Want to learn how to get the most out of your Lotus? The manufacturer operates branches of its Lotus Driving Academy in the United States, France, and even Malaysia (where its parent company is based).
Hard as it may seem to believe, Lotus has not until now offered these programs in its home country. (Or at least it hasn’t recently.) But that ends now with the opening of a new “educational campus” in the UK. And not just at any random location, either: this one’s based at Hethel.
As legendary as the Fiorano circuit at Ferrari’s home base in Maranello, the test track at Lotus headquarters in Hethel is hallowed ground. It’s where the company tests all of its road-going and race cars, and where such legends as Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, and Ayrton Senna familiarized themselves with their steeds.
“Customers will not only learn much more about their driving, but also a good understanding of vehicle dynamics,” says Simon Poole from the Lotus Driving Academy. “That’s what makes us different from other experiences; you really are coming to the home of vehicle dynamics to learn via one-on-one coaching from the masters.”
The course catalog ranges from the “Scare Yourself Sensible” experience all the way up through the Bronze, Silver, and Gold-level Lotus License certifications. Instruction takes place behind the wheel of the latest Exige Sport 350 and Elise Sport 220, in right-hand drive for locals or left-hand drive for us yanks.
“Lotus Driving Academies around the world are hugely popular, giving hundreds of people the opportunity to enjoy the pure driving experience of a Lotus sports car in a high octane environment,” said Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. “Only with the Lotus Driving Academy will you get an unbeatable experience on a challenging track in some of the best giant slaying sports cars you can drive.”
Participation includes a factory tour, a visit to the Classic Team Lotus museum, and a hot lap riding shotgun with the instructor. Prices range from £119 to £899, and open August 12.