Lotus Raises The Style Stakes in Monaco

Lotus Originals is the fashion arm of the legendary sports car and racing marque, and the collection is inspired by the British sense of style, heritage, innovation and rebellious spirit that goes into every on-road Lotus design.

Lotus is hailed for its engineering and thirst for competition. It is also known for style. Heroes of reality and fiction, from Jim Clark to James Bond, have outgunned their rivals from behind the wheel of a Lotus, and they looked good doing it. Partner Forza Rossa Holding, official Lotus cars dealer since 2011, recognise this and joins the Lotus family with the opening of the Monte Carlo store which carries the brand new Lotus Originals retail concept.

It’s fitting that this first franchise store be in Monaco, the scene of the first grand prix victory for a Lotus, in 1960 at the hands of Stirling Moss. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, Monaco’s Mayor Georges Marsan and State Minister Michel Roger were joined by Lotus F1 Team’s Gerard Lopez, Eric Boullier and Romain Grosjean, Lotus Sales and Marketing Director Maurizio Parlato and Forza Rossa Holding’s President Ion Bazac at the opening of the store.

Here you will find apparel, accessories, gifts, toys, bikes and collectables that will thrill Lotus fans, and bring others into our Lotus world.

Speaking of which, we took the opportunity in Monaco to launch a special car designed for the next generation of Lotus drivers: a slightly smaller-than-usual Lotus Elan, one of Lotus’ most-beloved classics which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. What’s more, the car is eligible for racing. The Little Big Le Mans which forms part of the Le Mans Classic race weekend, is designed for lucky young drivers aged 6-14, and this Elan is eligible for this events.

Also, 20 years after we helped win gold at Barcelona in 1992 with the revolutionary Lotus Type 108 Superbike, we are showing for the first time, a stunning hand made carbon fibre black and gold bespoke bicycle from our new collaboration with Condor Cycles Ltd.

Lotus Originals can also be found at the company’s Hethel HQ and at Norwich City Football Club’s stadium, and we’re also opening our flagship store in the heart of London in six weeks time: 4,800 sq ft of retail space on Regents Street. It will be, as it is here in Monaco, an iconic location for an iconic brand.

Maurizio Parlato, Director of Sales & Marketing, Group Lotus: “It is our mission to grow the Lotus brand internationally, to become more of a global player, and to do that we need to produce great cars, but we also want Lotus to be a lifestyle brand of its own. Our founder, Colin Chapman, understood this. He was a trendsetter in every way. He also recognised the marketing potential of motorsport better than anyone else at that time, and had an eye for detail that pervaded every aspect of his company’s presentation. Therefore, I believe he would be very excited to see what we’re doing here today – opening this first Lotus Originals franchise.”

Ion Bazac, Forza Rossa Holding President: “It is a big honour and pleasure for us to inaugurate the first Lotus Originals franchise store in such a prestigious and exclusive place like Monte Carlo, famous worldwide for its fabulous Grand Prix. With the new Lotus originals collections and accessories you will find a unique link between the past, the present and the future of the Lotus brand and its very passionate history and heroes. Lotus Originals Monte Carlo is more than a store, it is a place of meeting and dialogue between fans and their favorite brand, so that the legend, the winning heritage and dreams of Colin Chapman be more alive than ever.”

Monaco Grand Prix Preview

It’s tight, it’s bumpy and it’s a major challenge for the drivers and the teams, but the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the world’s greatest sporting events, and Lotus Racing is confident of putting on a very good show at a venue where much of the Lotus history was created. Looking ahead to the weekend’s action are team drivers Jarno Trulli, a Monaco winner in 2004, and Heikki Kovalainen, with Team Manager Graham Watson giving insight into the logistical problems Monaco presents, Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne providing insights from the pitwall, and Team Principal Tony Fernandes discussing his first Monaco race at the head of an F1™ team.

Graham Watson: “The challenge really begins as soon as the Spanish Grand Prix finishes as we have to pack up everything there and then get it all over to Monaco in time to try and finish setting up by Tuesday night. We have some very experienced truckies and mechanics in the team, who know their way around the confines of the Monaco paddock, and that definitely helps us make sure we can meet all our engineering deadlines, and have the cars ready to go out on track on Thursday morning. We may be one of the new teams, and we definitely don’t have as much equipment yet as some of the more established names, but we’re still able to pack in everything we need to cope with any eventuality over the weekend, including a composite and fabrication workshop on site, which hopefully won’t be needed, but with the nature of Monaco in mind, are necessities here.”

Mike Gascoyne: “Monaco is obviously a unique place. I enjoy walking around as you realise what a mad place it is to race cars! Engineering wise it’s a major challenge – it’s very bumpy with lots of slow corners and qualifying is critical as it’s almost impossible to overtake, but I still love it! We should do ok here – we’re good in the slow speed sectors and both our guys are experienced in dealing with the bumps and the traffic, particularly Jarno whose win here was very special, so all in all I’m looking forward to it.”

Jarno Trulli: “It’s something very special in Monaco. Whether you’re driving or just walking around, you can almost breathe in how exciting it is. Every driver in the world wants to win here, and I was lucky enough to do so in ’04, but the whole experience can be tough – it’s important for us to concentrate on the race, and here you’re under so much pressure it can be difficult to get the time to think, and concentrate on the actual race, but that’s how it is, so we deal with it.

“Getting in a good lap is also a challenge, but if you can manage the traffic it’s very satisfying. One of the most important parts of the circuit is through the swimming pool – you change direction at high speed, then brake for the next chicane, which is slow but you still need to get through it quickly. You jump over the kerbs there, not too much or you launch yourself into the wall, but just enough to carry the speed through. That’s why concetration levels are important – get that right every time and you’re ok – if not, you’re out.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “I obviously didn’t get the chance in Barcelona to build on the step forward we took with the updates so I’m looking forward to getting back on track and pushing on. It’s so busy on track in Monaco there’s no time to relax, and there are no run off areas so you pay heavily for any little mistakes, but I really like street circuits as they reward good car control, and I think we’ll be pretty good here from how the car felt in Spain. I’ve managed to get a round of golf in with Tony since we left Barcelona, and it’s probably not fair to say how he got on… but generally it’ll be good to get out on track again and keep up the momentum we’ve had all year.”

Tony Fernandes: “I’ve been coming to Monaco ever since AirAsia first came into the sport as a sponsor, and it’s somewhere I love coming to. It’ll be great being here with Lotus Racing – pretty emotional as Lotus has so much history here. It’ll be a special moment for me and a huge amount of fans to see the green and yellow on track again, so I can’t wait for Thursday and to see the cars out there at what’s almost their third home race!”

[press release from Lotus Racing]