Heikki Kovalainen visits Lotus


F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen visits the home of Lotus Cars to meet the Lotus family and choose the scheme for his personalised Lotus Evora.

It was a real thrill for the Lotus workforce to see Lotus F1 Racing Driver Heikki as he was given a personal tour of the production facilities yesterday, and even more exciting for those few employees who got a rare chance to be driven by the F1 star as he tested the Lotus Evora on Lotus’ own test track for the first time.

During his day with Lotus Cars Heikki was given a special tour of the Classic Team Lotus workshops by Clive Chapman, son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman during which he chatted to Clive and Engineer Bob Dance about their first hand experience of some of the most successful and iconic F1 racing cars of all time. The tour was steeped in Lotus history and included some of the F1 cars that helped Lotus to achieve 79 GP wins, seven constructor’s titles and 6 drivers’ championships, including Emerson Fittipaldi’s Type 72.

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, “Group Lotus is very proud of its racing pedigree and we are all very excited to share our story with Heikki. It was our honour to welcome Heikki to Group Lotus and we wish him and the Lotus F1 Racing team every success for the 2010 F1 season.”

Dany Bahar continued, “We take great pride in the sports cars that we produce at Hethel and Heikki’s visit provided a great opportunity to show off the multi-award winning cars that we produce and the advanced niche production facilities at Hethel.”

Heikki was not on Lotus soil long before he was behind the wheel of the Lotus Evora trying it on for size on Lotus’ own test track and commented “The Evora was everything I expected, Lotus is famous for fantastic sports cars and the Evora did not disappoint. The power to weight ratio gives the car a real racecar feel and allowed me to really push the car round the track. I enjoyed every lap and had fun sliding it sideways!”

He went on to say, “The day has been great, I was really excited to see so many happy, motivated people and the support of the Lotus workforce is very much appreciated, I really got a sense of the passion the people have for the Lotus brand.”

Heikki concluded, “I’d really like to thank every one at Lotus for a great day, it was an honour to meet Clive Chapman and learn more abut his legendary father and to see Lotus’ classic F1 cars. I’m really keen to drive one of the JPS cars and maybe will be at Lotus again sometime soon to drive the Type 72!”

Andreas Prillmann appointed as Chief Commercial Officer of Lotus Cars

Lotus continues to expand and strengthen its Senior Management team with a further appointment to announce Andreas Prillmann as Chief Commercial Officer responsible for Sales, Marketing and After-sales functions.

Andreas Prillmann

Andreas comes to Lotus from Ferrari where he held the position of Director of Business Development, a role that involved the reorganisation of the worldwide business model and dealer development.

Prior to Ferrari, Andreas enjoyed roles at Aston Martin, Porsche and General Motors. Specialising in the management of sales, after-sales, the dealer network, marketing and PR activities for both brands and products, he brings to Lotus a wealth of skill and experience.

Dany Bahar remarked on Andreas’ appointment, “Lotus extends a very warm welcome to Andreas, we are very fortunate to benefit from his tremendous industry experience. Andreas’ instinctive understanding of where we look to take the Lotus brand is very much aligned with my vision, and having worked with him in the past, I know the teams under his leadership can look forward with optimism and confidence.“

Commenting on this new role at Lotus, Andreas said, “It took me just ten minutes to accept the offer from Dany Bahar for the role of Chief Commercial Officer at Lotus. It was an easy decision to make as I see Lotus as a brand with so much potential and I am delighted to join this iconic company at such an exciting time and look forward to instigating the new strategic plans and initiatives that will take the Lotus brand to the next level.

[From Lotus]

GGLC 2010 autocross season

Its time to start thinking about the 2010 autocross season! The Golden Gate Lotus Club will be hosting 7 events this year along with 2 schools. The dates are as follows (October TBD):

Saturday, April 10
Saturday, May 1 (Evo AutoX School)
Sunday, May 2 (Evo AutoX School)
Saturday, May 15
Saturday, June 5
Saturday, June 26 (Evo AutoX School)
Sunday, June 27 (Evo AutoX School)
Saturday, July 31
Sunday, Aug 8
Sunday, Sept 19

At least 5 of these dates will be points events for club members, April 10th will be a practice event. Note, a couple of these dates are Sundays.

We are going to change the classing and points system this year to give more drivers an opportunity to win. The idea is to have all drivers compete in one competition with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, and to use a pax-style system to account for car differences and modifications. More info will follow when the details have been decided.

The Evolution autox schools will be held jointly with the BMWCCA club. Phase 1 will be on the first day of the weekend and phase 2 will be on the second day. You must have completed phase 1 before you can take phase 2, so for most drivers (unless you have done phase 1 sometime previously) the option will be to sign up for either the first day or both days. The price will be $275 for a single day or $500 for both days. Registration is due to open on the evo site on Feb 1st. See the Evo School web site for more info. Note, sign-up for these schools will be restricted to just members of either the GGLC or the BMWCCA clubs.

Colm & Alex
GGLC Autocross Event Chairs

Lotus Omnivore Engine interactive animation

Picture 1

While we have posted about the Lotus Omnivore engine before, all the existing information on it has been from dry technical press releases. Lotus Engineering has just released a new interactive animation that allows you to play with the various parameters of the engine and see how it alters itself to deal with various fuel mixes, loads, speeds, etc… My personal favorite is the Variable Combustion Ratio (VCR) that physically alters the volume of the combustion chamber.

