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 donâ€™t need more power or fancier suspension. You simply need to learn how to drive it better. You can blame the car if youâ€™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.
Thatâ€™s why Lotus, back in 2009, opened its world-famous Hethel test track driver training school â€“ 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.
Itâ€™s been out of action for a while at Hethel, but now itâ€™s back for 2017 â€“ 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. â€œOnly 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.â€ Gushing, yes, but pretty much spot on as well.
Prices start from Â£119, with a fan-friendly â€˜Scare Yourself Sensibleâ€™ day. More serious enthusiasts may prefer the Bronze, Silver and Gold Lotus licence days â€“ Gold costs Â£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 youâ€™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 youâ€™re able to resist visiting your local Lotus dealer to strike a new car deal, thenâ€¦