Try the latest Lotus around the world famous Hethel test track
Lotus always says that to drive one of its cars faster around a track, you don’t need more power or fancier suspension. You simply need to learn how to drive it better. You can blame the car if you’re an F1 driver, but for most of us, the amount of time we can unlock in ourselves is a far cheaper way of having a performance upgrade.
That’s why Lotus, back in 2009, opened its world-famous Hethel test track driver training school – the Lotus Driving Academy. It was a concept that quickly found favour across the Lotus world, because it brilliantly both tutored pupils to drive faster while also giving them a taster of the latest cars in the range. All for just a few hundred pounds.
It’s been out of action for a while at Hethel, but now it’s back for 2017 – with two of the latest new cars from the Lotus range as tutor hacks: the Elise Sport 220 and Exige Sport 350.
Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales has clearly been pushing hard to reopen the Driving Academy, and is now fully behind its return. “Only with the Lotus Driving Academy will you get an unbeatable experience on a challenging track in some of the best giant slaying sports cars you can drive.” Gushing, yes, but pretty much spot on as well.
Prices start from £119, with a fan-friendly ‘Scare Yourself Sensible’ day. More serious enthusiasts may prefer the Bronze, Silver and Gold Lotus licence days – Gold costs £899 and is one for the most committed track day enthusiasts.
Techniques include heel and toe downchanges, how to indulge in power oversteer and even a bespoke personal evolution at the end of the day, where a pro racing driver will assess your driving in huge detail and give you a list of things to work on. Before then swapping seats and showing you how it should be done.
You may well leave still wanting a faster Lotus, but you’ll also leave as a faster driver yourself, one able to pedal their own motor more quickly and efficiently. Call it a budget-price performance upgrade for just as long as you’re able to resist visiting your local Lotus dealer to strike a new car deal, then…