What is officially the 100,000th Lotus car to be produced has a very special link with the late, great Jim Clark, the Scottish farmer who took the Formula One world by storm in the 1960s.
The trust that runs the museum that bears his name in the sleepy Scottish border town of Duns has been given a Lotus Evora GT410 Sport in ‘Clark’ colours – red with a silver roof and tartan seats to match the Elan he drove in the 60s – to help fund the new museum that was due to open in July. And it’s been signed by all 20 F1 drivers from this season.
And exclusivity is a major part of the package. Lotus currently only build 1,500 cars a year at their Hethel factory – the place where those legendary grand prix winning cars of the past were hand crafted, and the test track next to the factory was home to Formula One legends Clark, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell.
Production now is split equally between Evora, Elise and Exige.
And while it might be a relatively small sports car, there’s still plenty of room inside an Evora. I had to move the seat forward a bit to find the best driving position and I’m six feet four (or 1.92 metres if you’re reading this anywhere other than the UK).
You actually can’t see much out of the back because of the finned engine cover. You can just about make out things coming up behind if you peer through them, but the door mirrors are more of a must here than on other mere mortal cars.
Not that you’re likely to be worrying about what’s behind. There’s a truly awesome noise when you floor the throttle and revs rise about 4500rpm. It speaks of phenomenal performance and is hugely impressive.
The view through the door mirrors gives you a good look at the huge haunches that envelop the rear tyres and the vents that gulp air in to cool the engine sitting just behind your head.
The ride is on the firm side to say the least although there’s a decent amount of comfort for the occupants, and the steering is quite light – certainly a lot lighter than you’ll find on an Elise or Exige, because on the Evora it’s power assisted.
It helps to make the process of everyday driving a bit more relaxing, but it’s never a car that doesn’t demand your full respect and concentration.
The pedals are quite close together deep down in that footwell so precision when switching from one to another is a must to avoid embarrassment.
And you’ll notice a certain degree of mechanical sounds from the drivetrain. It’s a bit raw, a bit edgy – everything you’d expect in a car with the racing pedigree DNA that is inbuilt into every Lotus.
And like every Lotus before it, the Evora benefits from a unique approach to driving dynamics. It’s a car for devoted drivers who enjoy race car responses but also want some refinement and practicality for the open road.
Expertise eked out from seven decades in motorsport has been applied to develop a sports car with equal ability on both road and track.
The state-of-the-art chassis is unique to the Evora. Constructed using bonded aluminium extrusions, it’s extremely light yet incredibly stiff with a central tub forming the driver’s cockpit and safety cell – a process widely used in modern racing car construction.
While it’s first and foremost a pure driver’s car for the road, Evora proves that the value of motorsport engineering extends far beyond the race track. Its functional aerodynamics, bonded aluminium chassis, Bilstein dampers, Eibach springs, forged aluminium wishbones and AP Racing brakes are all motorsport grade, intelligently applied for road use.
Whatever conditions the road throws at you the Evora has a mastery over them all.
Re-styled with advanced aerodynamic elements taken straight from the limited production Evora GT430, the GT410 Sport generates much more downforce than its predecessor without any increase in drag. So much so, it is now the most aerodynamically efficient Lotus of all.
Available with a choice of 6-speed manual or paddleshift automatic transmissions, a wide range of options allows you to customise your car either for comfort or greater track focus.
Quality carbon fibre panels feature as standard, and the flagship Lotus is now faster, sharper and more appealing than ever.
Lotus Evora GT410 Sport
Engine: 3.5 litre V6, 24 valve, supercharged
Transmission: six speed manual
Top speed: 186mph
0-60mph: 4 seconds
CO2 emissions: 239g/km