The rumour-mill will be busy trying to connect the visit of Jacques Villeneuve to Group Lotus’ Hethel HQ with the still to be announced driver line-up of Lotus’ F1 team.

He used his visit to catch-up with old friends and the 1997 Formula 1 World Champion was presented with a chronicle of Lotus’ rich history, from its founding years with a tour of Colin Chapman’s first workshops, to a session in the firm’s latest offering, the award winning Evora, on Lotus’ own test track.

It was a rare chance for Clive Chapman (son of Lotus’ founder Colin Chapman) to share with Villeneuve some of his father’s much loved projects and the two exchanged stories of the days they respectively shared with their fathers when they were competing in Formula 1.

It was a great moment for the Lotus workforce to see Villeneuve passing through the manufacturing facility often stopping to take in the detail of the process and to pose for photos and autographs. Recently appointed CEO of Group Lotus, Dany Bahar, was keen to stress the importance of this exciting visit to boost morale saying, “Jacques’ visit is an honour for Lotus and Lotus is a team. Our people are a blend of talent and expertise combined with passion for our brand. Our highlights are theirs, so this is a special day for us all.”

Villeneuve was delighted to have spent the day at the home of Lotus, “It has been a great day for me to catch-up with my friend Gino Rosato in his new role at Lotus and to see where the magic of Lotus comes from. My first toy car as a child was a replica model of Emerson Fittipaldi’s Lotus 72, I could say his name before I could say my dad’s! I really enjoyed watching them racing when I was a boy. It has been a really fun trip for me, and to see the people working to build the Evora was particularly nice.”

Following Villeneuve’s drive of the Evora he shared his impressions with the engineering team responsible for developing the car. Villeneuve, impressed with the performance of the car, concluded “It’s a really nice car, fun and comfortable to drive”.

Written By

Steve Davies

Steve is an investor, private equity advisor and former Partner at KPMG, PwC and Bain.   Most importantly he's a life-long car enthusiast, mountain biker and active sports enthusiast. He designs and builds technology platforms and is the architect behind Transmission.

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