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.”

Pride and Provenance

Pride and Provenance

Pride and Provenance

Autumnal afternoons for many a Lotus owner consist of short but memorable end of season drives before the salt tarnishes the roads or the beginning of a winter job list to help see us through the coming months, but for one lucky member there was something very special about this October afternoon. 

Jason Hart has been an LDC member for some time now and has recently celebrated his 50th birthday. We met up with Jason along the banks of the River Wye, along with his partner Niki, to share in the presentation of his very own bespoke Certificate of Provenance for his cherished 1982 Lotus Esprit Turbo. The CoP was presented, unbeknown to Jason, in a cardboard box much like any normal box apart from one thing, the official Lotus tape which encompassed it. 

The noticeable goosebumps were quickly followed by a sense of urgency to ensure that no dirt or oil was present, having prior removed the engine from his Elan +2 restoration, Patsy. Armed with gloves and excitement Jason opened the plush presentation box and immediately delved into the certificate and build specification letter, put together by Lotus Archivist, Andy Graham. The information immediately revealed some intriguing facts about the build spec of the car and confirmation that his dry sump Esprit is build number 47 of 135, and is number 5 of 15 which was finished in Monaco White. We put some questions to Jason:

Q: Is it easy to find the information needed to order a CoP, if it was for a gift? 

Yes, Niki interjected, it’s all on the Lotus website & available through all Lotus retailers. You just need to be sneaky and get the VIN number from the log book.

Q: Is this one of the best gifts for a Lotus owner?

If you are a Lotus owner then the chances are you don’t swim with the current and as an individual it’s nice to know how individual your car is or might be. The presentation box is striking in its classic green and yellow livery and finished on the back with a Union Jack and Made in Britain. They haven’t tried to add lightness here, it really has a luxurious feel to it.

Q: What do you get inside the box?

Upon opening the box, I was immediately presented with a black awards ceremony type envelope which contained the certificate, build spec letter and a personalised letter signed by Phil Popham. The certificate includes the VIN number, engine number, date signed from production, model variant, body colour, trim level, options, original dealer and country, special mention, issued to date and archivist details. 

There was an additional letter from Andy Graham explaining the VIN number and an expansion of the information on the certificate. The premium paper has a quality feel and weight to it that my previous certificate did not. Beneath the envelope are the goodies; a leather key ring in green Lotus livery, a stylish ballpoint pen, aluminium plaque engraved with my name and the Esprit’s details, magnetic and pin badges and my personal favourite, a carbon fibre bookmark which features the brand’s nine most significant motorsport laurels and is going to be a favourite amongst Chicane readers.

Q: Are you going to use anything or display it on the wall?

At first, I was tempted to keep it all together in the box but that’s like garaging the car and not driving it, it’s all going to be used. The magnetic badges are currently pride of place on the fridge, the certificate will be mounted along with the aluminium engraved plaque. The key ring is already on the Esprit keys and the pen in the car. I can never find one when I want one in the car so this one’s staying put.

Q: What’s the first book that will be graced by the carbon fibre bookmark?

Well it will have to be light reading as it’s carbon fibre! The Jim Clark story.

Q: Have you learnt anything new about the Esprit that you didn’t already know? 

I had some info that came with the car but to find out information on the extras which were on the order sheet has allowed me to fill in some of the missing gaps. Especially the bit about the foot board for the amplifier in the passenger footwell. This meant I could piece together when and who fitted the roof stereo.

Q: Would you consider getting one for each of your Lotus cars?

I’m very tempted to get one for the Elise as it’s a very early 111r. The Elan +2 however, being a 1968 car, Andy tells me that very little info exists due to a fire at some point.

This is really something special to own. It would be the finishing touch if you could option the box like you can the car? Black and gold JPS or Gold Leaf colours perhaps and a wax seal on the envelope.

Lotus Engineering launches new battery test facilities to support booming electric vehicle (EV) sector

Lotus Engineering launches new battery test facilities to support booming electric vehicle (EV) sector

Lotus Engineering launches new battery test facilities to support booming electric vehicle (EV) sector

Lotus Engineering is launching a pilot containerised battery testing facility to assess energy storage solutions for the booming EV sector.

It will allow Lotus Engineering to carry out various battery cell, module and pack characterisation tests, performance evaluations, and component and lifetime testing under controlled conditions. Early feasibility study support and validation of mature designs for implementation into new vehicles will also be available.

