There's one trait that all car enthusiasts have in common, and that is a deep passion for their chosen car brand. We recently attended the Lotus Drive Day – our first as new owners of a new Lotus Elise Sport 220 – and here we got to see first-hand how passionate the Lotus community is at Australia's most iconic racetrack – Mount Panorama at Bathurst.
On a typical day, the circuit famed for its annual endurance classics, is a public road with a 60km/h speed limit, but for three times a year, it is only open for track use. Today sees us at one of those special days.
And there's no 60km/h speed limit in sight.
There was plenty of metal from the Lotus stable, ranging from the Elise, Exige, and Evora, and across many generations. Some remained stock as the day they came out of the factory, while others had been race-modified.
Australian Lotus distributor Simply Sports Cars was on hand to help the nearly 100 Lotus drivers with any questions or mechanical issues, even checking tyre pressures and tracking telemetry after each event.
And of course, we were there enjoying our first track day in our newly-purchased, bright orange Lotus Elise Sport 220 to join in the fun. We were warmly welcomed by many friendly Lotus people.
Having a chat over lunch and mingling through the pit area, all drivers commented how the Lotus community felt like family – always willing to help or give advice where needed, and not to mention, doing it all with a smile on their face.
We also discovered the love of the British brand extended across a large age group, from drivers in their 20s, right up to their 70s.
Some owners use their Lotus as a weekend cruiser, a race car, or as you'll see in the video, even a daily driver for the weekly grocery shopping. Cool, huh?
Our own Lotus Elise Sport 220 comfortably made the trip from Sydney to Bathurst, with a surprisingly good ride on the country roads. A radio was not optioned, but who needs it when you have an engine behind your ears?
Once our car was stickered up and ready to race, the detachable roof had to come off as headroom became non-existent once we had a helmet on.
The Elise Sport 220, with its 1.8-litre engine and six-speed manual gearbox, was a bucket of fun to push to its limits, even though more powerful Exiges and Evoras would zoom past us heading up Mountain Straight.
As soon as drivers stepped out of their cars, they grouped around talking through each corner of the track and realising just how lucky they were to experience racing at the 'The Mountain'.
For many, it was a dream come true. No doubt many bucket lists were ticked off that day.
We were very grateful to have been invited by the club and to get to know the wonderful Lotus community. Perhaps we could say we are a member of the family now?