Its founder Colin Chapman died in 1982, and it’s been a long time since Lotus Cars was a purely British company. After several ownership changes that followed Chapman’s passing, including General Motors, Lotus Cars is now a holding of the Chinese auto manufacturing giant Geely Group, which also owns Volvo. Still and all, Lotus maintains its headquarters on a former Royal Air Force base at Hethel, England, so it was very sensible that Lotus had a major presence at the just-concluded Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Goodwood is one of the world’s greatest celebrations of motorsports, and especially of Britain’s contributions to it. Lotus joined other car manufacturers in rolling out performance-oriented production cars at Goodwood, including a world debut of the Evora GT4 Concept race car and a look at a prototype Evija hypercar. More fetching, perhaps, was the assortment of historic Lotus racing cars that took on the Goodwood course during the festival. One of them was the Lotus 25 Formula 1 car in which the great Jim Clark set the still-standing lap record at Goodwood in 1965. Another was the high-wing 1968 Lotus 49-Cosworth that was originally driven by Graham Hill. It’s the only car to win the Monaco Grand Prix in two consecutive years, and was driven at Goodwood by Hill’s grandson, Josh. Particularly impressive, though was the reunion of Emerson Fittipaldi with the Lotus 72 that he drove to the Formula 1 world championship in 1972. Fittipaldi hadn’t seen the car since he last lowered himself into its cockpit in 1973.