New series sports car production confirmed for Hethel

New series sports car production confirmed for Hethel

New series sports car production confirmed for Hethel

A new series of sports cars is confirmed, with prototype production of the Lotus Type 131 to commence this year from a world-class manufacturing facility in Hethel, Norfolk.

The new manufacturing investment is part of Lotus’ Vision80 strategy, which will also see the relocation of two Lotus sub-assembly facilities into one efficient central operation in Norwich city to support higher volumes.

To accompany the £100-million-plus investment into Hethel’s facilities, Lotus will be recruiting some 250 new employees. This is in addition to the 670 to have joined Lotus since September 2017, when shareholders Geely and Etika took ownership of the company.

New recruits are required for roles in engineering and manufacturing for both Lotus Cars and the world-renowned engineering consultancy, Lotus Engineering – which opens its Advanced Technology Centre in Warwick later this year.

To acknowledge the forthcoming family of performance cars, Lotus has released an image that hints at the new generation of products that will follow Elise, Exige and Evora, which have entered their final year of production in 2021.  A full programme of activities is planned to celebrate the current range of three sports cars, starting with the elder, the iconic Lotus Elise.

The Lotus Elise was unveiled in 1995, revolutionising the low volume sports car industry with its pioneering use of extruded and bonded aluminium, high-tech composites and lightweight knowhow.

Using the technology pioneered in the Elise, the Exige, launched in 2000, quickly became the epitome of the ‘race car for the road’.  The Exige demonstrated a rare ability to give the driver an involving yet accessible experience on the road, while still managing to lap the most demanding tracks of the world quickly, with the safety and progressiveness expected of a Lotus.

The Evora, unveiled in 2008, returned Lotus to the lucrative super-sports car sector as an award-winning and versatile road car that was more driver-focused than its peers. In motorsport, the Evora was successful too, winning national GT championships around the world and gaining a podium at Le Mans.

Future Lotus cars are taking this learning and further developing it to ensure the preservation of that all-important DNA, with the overriding criteria of being ‘For The Drivers’.

Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars:

“This year will be hugely significant for Lotus with new facilities coming on stream, a new sports car entering production and new levels of efficiency and quality that only a new car design and factory can deliver. Despite the continuing global challenges, Lotus has emerged from 2020 strong and on track in the delivery of our Vision80 business plan.” He added: “As our Vision80 strategy illustrates, Lotus is all about looking forward, and our future is full of continuous innovation. In 2021, however, we will be reflecting on the legacy of our current range, starting with the Elise, a sports car that genuinely revolutionised the automotive industry, not only because it is a legend-in-its-own-lifetime but also for its impact on car design and technology.”

Matt Windle, Lotus’ Executive Director, Engineering:

“Our renowned team of engineers, designers and technicians who are working on the new cars are acutely aware of the legacy from the Elise, Exige and Evora.  Indeed, many were around when Elise was being developed. Members of our team, old and new, are now busy blending the learnings of the past with the innovations of today and tomorrow, to ensure our future cars truly move the game on but remain firmly committed to Lotus values.”

The Elise, Exige and Evora have contributed greatly to the Lotus business over the years, and by the time the last of these models leaves the assembly line, they will have sold a combined circa 55,000 units.

Lotus has created multiple automotive legends over the last 73 years, and with the Evija hypercar and new Type 131 sports car, a new dawn of innovation and legend-making is breaking over Hethel.

Lotus Winter Driving Academy

Lotus Winter Driving Academy

Lotus Winter Driving Academy

You don’t usually associate Lotus with off-roading. But when the driving surface is carved through powdered snow settled on a lake frozen solid, what’s not to enjoy!

Track days are a key activity for the Lotus China team. They’re a great way to raise the profile of our brand to media, customers and potential buyers, showing off the legendary Lotus performance car ride and handling and the lightweight engineering that’s at the heart of our products.

The team took their activities to the next level over the new year period, staging the first ever Lotus Winter Driving Academy. The destination for guests was the frozen beauty of the Hulan Hekou, an 800,000 m2 wetland park at the confluence of two rivers near the city of Harbin. The capital of Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province, temperatures can drop to well below -30 degrees Celsius at this time of year.

Almost 50 people attended, taking the chance to test their driving and improve their skills under the watchful eye of expert instructors and racing drivers. Set up as a one or two-day programme, those taking part started out doing simple circles and figure-of-eights to build their confidence. Thanks to patient tuition from the passenger seat, they eventually progressed to an icy 4km high-speed course to challenge even the most advanced driver.

Their weapon of choice was the Lotus Evora GT410, offering exceptional dynamic performance and a thrilling 0-60mph time of 4.1 seconds. A fleet of cars were on hand to support the activities, and feedback on the event was overwhelmingly positive.

David McIntyre is Regional Director, China and Asia-Pacific for Lotus. He attended the Academy and commented: “Harbin is known as ‘the ice city’ and famous for its snow and ice festival. That made it the perfect location for the Lotus Winter Driving Academy. Guests were able to test the legendary handling of a Lotus in the most extreme conditions we could find – on a frozen lake!

