Lotus looks to the future as ‘Featured Marque’ at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Being the ‘Featured Marque’ at this year’s Festival is a real honour for Lotus. You have to be invited by His Grace the Duke of Richmond, and for him to ask Lotus in what is a pivotal year for the transformation of the business and brand is a privilege. Simon Clare, Executive Director, Global Marketing, Lotus, explains why and how it came about.
“There’s a changing of the guard at Lotus in 2021. We are saying goodbye to some long-serving and loyal foot soldiers in the Exige, the Evora and of course the Elise, an icon of Lotus for the last 25 years. The time is right for their retirement, and the first of their replacements – the all-new Lotus Emira, making its public debut at the Festival – is already delivering outstanding front-line service. If you’ve seen the size of the crowds on the Lotus stand at Goodwood, you’ll know it’s very much in the thick of the action!
We are starting a new chapter in the history of Lotus with the launch of the Emira, and it’s no coincidence we decided to reveal it earlier this week in the run-up to Goodwood. The world premiere has all been carefully planned to maximise media coverage, customer interest and help deliver a proper motoring day out for car fans. The Festival of Speed is one of the world’s most high-profile events of its type, and for Lotus in 2021 it represents the perfect storm of thrilling new product and great opportunity.
The future of Lotus started with the Evija, our all-electric hypercar unveiled in July 2019 which goes into production later this year. We have always referred to it as a statement of intent for our long-term plans, and it’s a stunningly beautiful signpost to the route we are taking. But the real journey starts now, exactly two years later in July 2021, with the launch of the Emira sports car. It is the model that will make this wonderful company so much more accessible to so many more people in markets around the world.
At the heart of our presence at Goodwood is the Lotus stand, directly opposite the House and near the Main Bridge across the Hill Climb route. It’s been crowded all day every day, so much so that on Thursday morning we had to put safety measures and a queueing system in place to stop the Emira and our product experts being swamped by fans. So many of them wanted to talk about the car and discuss placing a deposit via www.lotuscars.com
Lotus is also the theme of the ‘Central Feature’ – the official name for the sculpture directly in front of Goodwood House. His Grace was very keen that the Goodwood and Lotus creative teams combined to come up with something new and exciting, and we were all for that pioneering spirit. After all, a maverick approach has been part of the Lotus DNA since 1948.
Various ideas were discussed, and everyone was in agreement on three key elements – it had to be a stunning piece of art, it had to be relevant to Lotus, and it had to be interactive for Festival visitors as well as those who could only attend the event digitally.
The final execution is the Lotus ‘Aeroad’ and it’s hit the brief head on. It came from production company Unit 9 – which is making its Goodwood debut – and is based around the engineering concept of ‘tensegrity’. It’s a structural principle which creates exceptionally strong and rigid structures for their mass.
The Aeroad epitomises the philosophies of Lotus founder Colin Chapman in that it uses the fewest number of parts most efficiently deployed, and uses lightweighting to create something with scale and impact. That impact comes from the physical – it features the longest cantilever of its kind anywhere in the world – but also from the digital. The highlight for me is the magic that comes from the augmented reality app through which you can view it. That allows users to watch four iconic Lotus cars speed through the air on a virtual racetrack.
The app features an 'at home' mode for fans unable to attend in person, giving them the opportunity to launch a virtual version of the sculpture, plus the racetrack and cars. Once launched, users can take a photo or record a short video of their journey round the augmented track and save it to their device to share.
Why does it look like it does? Its shape evokes the ‘rooster tail’ airflow analysis of the Lotus Evija. Unlike other Goodwood sculptures which have been about the past, this is more about the future.
There will be approximately 300,000 people at Goodwood over the long weekend and a great way to engage with them is the daily ‘Lotus Moment’, a lunchtime parade of historic Lotus cars. It ends with fireworks and cannon fire and with the focus on the Emira and the Evija. Again, it shows how we’re looking to the future.
We also wanted to engage with all of those who can’t be part of the Festival crowd. Viewing the Lotus Aeroad using the app’s ‘at home’ mode is part of that, and we’ve also got a 360-degree virtual version of our Festival stand on www.lotuscars.com with hotspots giving plenty of information about everything on it. Engagement like this is about making Lotus as accessible as possible.
We’re thrilled with our presence at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, and judging by the queue to get on to our stand, it looks like many thousands of visitors are too. We believe it sums up our glorious past, our exciting present and our electrifying future. There is so much more to come from Lotus and we’re delighted you want to join us on the journey.”