Lotus Set to Join the 2018 Australian Production Car Series

Lotus Exige Sport 350 to compete in the Australian Production Car Series 2018

Image thanks to Lotus Cars Australia

Lotus Cars Australia are set to add a new chapter to the Lotus marque’s storied motorsport history – the 2018 Australian Production Car Series.

Lotus Cars Australia will enter the brand new Lotus Exige Sports 350 in the full 2018 Australian Production Car Series. The car will be piloted by Grand Denyer and Tony D’Alberto and managed by local legends Simply Sports Cars. It will contest Class A1 as well as fighting for outright victory. Three other Exige entries are in the works and we hope to see them take to the track as well!

The Australian Production Cars series will be contested across five rounds in 2018, following the Shannons Nationals for four before wrapping up with a headline six-hour race at Phillip Island.

The action will kick off in just a few weeks time with four hour-long races at Sandown. From there the series will move to Queensland Raceway in July, Winton Motor Raceway in August and Sydney Motorsport Park in September before the finale at Phillip Island.

We Lotus drivers will be taking part in the race weekend when the show arrives at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. There, we’ll tick off another bucket list experience thanks to the Lotus Cars Australia and Simply Sports Cars teams, when we act as one of the support categories to the main event in an exclusive Lotus sprint. More details on this to follow!

Read on for the full release from Lotus.

Lotus Joins the 2018 Australian Production Car Series

The Lotus Exige sports car enters APC 2018

The Australian Production Car series for 2018 will welcome Lotus into the fold with a fullseason entry confirmed, three more in the works and plans for approximately 70 Lotus owners to participate with their spots cars as a support category to the APC-run Grand Finale in November.

Starting with round one at Sandown Raceway (May 11-13) the brand new Lotus Exige Sports 350 will race for outright and Class A1 honours in 2018 with accomplished racing car drivers Grant Denyer and Tony D’Alberto.

The Lotus Cars Australia entry will be run and managed by the experienced Australian Lotus dealer, Simply Sports Cars who have a proven race winning history.

Lee Knappett Chief Executive Officer of Lotus Cars Australia said,

“Lotus has always had an involvement in motorsport over its 70 year history, with numerous class and championship victories with some of the best drivers of all time getting behind the wheel.

While we considered various other racing categories we felt the Australian Production Car Series made a strong fit for us. What you’ll see us compete with is essentially what any car enthusiast can purchase with the Lotus Exige for sale in Australia for under $150,000.

We actively encourage a lifestyle of social, rally, track or competitive driving and our cars are probably the most cost effective sporst cars to use vs other marques.

In an age where headlines are dominated with electric cars, self driving vehicles and heavy, technology laden cars we know from our customers they want a more pure driving experience. We want to showcase that and we know we’ll be competitive with relatively low running costs.”

Richard Gibbs Chief Operating Officer said,

“We are really excited by this project. Great momentum from 2017 with 100% growth for the brand, two great drivers, a great category that’s relevant to our cars & it’s all accessible for other people to try via the events we run, we were at Mount Panorama in February for an exclusive track day for example.

While the #10 car starts the series, Simply Sports Cars are building two other cars at the moment with a fourth to join later in the year to be run by other teams. We are regularly getting new owners to the brand once they realise the cost of running some of the other marques on track, a Lotus provides bang for buck, pure driving and great reliability”

Mark O’Conner Simply Sports Cars Dealer Principle said,

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to prepare and run these cars. The series is a really great fit for the Lotus Exige and it allows us to compete with similar-priced cars anyone can buy in the market, we are very excited to see how the season unfolds.

“The APC has a lot to offer brands that have cars costing less than $150K. The relative low costs and endurance race formats offer great value for the drivers/owners whilst also offering a stage for manufacturers to showcase what their cars are capable of in some pretty tough environments against tough competition.

We couldn’t have done it without the combined support of Lotus Cars Australia, Just Cuts, Timken and VM Waste”

A Lotus ‘Race Driver’ Experience

In February nearly 80 Lotus sports car owners enjoyed an exclusive track day at Mount Panorama and we will continue to create unique driving experiences in 2018.

Over 70 Lotus owners are expected to bring their sports cars (mostly road registered with a mix of beginners and experienced drivers) for the weekend to experience what it’s like to be a ‘racing driver’ in an exclusive Lotus only sprint category as part of the support classes running in the final round of the APC-run series in November at Phillip Island.

Mark O’Conner Simply Sports Cars Dealer Principle said,

“It’s not often you can get involved in a major motorsport event and we have created this unique opportunity in partnership with the APC organisers.

It’s one of those bucket list experiences for any true car enthusiast to feel what it’s like to experience a race weekend, but with the support and guidance provided by us.

We will make it an experience they’ll never forget”

Lee Knappett Chief Executive Officer of Lotus Cars Australia said,

“We can’t wait to see 70-odd of our owners at Phillip Island, Lotus is unique in Australia, the community knows everyone by name, its going to be like having a weekend away with your mates.

The Lotus Exige at around 1,100kgs with 350 horsepower packs plenty of performance amd we fully expect there will be some close racing with different tracks suiting certain vehicles more than others. We know though that over the course of the season that will balance out to see us at the pointy end hopefully especially with the relative simplicity of the car and its light weight.

It’s not often you can get involved in a major motorsport event and we have created this unique opportunity in partnership with the APC organisers

Lotus Cars Australia have chosen Simply Sports Cars to run the Lotus Exige based on their extensive experience in endurance racing having successfully competed in the Bathurst 12 Hour race since 2008 with various Lotus sports cars taking out quite a few class wins over the years.”

Richard Gibbs Chief Operating Officer said,

“It’s very much about race on Sunday, sell on Monday for us. We are really grateful to have two experienced and talented drivers like Grant and Tony to join us, a team supporting them that has loads of experience and in a vehicle you’ll see across various events.

We’ve basically added the required safety equipment, a larger fuel cell and some basic race-track required elements like brake pads, tyres etc but you anyone can spec a similar car from one of our dealers and use it for weekend supersprint meetings, a Targa rally, casual track days and other driving events quite easily.

That is what was important to use when considering participating in a motorsport series in Australia, making it relevant to what people can buy.”

Continued momentum and growth

In its first full year of operation under a new distribution and dealer network model, Lotus Cars Australia are also proud to have achieved 100% increase in retail sales through 2017 with 62 vehicles sold natinally in the first full year of operation under the new distributor/dealer network model (Source: VFacts).

The brand maintains one of the few ranges in the world to still offer a traditional manual gearbox across the range and all models received refreshes for Exige, Elise & Evora.

Richard Gibbs Chief Operating Officer said,

“Doing APC in 2018 is also about driving momentum for our brand. Last year we successfully delivered on our promises. We re-established our national dealer network, achieved record levels of participation in our driving events held throughout the year and continued to create new driving experiences for our Community of Owners. We are probably one of the few brands who get involved and are hands on.

The model lineup has never been stronger, and we enjoyed a good mix of buyers new to the brand as well as existing Owners who upgraded to a new car last year.”

Lotus 70th Anniversary

2018 marks the 70th Anniversary of Colin Chapman’s first Lotus, the Mark 1, created in 1948. No other marque can claim a better track record when it comes to designing and manufacturing a thoroughbred sports car and over the last seven decades, Lotus has remained true to the ethos of its founder Colin Chapman. Applying his approach to precision engineering and automotive innovation, but using the latest technologies and advanced materials, it ensures that every Lotus is strong yet light and simply amazing to drive.

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