Lotus founder Colin Chapman built his first racing car in his garage in 1948, but it wasn't too long before the first Lotus factory was built, strangely, in old stables in North London.
In those early days, Chapman ran Lotus in his free time, but by 1959, the Lotus Group of Companies was formed. Sixty years later, Chapman’s vision for an enthusiast's car has not diminished, never more evident than the recent 2019 Lotus Drive Day at Mount Panorama.
The famed 6.213km track is usually closed for racing just a few times a year, and in this case, it was straight after the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour. There was still the occasional Porsche or Lamborghini transporter still lurking around the pit area, adding to the atmosphere.
Current Lotus owners are invited, and are treated to wonderful hospitality while enjoying the experience of driving their cars in the manner they was designed for. As always, Lotus Cars Australia was there to lend a helping hand to owners if they had any dramas with their car on the day.
Announced at the welcome dinner overlooking the track at sunset, Lotus Cars Australia believed it was the most amount of Lotus cars ever assembled in the country, with nearly 100 colourful models present.
They certainly formed an impressive sight lined up in the pits the following morning.
At the driver's briefing, the Lotus team reminded drivers it wasn’t a competition; more so to have some fun and to soak in the track. And that’s what many drivers did. Even the fastest Lotus, the Evora, was seen taking it easy on the quickest stretches of Mount Panorama.
You would struggle to find two Lotus cars the same. Some owners have swapped a Honda K20 or K24 engine into it, fitted a different exhaust, even body kits, or given it a colourful wrap.
The sky really is the limit when it comes to modifying these cars to each driver's personal taste, and you won’t see any judging or raised eyebrows from fellow enthusiasts.
Camaraderie is a word that gets thrown around a lot within the Lotus community, and it was so pleasant to be once again welcomed into the fraternity with open arms.