Returning to the United Kingdom earlier this year, our ever-intrepid club president Ashton Roskill took the opportunity to scout out some Lotus adventures in the homeland. Over the next few days, we’re going to share some of his stories here on the website.
Starting with his visit to Hethel, with grateful thanks to Lotus Australia.
By Ashton Roskill
Our visit to Hethel was organised via email with Neil Lovelock. I was looking forward to meeting Neil in person, having a chat and maybe having a glance inside the factory. That would have been a lovely opportunity in and of itself, but when I got there I was treated to so much more!
As it turns out, we were treated to the royal tour, including seeing parts of the factory and facilities not generally open to the public! To cap it all, Russell Gibbons, who runs the Motorsport facility, very kindly allowed me out on the track in an Elise Club Racer; the track has had a small fortune spent on it in recent years, and is now beautifully smooth, allowing for a lot of fun to be had a really quite high speed!
The factory tour was most impressive – gone is the rather haphazard approach to car building which characterised Lotus for so long. In its place, Lotus have built a very professional, clean, smart and productive factory. What was particularly telling was the emphasis put on the QA processes at the end of the production line – every aspect of the car is checked, rechecked, refinished, and checked again. The result is a significantly better fit, feel and finish to the cars.
Speaking of which, we just happened to be there on the day the Geneva Motorshow Evora 400 was back and being photographed by the press; there was also one in black and white disguise being ragged out on the track while I was out there, and which subsequently went off for a “road test”. I hope the local rozzers were having lunch..
Sadly (but very sensibly!) we were not allowed to take photographs of the factory, so here is a shot of us outside the original front facade, and also one with the Motorsport team. Other than that, you will just have to go and pay them a visit yourself to find out what the inside of the factory looks like now!
Thanks to Ashton Roskill. We’d love to hear about your Lotus adventures, so if you have a Lotus story that you would like to share with the club, we’d love to hear from you! Just send a quick email to Seth and say ‘Hi!’