New racing car will be driven by Chinese drivers mentored by Lotus' parent firm Geely.
Decked out in a livery combining the Union Flag and Chinese flag, the little sports car is based on the same lightweight aluminium chassis as the road car, but adds to the mix with tweaks that improve aerodynamics and cooling. For example, the front end has much the same layout as the Evora GT430 road car, but Lotus has modified it slightly to allow for the essential cooling ducts.
Further back, the Norfolk-based company has fitted louvres beside the wheels to reduce the air pressure building up in the arches, while the tail has been bestowed with a composite four-vane diffuser and an adjustable carbon-fibre rear wing. And inside, there’s an eight-point T45 roll cage, a six-point FIA HANS-approved harnesses and HANS-compliant seat, as well as an electrical kill switch and fire extinguisher. Even the instruments have been modified to include a six-inch TFT colour screen, which includes data logging and critical issue alerts.
Gavan Kershaw, Lotus’ head of vehicle engineering, said: “Every Lotus is famed for its performance in ride and handling on challenging roads, surfaces and through tight corners. This performance is borne from years of motorsport experience and testing at our HQ test track in Hethel. All of which delivers confidence, response and feel to the driver. With this knowledge and the underpinning of a stiff chassis, low centre of gravity, double wishbone suspension and all the traits expected of a Lotus race car, this Lotus race car will give the driver a competitive edge right from the start.”
Driving the car for Lotus’ factory team - and hoping to capitalise on that competitive edge - will be two Chinese drivers: Cui Yue and Gaoxiang Fan. Both are graduates of Lotus’ parent company Geely’s apprenticeship scheme, and have already enjoyed considerable success in China. Gaoxiang, 25, was the China Touring Car Champion for 2017, while 29-year-old Cui won the China Touring Car Championship in 2014, and has competed in the China Formula Grand Prix and China GT series, as well as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2018.
Although the team will spend some of its time at Lotus’ Hethel HQ, the two drivers will demonstrate the car’s capabilities through the new Lotus Driving Academy in China. There, the team and members of the public will get to experience the car through driving days, driver training sessions and hot lap experiences.
Phil Popham, the CEO of Lotus Cars said: “Lotus as a brand was born from the thrill of competition, and the Evora GT4 Concept will continue that legacy while opening up a new chapter in our racing experience. All of our cars retain motorsport within their DNA, and almost every road car in the company’s history has raced successfully at some point. It’s the philosophy that Colin Chapman founded Lotus on, and that we proudly continue to this day.”