Well, what a way to spend a Friday afternoon this looks. Lotus' latest Evija release details the Hethel test that took place on December 6th, Gavan Kershaw driving engineering prototype #2, or "the most advanced" of all the development cars on the test track. Certainly seems like a job to save for a Friday, rather than trudge through a Monday morning with...
Now, understandably, the Lotus press release about a Lotus test driver assessing a Lotus hypercar is pretty effusive; even allowing for that, however, there's reason to be optimistic about the approach. The car seen here is in what Kershaw called a "pure" state, without any assists or torque vectoring. So not only brave, given this is a 1,900hp car in December, but also key to the Lotus way. The aim is to "evaluate the fundamentals of the chassis, to create the mechanical advantage before the other layers, such as the electronics, are added." Which is how you would hope all cars are developed, especially with that much power, though there is more and more frequently the suspicion that advanced electronics are used to cover up for the sins of an iffy chassis. Not at Lotus.
While Kershaw also added that he feels "really at home in it, it's really driveable", Lotus' Director of Attributes and Product Integrity could probably feel at home in an early 911 on ditchfinders. In the rain. He's that good. Handily, therefore, the latest development phase has also incorporated input and output response; the pedals are of course vital with an EV, Kershaw adding: "We know there's an enormous amount of torque but drivers will only want it when they ask for it with their right foot. It's about getting that throttle balance right." Steering response is also a high priority for the development team, understandably for a Lotus.
Speaking of which, while the Evija is a very different Lotus, it will draw on the experience gleaned from previous sports cars. Kershaw references the Exige, Evora and GT race cars in his test notes, a desire for "that core Lotus DNA in all its absolute best" to be there in this new car. That will extend to driving position, visibility and location of the controls, too.
The right things are certainly being said about the Evija, then, though obviously we'd only expect as much from its maker. Lotus wouldn't suggest it was sort-of-alright, would they? Even allowing for a little professional cynicism, however, the prospect of a team as talented as Kershaw's working on an entirely new, 200mph hypercar architecture is a tremendously exciting one. 2020 looks like being a huge year for Lotus - we can't wait to see how it progresses.
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