotus are now moving into in a serious way.

Lotus are taking all the Cup series as a major part of it's motorsport strategy as it's the link between the track day community and 'professional' motorsport and they really hope that in future years people flow through this pipeline – giving the top drivers in the CUPs a taste of the next level gets people thinking and talking – they can only fund motorsport by selling cars so if drivers stay with Lotus and keep buying cars, both road and race, then we have a solid formula for the future.

Report from LoT-RDC