Marking its 70th anniversary, Lotus held a spectacular event to commemorate the significant milestone of founder Colin Chapman’s first Lotus, built in 1948.
The home of Lotus in Hethel hosted 8,000 Lotus owners and enthusiasts from all over the world, as well as 1,600 Lotus cars of all eras. From the Team Lotus F1 race cars to the rally Sunbeam Lotus, Lotus Cortina all the way to the present line-up of Evora, Exige and Elise, there were Lotus road and competition cars of all ages present.
Group Lotus Plc’s CEO Mr. Feng Qingfeng presented the company’s vision to the crowds present and viewers online. As well as leading the anniversary track procession, he also personally revealed two bespoke Lotus Exclusive Evora GT410s, both in heritage livery.Speaking at the event, Group Lotus Plc’s CEO, Mr. Feng Qingfeng said: “Today has been an amazing day of celebration. To have met so many Lotus owners and enthusiasts, and understand their passion for our brand is truly inspiring. We are committed to our home in Norfolk, and there’s no place better to gather and remember what Lotus stands for and what makes it so special as a leading automotive marque. To have so many of our cars return home has really made the day, and I’d like to thank everyone for their help and support, both now and in the future, as we grow and develop the business.”
Lotus’ 70th anniversary in numbers
For the first time ever, fans from all over the world were able to watch online via the live streams on YouTube as well as Facebook Live and other social media channels. With over 8,000 viewers catching all the action on the web, a further 8,000 were there on the sold out day to celebrate Lotus and its 70th anniversary.
The live stream and social channels used #Lotus70 to share top moments throughout the day, and both the YouTube chat and Facebook Live feeds were filled with anecdotes and praise for Lotus during its 70th anniversary event.
Largest gathering of Lotus cars ever seen
The day saw the largest ever collection of Lotus cars assembled. With 1,600 cars arriving to the Hethel site, it was a special way to mark the 70th anniversary.
The British marque invited owners to showcase some of their pride and joys to celebrate. From a heritage Lotus Mark VI to the latest Lotus Evora GT430s, ex-rally Sunbeam Lotus’ and immaculate Lotus Cortinas, there was something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.
Seven decades of Lotus on track
Presenting some of the racing team’s legendary F1 cars, responsible for Lotus’ 13 world championships: including seven constructors and six drivers totalling 81 race victories, Classic Team Lotus wowed the crowds with demonstration runs, allowing enthusiasts to witness the sights and the sounds of the cars in action.
Highlights included the DFV-powered Lotus 49 designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for the 1967 F1 season and the famed 1978 Lotus 79, the first F1 car to take full advantage of ground effect aerodynamics, not to mention the iconic 1966 Lotus 43.
The audience in the grandstands also cheered as they saw Lotus’ professional drivers smoke up the tarmac in an Evora GT410 Sport, an Exige Sport 410 and the Elise Sport 220. With the addition of smoke bombs in Lotus green and yellow, it was a fitting spectacle for the crowds and online viewers.
The Jim Clark Special Edition Evora GT410 Sport
Also on display was the 100,000th Lotus ever built. Previously announced at Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Jim Clark Trust’s Lotus Evora GT410 Sport was showcased during the anniversary event. Created by Lotus Exclusive, the Evora GT410 Sport had been reimagined in the livery of Jim Clark’s famous Lotus Elan. Finished in red and silver, visitors were able to buy tickets to win the car in a special raffle on the day. More details on how to win can be found at www.jimclarklotus.com.
700 cars lap the Hethel track to commemorate 70 years of Lotus
Celebrating 70 years of Lotus, the British marque hosted the largest parade of Lotus sports cars ever seen on the Hethel track. A finishing flourish to a special day, 700 cars and their owners were part of the anniversary parade that will go down in Lotus’ history books.
Poignant for all Lotus owners that took part, the procession included the very latest models as well as the historically important Lotus Mark VII and even a Sunbeam Lotus and a Lotus Carlton. Led by Group Lotus Plc’s CEO Mr. Feng Qingfeng, in a Lotus Eleven driven by Clive Chapman, the car which was once owned by his father, Colin Chapman. The Eleven of Qingfeng/Chapman was followed by an Evora GT430 and a GT410 Sport in hot pursuit.
Lotus Bikes and owners’ clubs
Amidst all the four-wheeled fun, Lotus’ two wheel achievements were recognised with a display from the 110 Lotus Bike Club, showing both the Lotus Engineering 108 and 110 bikes in action.
Lotus owners’ clubs were also on hand with static displays of their own. Showcasing some of the most incredible and sought-after models of Lotus’ past and present line-up, 14 owners clubs and members from all over the world were part of the display.
In addition, a secret concours competition took place with online influencer Sam Fane, otherwise known as Seen Through Glass. Sam, in secret, judged all of the cars on site. A tricky decision, Sam finally awarded a Sunbeam Lotus of Fréquelin/Todt fame as his winner.
Joining the 8,000 attendees on site were a range of Lotus legends – the people that made Lotus what it is today – all with their own stories to tell on the live broadcast feed. Interviewed throughout the day, viewers saw famous Lotus alumni such as Mike Kimberley, Bob Dance, as well as Elisa Artioli, all telling anecdotes and their own Lotus memories. It gave viewers online and attendees on the day a glimpse into Lotus’ past through the eyes of those who created its history.