The project has been named BattCon, an abbreviation of Battery Containerised Test Facility. The ‘containers’ are individual walk-in laboratories and will be in operation at Lotus HQ in Hethel, Norfolk, as well as the new Lotus Advanced Technology Centre in Wellesbourne, West Midlands. Each is the size of a standard 40ft shipping container and so can easily be packed up and transported as a mobile testing unit, available to Lotus Engineering customers wherever they are. Lotus has three operational units as part of the pilot scheme.

For clients, Lotus Engineering will offer an EV safety-compliant workshop facility with specialist staff experienced in testing batteries. Companies new to the EV field, and those who would otherwise need to invest in additional test facilities, will have access to a fast, efficient and cost-effective solution to develop new technologies and speed up their route to market. For Lotus itself, the new technology will support ambitious plans to launch a new range of performance vehicles.

Lotus Engineering has a wealth of experience in the design and engineering of EVs and other alternative propulsion powertrains dating back two decades. While many of the programmes remain confidential, the consultancy’s work on the Tesla Roadster (2008-12) is the best-known example.

Matt Windle, Executive Director, Engineering, Lotus, commented: “As the race intensifies for automotive and other sectors to develop new and novel battery technologies, there will be increased demand for suitable testing facilities. Project BattCon begins to address this problem by evaluating how Lotus Engineering can meet the battery testing opportunities for the UK supply chain and OEMs.”

Services available include capacity determination, resistance mapping, current and power mapping, open circuit voltage determination and heat capacity. Lifetime testing is comprised of low-voltage cycling, high-voltage cycling, self-discharge determination, storage ageing, cycle ageing, drive cycle ageing and orientation. One of the three Lotus containers features an ambient chamber, the temperature of which can be raised or lowered to replicate climatic extremes around the world.

The pilot project will conclude in spring 2021 and is co-funded by the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC); Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation; the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). Upon completion, the project will be evaluated and a decision taken about its future.

Lotus Engineering is the consultancy division of Lotus and provides a comprehensive range of technical services to many of the world’s best-known automotive manufacturers and suppliers. In 2020 it is celebrating 40 years since it was formally incorporated.

Lotus partners with the UK’s most creative photographers to celebrate MUSE Global Design award for Evija

Lotus partners with the UK’s most creative photographers to celebrate MUSE Global Design award for Evija

Lotus partners with the UK’s most creative photographers to celebrate MUSE Global Design award for Evija

Lotus is celebrating the all-electric Evija hypercar’s latest award win with a gallery of new images taken during a unique and inspiring collaboration with some of the UK’s most creative photographic talent.

The celebrations mark the results of the prestigious 2020 MUSE Global Design Awards, where the Lotus Evija took overall victory in the Automotive Transportation category.

The eight exclusive photoshoots took place in and around Duke of London, a former 1930s soap factory in West London transformed into a stunning motoring venue and tribute to all things automotive. Lotus invited each photographer to attend for one-on-one private access to the Evija, allowing them to choose how and where to shoot the hypercar – in their own style – in any location around the site. The results are now available at their respective Instagram feeds.

Those invited to attend were:

Alex Carmichael commented: “A huge thanks to Lotus for giving me the opportunity to spend time with the Evija. It’s not every day you get the chance to photograph the next generation of electric hypercars. I hope my photos do the car justice, and I’m looking forward to the next steps in its development before seeing them on the streets.”

Russell Carr, Director of Design, Lotus, was hugely impressed with the unique and creative ways in which the photographers shot the car. “When you have spent thousands of hours looking something from every angle – as I have with the Evija – it’s fascinating to see how talented and creative people choose to photograph it when they’re seeing it for the first time. There is some amazing work in this collection and the design of the car really shines through.”

Russell and the Lotus design team have been honoured at the prestigious 2020 MUSE Design Awards, where the Evija was voted number one in the Automotive Transportation Design category. The international competition is judged by a grand jury of 56 design professionals representing 22 countries.

The Lotus Evija marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of an iconic and much-loved British sports car brand. Satisfying a brief to be the most powerful and dynamically accomplished road car in the history of the company, the Evija represents a thrilling new high water mark for Lotus driving performance.

LDC Calendar 2021

LDC Calendar 2021

LDC Calendar 2021

Taking pride of place on the cover of the 2021 Lotus Drivers Club calendar is a photo of the breathtakingly beautiful Evija taken by Matthew Hardwick – SFJMedia.

The A4 calendar includes provisional dates of national club events and area meetings. We hope you’ll enjoy having the calendar and selected photos on your wall.

The Lotus Drivers Club Calendar for 2021 costs £5.00 including UK delivery. Postage to EU countries will cost an extra £2.75.

Lotus Drivers Club members receive a complimentary calendar as part of your membership. 

Orders yours now or join the Lotus Drivers Club