Exige and elise on track

Lotus Driving Academy

We all love driving fast – that’s why driving experiences exist. A chance for us mere mortals to try out some exotica without having to sell the house or a family member.

Tracks up and down the country do them and there are plenty of third party companies happy to swap your monthly bonus for a few laps behind the wheel of an unobtainable car. However, they can  feel a bit underwhelming to truly experienced drivers.

Lotus, however, have come up with something more special. Not only do you get to drive their very capable sports cars, you get to do it at their HQ in Norfolk, with tips and instruction from elite instructors.

The Lotus Driving Academy instructor team includes former F1 driver Martin Donnelly as well as GT and BTCC drivers (although I’m not sure precisely who just yet), ensuring that any driver will learn something new or improve on existing skills from the day.

“Customers will not only learn much more about their driving, but also a good understanding of vehicle dynamics,” says Simon Poole, from the Lotus Driving Academy. “That’s what makes us different from other experiences; you really are coming to the home of vehicle dynamics to learn via one-on-one coaching from the masters.”

Lotus driving 1

They’ve had similar campaigns over in Malaysia, the USA and France – but how much extra kudos would the home turf of Hethel give the experience?

I hope to find out at some point.

“Hethel has an extremely rich heritage and car enthusiasts will revel in the chance to learn new skills in the latest Lotus sports cars on our track where legends such as Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna tested some of the most influential and successful F1 cars in history,” says Rupert Manwaring, Head of Motorsport, Lotus.

That makes this tarmac rather valuable…

If you fancy it, you can pay anything from sub-£120 to approaching £1k depending on how much of an experience you want. There’s even a licence to go for, if you want to prove your prowess over a three-step course.

Exige and Elise

As part of the Academy experience, you’ll be shown around the HQ and get to breathe in the historic air at Classic Team Lotus a few hundred yards away from the main factory, too.

I’m pretty sure whichever package you go for, it’ll end up being great value. You can book here, but I’m told it opens in August 2017 which, by my reckoning, is perfect…

…Incidentally, my birthday happens to be 1st August.

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