Lotus Experts to Speak at IMRRC on Aug. 13
Two renowned experts on Lotus with a combined 50-plus years with the British car company and race team will speak at the International Motor Racing Research Center on Aug. 13.
Bob Dance and Richard Parramint will speak at 2 p.m. at the Racing Research Center at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen. Their talk comes during the Englishmen’s summer visit to the United States.
“Lotus Cars and Team Lotus over the Decades,” free and open to all, is sponsored by Lotus of Western New York in Amherst, N.Y., and the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce. The talk is part of the IMRRC’s ongoing Center Conversations series.
The Center staff notes that the starting time of the August talk is later than the usual monthly time to help talk attendees avoid traffic congestion related the Watkins Glen Italian American Festival parade at noon.
Dance had more than 50 years in racing, working with legendary drivers such as Mario Andretti, Jim Clark and Graham Hill. Just under 30 of those years were with Team Lotus. Parramint had almost 20 years at the factory and corporate levels.
“The experiences that Bob and Richard had with Lotus during what many consider to be the ‘golden years’ of racing are going to be the foundation of a talk that our friends have been really looking forward to,” IMRRC Executive Director Tom Weidemann said. “Lotus is imbedded in Watkins Glen’s racing history, and we’re pleased they’re going to be sharing their stories with us.”
Weidemann said Center staff is hoping to have vintage Lotuses on display, side-by-side with the new models being brought by Lotus of Western New York.
Dance has spent the last 50-plus years in motor racing at the highest level. Working with drivers Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Ronnie Peterson, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and, of course, securing the 1978 Formula One World Championship for Mario Andretti. Starting at Lotus in 1960, he moved to March Racing in 1969 and was seconded to STP to work with Andretti. Two years, later Bernie Ecclestone asked him to join Brabham, where he remained until Lotus founder Colin Chapman managed to persuade him to “come home” to Lotus, Dance said.
The following 17 years were spent at Team Lotus, until its demise in 1994. Dance then was asked to join TOM’S Toyota, where he stayed until Clive Chapman, son of Colin, asked him to “return home once again.” Recently turning 81, Dance now works three days a week for Clive, primarily running Jim Clark’s World Championship winning Lotus 25.
A fan of Lotus for the last 53 years, both road cars and Team Lotus, Parramint joined the factory in England in 1968, building Elans, Europas and Elan +2s. After a few years, new challenges called, so he left a Lotus and went into the world of sales. During 2000 Parramint returned to, he said, “help out” the Lotus Driving Academy, resulting in him looking after VIPs and corporate clients, ensuring that they completely understood Lotus DNA.
“A change of CEO in 2014 confirmed it was time for this ‘Lotus Expert’ to move on,” Parramint said.
He now runs a very successful business, Positive Speech, coaching people in public speaking, which has taken him around the globe speaking and training.