Lotus is the main attraction during the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed, an automotive extravaganza of sports cars and racing machinery set to be held July 8-11 on the grounds of Goodwood House in the south of England. The event is always one of the world’s finest displays of vintage and modern speed machines, many of which roar their way up the 1.16-mile Hillclimb.
This incredibly tight and twisty track is lined with haybales and brings spectators within only a few feet of everything from classic Formula One cars to some of the world’s most exotic supercars. Racing drivers such as the late Sir Stirling Moss, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Damon Hill have been fixtures at the event since Goodwood opened its doors back in 1993.
A turning point for Lotus
For Lotus fans, this year marks the end of an era, along with an entirely new chapter for the storied British sports car firm – one whose primary owner is Geely Automobile Holdings, the Chinese auto giant that owns Volvo and its Polestar subsidiary. Etika Automotive, a Malaysian conglomerate, owns the remaining 49%.
The Emira, which goes on sale in 2022, will be the last gas-powered production car built by Lotus. All future models are promised to be 100-percent electric powered.
In terms of its specifications, the Emira will keep Lotus fans proud thanks to its promising blend of horsepower and lightweight construction. Like past classics, including the soon-to-be discontinued Elise roadster, the Emira employs a bonded aluminum chassis that’s remarkably strong and lightweight. There are still some details yet to be disclosed, though Lotus has stated the lightest version will weigh slightly more than 3,000 pounds.
Two engine choices sourced from other automakers
There will be two choices of engine, an AMG-tuned turbocharged four-cylinder that works with a dual-clutch gearbox to send 360-horsepower to the rear wheels. Optional is a supercharged V-6 sourced from Toyota. In this case, an Emira buyer can opt for the automatic gearbox or a 6-speed manual. Sorry to any purists out there, the turbo-four isn’t offered with the stick shift – and don’t expect Lotus to change that anytime soon.
How fast will it go? We expect a zero to 60 mph time in the region of 4.0 seconds for the highest performing models. Handling is one of the things Lotus has always done best, so expect this trait to hold true in the Emira. Lotus has opted to stick with hydraulic steering, versus the increasingly common electric-powered racks found on many vehicles. The reason behind this decision? Better feedback and road feel, of course. In terms of pricing, Lotus hasn’t mentioned specifics, though a U.S. price of approximately $70,000 to $80,000 is a solid estimate.
A history of trailblazing cars
From the 1950s to present day, Lotus has pushed the envelope when it comes to production cars and racing machines. The firm was among the first to introduce mid-engine racecars, and similarly helped pioneer active suspension systems, backbone chassis construction, and countless other advances to make vehicles faster and much swifter through corners.
The company’s founder, Colin Chapman, was famous (or notorious, depending on the Lotus make and model) for insisting a vehicle be as lightweight as possible. This could make for scintillating driving dynamics on the road or, conversely, cars that were incredibly fast on a racetrack, but prone to being fragile and unreliable in the heat of battle.
Chapman’s insistance that sports cars be as lightweight as possible continues to be an essential part of Lotus’s DNA.
Other Lotus models to be displayed
Goodwood will not only be the grand debut of the production Emira, the automaker’s electric powered Evija supercar will also be present. With approximately 2,000 horsepower and a price tag estimated at $2-million-per-copy, the Evija is one of the most jaw-dropping ways an automaker can express its intention to shift gears, so to speak, to an all-electric range.
The 2021 Elise Sport 240 Final Edition will also be featured on the official Lotus stand. This is a last hurrah for the bantamweight sports car, which was introduced approximately 20 years ago to global acclaim for its corner-carving driving manners. In terms of long-distance driving comfort and ease of getting into, well, to put it kindly, the Elisa has always catered to a hardier type of sports car clientele.
The Goodwood Festival’s ‘Central Feature,’ often a stunning large-scale piece of automotive-inspired art, will also have Lotus cars as the central theme. A daily parade of classic and modern Lotus cars will also be staged, complimented by “fireworks and cannon fire,” according to the media release.
The 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed opens on July 8 and runs through July 11.