David added: “Driving the Lotus Evora GT410 on ice is a great test of our cars’ reliability and handling, and most of all just really good fun. All our guests came away safer and better drivers, and with a full understanding and new respect for what our cars are capable of. I truly hope this will become an annual event, and that next year we can invite customers from across China, Asia-Pacific, and other regions of the world.”

Alpine and Lotus Announce Technical Collaboration

Alpine and Lotus Announce Technical Collaboration

Alpine and Lotus Announce Technical Collaboration

As part of the Alpine Business Unit development, Groupe Renault and Group Lotus have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to study a number of areas of cooperation, including the joint development of an EV sportscar.

The Alpine and Lotus teams will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study for the joint engineering, design and development of an EV sportscar by leveraging the resources, expertise and facilities of the respective entities in both France and the UK.

Alpine and Lotus will also explore the development of a joint services offer combining their engineering expertise. A collaboration to leverage Alpine’s motorsport platform covering Formula One to Formula E and Endurance is also under study.

Laurent Rossi, CEO Alpine, said:

“The signing of this MoU with Lotus shows the lean and smart approach we’re implementing as part of the new Alpine brand strategy. Both brands have an amazing legacy and we are most excited to start this work together, from engineering tailored solutions to developing a next-generation EV sports car. This collaboration along with our transformation mark the beginning of a new era in which we’ll be taking the Alpine name and line-up to the future. We’re putting F1 at the heart of our business, leveraging our in-house expertise and best-in-class partners such as Lotus to inject our cars with leading-edge performance, technology and motorisation”.

Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, added:

“Today’s announcement is the first step in what is set to be a hugely rewarding collaboration between our iconic brands. We are proud to be working with Groupe Renault in this collaboration – sharing Lotus’ technical expertise and abilities, and leveraging our long track record of successful collaborations. Our companies have much in common – from a pioneering pedigree in light-weighting, to championship-winning sportscars which perform as impressively on the road as they do in the motorsports arena. It is a natural fit in many ways and the co-development of an EV sportscar is hugely exciting for our companies, our fans and customers around the world. The joint-services element of our agreement will additionally make our engineering expertise available to those wishing to engage our innovations.”

Wye Valley Driving Adventure

Wye Valley Driving Adventure

Wye Valley Driving Adventure

Are you looking forward to 2021, we certainly are! We’re pleased to announce that the Lotus Drivers Club will be returning to the idyllic Wye Valley and Forest of Dean for a weekend driving adventure.

Taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend from Saturday 3 – Monday 5 April 2021, the weekend will provide an opportunity for members to discover the area whilst relaxing in the evening at a historic, unmissable hotel. The Club had intended to attend the Coleford Carnival of Transport which takes place on the streets of Coleford in the heart of the beautiful Forest of Dean on Easter Monday but unfortunatly the organisers have had to take the difficult decision to postpone this years show. In its place the Club will be organising an extra day of exploration and driving for members on Easter Monday.

If you haven’t had the good fortune to experience one of the clubs popular Driving Adventures, we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. They provide a driving experience where like-minded enthusiasts can drive their cars through beautiful scenery on some of the best driving roads enjoying great company along the way. Catch up with your new friends every evening in great hotels to dine and talk about your adventures that day and of course your pride and joy.

Limited accommodation has been organised and will be available to members. We can recommend alternative accommodation if needed. To confirm your place and to help us manage numbers please click on the link to confirm your registration for the event. The club charges £5 per person and covers the administration work involved in planning and running the weekend which is undertaken by our willing club volunteers. Once registered you will be contacted by the event organiser to confirm accommodation details and updates prior to the event.

For more information please email driving@lotusdriversclub.org.uk

Event registration is charged per person.

Please be aware that due to current COVID-19 restrictions imposed on hotels and restaurants, places on this tour are limited and, as is Club policy, taken on a first come first served basis. Once places are fulfilled, we will run a reserve list to offer places should they become available and restrictions allow. Please continue to watch our website for updates for this and all our events.

Curborough Introduction to Sprinting

Curborough Introduction to Sprinting

Curborough Introduction to Sprinting

Are you interested in finding the limits of your Lotus on track, or would you like to give it a go for the first time?

The Lotus Drivers Club Introduction to Sprinting event at Curborough Sprint Course has a new date of Thursday 15 April 2021. The day will allow you to develop your driving skills and to push your car as far as you like with no other cars on circuit. The day is split in to two track sessions: 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00.

Starting from as little as £115, the entry fee includes takeaway breakfast, tea/coffee, lunch (vegetarian option available) and includes both track sessions.

This is a brilliant chance for anyone with little or no experience of sprinting or trackdays. The controlled environment will allow you to learn to push yourself and your Lotus as far as you like with no other cars on circuit at the same time to worry about. 

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 guidance, spectators will not be allowed at the circuit and passengers must be from the same household.

For more information please email m.edwards@lotusdriversclub.org.uk

 

  • 08:30 – 10:00 Signing on and Scrutineering
  • 10:00 – 13:00 Track Session 1
  • 13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break
  • 14:00 – 17:00 Track Session 2