Click here to play with the animation.

GGLC Sunnyvale Lunch

Its time for another GGLC Sunnyvale lunch. This time we will be meeting at 11:30 am for Persian food at Chelokababi. Its a small restaurant in the Camino Wolf Center strip mall and has a small parking lot which should be pretty empty at that time. The lunch is open to all Lotus enthusiasts and you do NOT have to be a GGLC member to join us.

Please RSVP on this blog post or on the official British Speed thread (only one of the two please) by the 29th so I can make the necessary reservations.

When: 11:30 am on Feb 4, 2009 (Thursday)
Chelokababi Restaurant
1236 S Wolfe Rd
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(408) 737-1222

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Powersliding a Seven

As the proud owner of a Seven clone I have been keeping an eye out for Seven related videos and this one is perfect advertisement for the car. Track4Fun, who are track day organizers and the official Caterham importers for Italy posted this wonderful in-car video of some Caterham owners powersliding their cars around a European racetrack. Hit play to see just how much fun it is to drift a Caterham R500 on a cold winter morning. The second video shows what occasionally happens when you get a little too ambitious with the throttle

[via Axis of Oversteer]

GGLC Laguna Seca Open Track Day, March 23, Reg is Open

Traffic jam at the Corkscrew

Registration for the Golden Gate Lotus Club’s first track day of the year at Laguna Seca is now open. This event will be Tuesday, March 23. We will have only two run groups to maximize your track time, those groups will be Intermediate and Advanced – run every 30 minutes. There will be **NO** Novice Group. Cost is $270 for non-members and $250 for members. Both groups are limited to only 30 cars each (Laguna rule, not ours), and as usual at this venue, sound is an issue. So, start working on your exhaust system now and sign-up early.

Click here to register for the event. See you at Laguna Seca.

Brought to you by your Golden Gate Lotus Club Track Day junkies, John & Scott

New executive at Lotus Cars

Press release from Lotus:

A new decade begins with considerable changes at Group Lotus and CEO Dany Bahar is strengthening his executive team in order to take the Lotus brand to the next phase of its evolution and realise his ambitious plans for 2010 and beyond.

Paul Newsome

Lotus is pleased to announce Paul Newsome’s appointment to Director of Product Engineering for Lotus Cars. Currently Managing Director of Lotus Engineering, Paul becomes Director of Product Engineering, responsible for the engineering behind all future Lotus cars and for ensuring that they drive and perform in the way that only a Lotus can.

On taking up the challenge of Director of Product Engineering, Paul Newsome said, “Lotus has, through its launch of the all new multi-award winning Lotus Evora, again demonstrated the capability of its engineering. I look forward to building on this tremendous success with the team and delivering the exciting next generation of products we have planned. These will continue to demonstrate Lotus’ world leading attributes of performance and dynamics through light weight and take the Lotus brand into more segments of the sports car market.”

Dany Bahar commented, “This year will see some very exciting developments to the Lotus product line-up and I have set the Lotus workforce quite a challenge! The success of the changes that I and my executive team look to make relies upon their support and I thank them for their dedication and commitment in joining us on this journey.

“The executive team I am building around me represent some of the industry’s most innovative and passionate professionals and I look forward to working with Paul and the rest of the team to make Lotus the brand it has the potential to be.”

New appointment and contracts at Lotus Engineering

Press release from Lotus Engineering

Lotus Engineering starts the New Year strongly, announcing significant new contracts and welcoming a new Director of Lotus Engineering.
Robert Hentschel

Major new projects with three Chinese clients ensure an excellent start to 2010 for Lotus Engineering, the automotive consultancy and technology division of Lotus Cars Limited. These projects result in a fourth consecutive year of growth in new orders for Lotus Engineering’s global third party consultancy work, with a quarter of the financial year still to go.

To continue to build on the success of both the Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars divisions, Lotus has also made changes to the senior management structure. Dr Robert Hentschel joins Lotus as Director of Lotus Engineering. Dr Hentschel’s task will be to lead the expansion of Lotus Engineering’s third party consultancy work and to further develop its position of technology leadership in lightweight architectures, driving dynamics, efficient performance and electrical/electronics. Dr Hentschel will have full responsibility for Lotus Engineering worldwide, reporting to Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus plc. Dr Hentschel brings a wealth of experience from the automotive industry and engineering services sector, most recently from positions at EDAG as Chief Operating Officer for North American operations and previously as Head of the Electrical/Electronics Business Unit.

Paul Newsome, previously Managing Director of Lotus Engineering, takes up a new role as Director of Product Engineering for Lotus Cars to develop an exciting range of new Lotus cars.

Dr Hentschel commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to contribute to the continued success of this outstanding business which boasts talented engineers and an iconic brand. Lotus Engineering has an exceptional heritage with an exciting array of future products, technologies and services that will further enhance its position as a pioneer in the new automotive era. Our key areas of expertise allow us to deliver exciting vehicles and sustainable transport solutions that are exactly aligned to the needs of the global automotive industry.”