“Light is Right!”
24th August 2018
Hazel Chapman and 100,000th Lotus celebrates 70th anniversary of 1st Lotus car
- Widow of Lotus founder joins sports car company’s celebrations
- Helping mark the 70th anniversary of Colin Chapman’s first car
- 100,000th Lotus built in tribute to Team Lotus racer Jim Clark
- Commissioned to support the Jim Clark Trust
- Enter the competition to win the car at www.jimclarklotus.com
The widow of Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman has personally approved the 100,000th Lotus, as part of the company’s 70th anniversary celebration.
The Jim Clark Trust special edition Lotus Evora GT410 Sport is the 100,000th Lotus hand-built on the same site that Hazel Chapman helped establish.
Lotus Engineering under the Chapmans
Checking out the car with her son Clive Chapman, Managing Director of Classic Team Lotus (CLICK), Hazel Chapman said: “Seventy years ago, I never dreamt that there would be a 100,000th Lotus. I’m immensely proud of the company and Colin’s legacy. Today Lotus still builds such fantastic sports cars and I’m touched to be able to see the 100,000th car.”
The Evora is still imbued with the ethos of lightweight car design that can trace its roots back to the very first Lotus – optimising mass and aerodynamics – to maximise performance and handling.
Colin Chapman built his first competition car in 1948, following his own theories for improved performance: “Light is Right.” He formed Lotus Engineering in 1952 and from there the company continued to innovate in both road and race cars.
Hazel was the first investor in Lotus by loaning her then-boyfriend Colin the £50 he needed to establish Lotus Engineering in a lock-up garage borrowed from Hazel’s parents. Colin Chapman re-engineered an Austin Seven to create the first Lotus – the Mark I. Built by hand, and with Hazel helping where needed, Colin completed the car in the spring of 1948 and immediately entered it in competitive trials. With Hazel in the passenger seat, they picked up two class awards in the Mark I’s first events.
From that small space on the outskirts of London sprang a global brand and Hazel worked alongside Colin as the business grew. She was invoved in establishing the company’s current site in Hethel, working on the layout and design to rebuild the old airbase into the Lotus headquarters and manufacturing facility.
Jim Clark Trust
The 100,000th car is a Lotus Evora GT410 Sport as a one-off produced in collaboration with the Jim Clark Trust as a tribute to one of the most successful racing drivers (Formula 1 World Champion in 1963 and 1965; Winner 1965 Indianapolis 500). The Trust has launched a competition to win this Lotus while raising funds to help complete its new museum.
Inspired by the very first Lotus Elan driven by Clark in the 1960s, the new Evora was conceived and constructed at the famous Hethel site – the home of Lotus Cars for the last 50 years.
Commissioned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Clark’s tragic death while competing at Hockenheim in 1968, the 100,000th Lotus was unveiled at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Echoing the original Lotus Elan’s colour scheme, with red paintwork, a silver roof and silver wheels, plus tartan upholstery, it commemorates the legacy of the one of motorsport’s most enduring figures.
Lotus Evora GT410 Sport
The Evora GT410 Sport, launched in Lotus’ 70th year, is a competitive blend of raw ability and style. Incorporating features from its more potent stablemate, the Evora GT430, it boasts many high-performance elements yet retains a subtler, understated profile.
The Evora GT410 Sport utilises specifically designed composite front and rear body panels and advanced aerodynamics, so that the GT-class coupe generates up to 96kg of downforce. As with all high-performance Evoras, visible-weave carbon fibre is used extensively in construction, allowing a lightest possible dry weight of only 1,256 kg.
The Evora GT410 Sport is powered by a version of Lotus’ supercharged, 3.5-litre 6-cylinder engine. With an integrated water-to-air charge cooler, it produces 410 hp at 7000 rpm and 420 Nm of torque from 3500 rpm, allowing the Evora GT410 Sport to sprint from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds.
Standard transmission is the slick, six-speed manual gearbox with a Torsen type limited slip differential (LSD) but the Evora GT410 Sport can be ordered with an automatic transmission, which is slightly quicker through the gears. The six-speed auto gearbox uses an optimised ECU for ultra-fast changes and gear selection is through lightweight aluminium paddles mounted to the steering wheel.
VIDEO: Evora GT410 Sport on Hethel Test Track
Who can forget the impact that Lotus made in F1 Grand Prix racing of the 1960s wit Jim Clark at the wheel?
Then, that image of James Bond riding ‘Wet Nellie’ to rise from the waves in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ is indelibly etched forever in movie history.
There is much motoring heritage to commemorate.
Back in 1948, even Colin Chapman could not have imagined a 100,000th Lotus car rolling off the production line.
Jim Clark was a rare “true driver”, renown for his ability to drive and win in all types of cars and series. Pitlane stories raved about his car tyres lasting four races and brake pads lasting three times longer than those any other driver. The man was just very ‘soft’ on his car and tended to last the race distance as a result. “In order to finish a race first, first you must finish.”
The good news is that you can enter the competition to win the car at The Jim Clark Trust website.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).