Starring: Lotus Exige 410
By Davide Best
The new manufacturing facility where Lotus will build the Evija all-electric hypercar is being readied for final prototype production. Series production and first customer deliveries of the all-electric two-seater will begin in the summer.
The hall is situated at the brand’s historic home of Hethel, in Norfolk, UK. It has been built trackside, next to Lotus’ storied 2.2-mile circuit which has hosted testing and shake-down sessions with many Formula 1 legends such as Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jim Clark and others.
The result is a versatile and inspiring workspace that will see Lotus hand-build up to 130 examples of the Evija. The first year’s production allocation is already designated to customers around the world.
Work on the new Evija factory began in summer 2019. The interior has been fitted on three sides with gantries which frame the build stations. These have been designed and engineered to be sleek and unobtrusive, though robust enough to carry the necessary power, data and compressed air systems required to assemble the Evija.
An overhead gantry crane, multiple vehicle lifts and a wheel alignment ramp have also been installed. The interior is illuminated by more than 30,000 of the latest high-density, low-energy LEDs. A state-of-the-art light tunnel will house the rigorous final inspection, before each Evija is driven out directly on to the famous Hethel test track for dynamic validation.
Highly collaborative in nature, the project has involved the co-ordination of 20 specialist contractors with more than 50 experts on site over the last six months.
Lotus has hosted the Southern Hemisphere’s best track day, and biggest celebration of the Lotus brand, at Australia’s Mount Panorama
The iconic motorsport venue, home to the Bathurst 12 Hour race, is steeped in competition history and etched into the psyche of car fans the world over.
Australia was the sixth largest market globally for Lotus in 2019 and to mark that success the company has produced a highly exclusive limited edition – the Lotus Elise Cup 250 Bathurst Edition. Paying homage to the circuit and Lotus’ pedigree in motorsport on the continent, the limited-run, Australia-only cars enjoy a host of eye-catching upgrades. These include black forged alloy wheels, a special numbered build-plate and bespoke ‘Bathurst Cup 250’ decals.
With more than 45,000 fans attending the Bathurst 12 Hour race weekend, Lotus took its place trackside for the three-day event. There it offered a unique opportunity to more than 150 enthusiastic Lotus owners, who witnessed some of the world’s finest drivers tackle the challenging Mount Panorama circuit.
Many then drove it in their own Lotus cars, taking advantage of an on-site mentoring programme that allowed them to get the most out of the experience. They were also able to sign up for hot laps with professional Lotus drivers.
Some of the world’s most illustrious and recognised racing names have claimed victory in Australia for Lotus. These include Jim Clark’s dominance in the Tasman Series during the late 1960s, through to 2013 where Kimi Raikkonen claimed Formula One success at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, Melbourne.