Traditionally, China isn’t a massive market for sports cars. The Chinese tend to prefer their cars bigger, more luxurious, and more SUV-shaped.
But what if Lotus, the very gods of handling, could teach the Chinese how to enjoy sports cars? Well, that’s what Norfolk’s premier atelier for lightweight motor vehicles is doing. It’s opening a driver training school in China.
And there, one of the attractions will be demonstrations of the company’s new racing car. It’s this, the Lotus Evora GT4.
Its half British, half Chinese flag livery is the work of Russell Carr, Lotus’s appropriately named design boss. The Evora GT4 underneath, meanwhile, is a serious bit of kit (if known officially as a concept car, for now).
It’s powered by a supercharged 444bhp V6. It weighs 1,200kg (including a roll cage and fire-extinguisher system), and is good for 274kph. There’s carbon fibre bodywork, a race transmission, beefier brakes and slick tyres. The suspension is adjustable, and so’s the aero, but you still get power steering.
Why the Chinese link? Well, it’s the 2019 Shanghai motor show, for one thing, but there are bigger factors at play here. Lotus is now owned by Geely, the Chinese industrial giant which has recently backed Volvo to great things. If Lotus can start a sports car following and racecar interest in its backers’ back garden, it bodes well for the future of a British sports car favourite.
China, if you go for this, we might forgive you for making BMW build the X7. Maybe…