Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus, and the man behind Lotus’ racing successes and iconic road cars said “I believe in getting light weight through elegance of design” translated through folklore as the mantra ‘Simplify and add lightness’. In today’s automotive world, making vehicles lighter is the newest method to extract efficiency and performance. But for Colin Chapman and Lotus it has always been the essence of their design and engineering philosophy.
The first Lotus came from the humblest of sources. In 1948 Colin Chapman, a young engineering student, became enthused with automotive competition and sought to enter the unique world of British Trials competition. The basis for this was an Austin Seven “Chummy”, an antiquated pre-war people’s car that Chapman transformed into his first competition special, dubbed Lotus. His forays into competition were successful and led to the formation of Lotus Engineering by 1954. It didn’t take long for Lotus Engineering to be in full production of bespoke Chapman designed chassis and Lotus subsequently invaded and triumphed in the world of British Club racing and international motorsports competition.
Since those early days, Lotus and the genius of Colin Chapman have been at the forefront of racing technology and automotive design. Colin Chapman’s philosophy of light weight, efficiency of design and innovation resulted in seven Formula 1 World Championships as well as wins at Le Mans and Indianapolis and championships in Saloon car racing, the World Rally Championship, sports car racing and the lower open wheel formulas. Colin Chapman’s philosophy of simplification, light weight and the least amount of parts effectively deployed that went into his racing car design were directly translated into Lotus’ road cars and produced a pantheon of iconoclastic machines such as the Seven, Elite, Elan, Cortina, Europa, Esprit, Elise, Exige, and Evora, truly making them “racing cars for the road”.
In addition to producing class-leading sports cars, Lotus has become a globally respected automotive engineering consultancy, working with many of the world’s most prestigious car manufacturers. Their expertise in ride and handling has made Lotus the standard to which all others are compared.